||Until the beginning of this century, with few notable
exceptions, prescriptivism has received little serious attention among the
academic linguistic community as a factor in language variation and change.
The five studies included in this book are embedded in the growing research
initiative that is attempting to paint a fine-grained picture of linguistic
prescriptivism in the English language. In contrast to institutional
prescriptivism, or the so-called prescriptivism from above, which is enforced
by bodies such as language planning boards, governmental committees, and
agencies, this book focuses on grassroots prescriptivism – the attempts of
lay people to promote the standard language ideology.
Grassroots prescriptivism investigates the metalinguistic comments of
language users expressed on traditional (letters to newspaper editors and
radio phone-ins) and new media platforms (forum and blog discussions). This
book demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, language users are not
passive recipients of language rules, but active participants in matters of
linguistic prescriptivism. The diachronic exploration of grassroots
prescriptivism reveals a complex picture. While in many respects, twenty-first-century
prescriptivism represents a continuation of the 250-year-old prescriptive
tradition, the author argues that prescriptivism, like language itself,
undergoes change over time.