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By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
Let no one say that the editors of the Associated Press Stylebook  are a pack of mossbacks.  A couple of years ago, they (admittedly somewhat tardily) acknowledged that hopefully  is no more objectionable as a sentence adverb than sadly or mercifully . Then they abandoned the bogus over/more than  distinction, to the wailing and rending of garments by copy editors so inured to the tribal dialect journalese that they no longer recognize standard English when they see it.  So I continue to entertain hope for the stylebook.
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NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
Let no one say that the editors of the Associated Press Stylebook  are a pack of mossbacks.  A couple of years ago, they (admittedly somewhat tardily) acknowledged that hopefully  is no more objectionable as a sentence adverb than sadly or mercifully . Then they abandoned the bogus over/more than  distinction, to the wailing and rending of garments by copy editors so inured to the tribal dialect journalese that they no longer recognize standard English when they see it.  So I continue to entertain hope for the stylebook.
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NEWS
April 15, 2002
Jose "Pepe" Siderman, 90, who fled his native Argentina during the military regime's "Dirty War" and who later won a landmark human rights case against the South American nation, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. A former businessman, Mr. Siderman was kidnapped and tortured by Argentina's military government, which also looted his family's property and assets valued at more than $25 million. Mr. Siderman was one of the survivors of the brutal period of military rule that began in 1976 and claimed more than 10,000 lives.
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | December 7, 2013
Pray consider this sentence from one of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe murder mysteries: "Everyone has something they don't want anyone to see; that is one of the functions of a home, to provide a spot to keep such things. "  I offer it not as a response to the specious argument that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear from the National Security Agency's surveillance,* but rather to consider it as further evidence for singular they . To my mind, it carries more weight than Jane Austen's every body ... they .  The first reason is that it appears in The Red Box , published in 1936.
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | December 7, 2013
Pray consider this sentence from one of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe murder mysteries: "Everyone has something they don't want anyone to see; that is one of the functions of a home, to provide a spot to keep such things. "  I offer it not as a response to the specious argument that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear from the National Security Agency's surveillance,* but rather to consider it as further evidence for singular they . To my mind, it carries more weight than Jane Austen's every body ... they .  The first reason is that it appears in The Red Box , published in 1936.
NEWS
By Joan Walsh | January 7, 1997
THE NATIONAL debate over ebonics is far more coded and hard to translate than black English, its purported topic. Here are four truths behind the controversy that nobody wants to talk about in plain English.Black parents and educators envy -- and increasingly resent -- the millions of dollars going to Asian and Latino bilingual programs. As immigrant populations grow, these programs are eating up a growing share of bare-bones urban school budgets. While the media framed the issue as Black English vs. White America, the ebonics controversy was more a symptom of rising inter-minority tensions, a product of our zero-sum approach to race relations.
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | November 20, 2013
Jonathon Owen's post at Arrant Pedantry , "12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes,"  has prompted some lively discussion in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter.* Someone took exception to his first point, about treating grammar  in the strict sense rather than including spelling and punctuation. The objection was that he shouldn't be strict on a point at which the broad sense has become well established in the language.  A remark by Jan Freeman on Twitter is very much to the point: "I say confusing spelling entirely diff from confusing sense, not the same order of error.
NEWS
By Lydia Martin and Lydia Martin,Knight-Ridder News Service | May 26, 1993
Say it ain't so.We've struggled for so long to resist that ugly little negative contraction, and now Merriam-Webster says "ain't" ain't so bad after all."Ain't" and 10,000 other new entries have made it into the newest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. It's not the first dictionary to print the word, which has long appeared in unabridged dictionaries as well as Webster's New World Dictionary. But most identify it as substandard or slang. Merriam-Webster, the largest U.S. publisher of dictionaries, now includes it without any warning against its use.Other words and terms that got the nod are signs of the times: safe sex, date rape, boom box, politically correct, megahit, downscale, wire fraud, voice mail, significant other, veg out.You'd think Noah Webster, great granddaddy of American English, would be turning over in his grave.
NEWS
December 30, 1996
IT IS ACCEPTED that many African Americans can speak both standard English and black English, which takes additional liberties and shortcuts with grammar and syntax. Some associate black English with illiteracy, but many well-educated African Americans use it when among friends and relatives who find the vernacular most familiar.The roots of black English are not certain. The frequent dropping of consonants may be traced to West Africa, where the slave trade flourished. Or the pattern of speech could have more to do with the poor education of rural Southern blacks who brought their customs, cuisine and way of speaking with them as they migrated north and west in the 1920s and '30s.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | October 23, 2012
The linguist Charles Carpenter Fries strove to show how far classroom English diverged from what is actually standard English, both in speech and writing. In The Story of Ain't   (reviewed yesterday) , David Skinner describes how Fries set out to establish this through empirical evidence, a corpus study of three thousand letters written to the U.S. government by ordinary citizens. He developed this analysis in a book, American English Grammar , demonstrating that "the actual difference in underlying grammar between vulgar and standard was, in reality, quite small.
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | November 20, 2013
Jonathon Owen's post at Arrant Pedantry , "12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes,"  has prompted some lively discussion in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter.* Someone took exception to his first point, about treating grammar  in the strict sense rather than including spelling and punctuation. The objection was that he shouldn't be strict on a point at which the broad sense has become well established in the language.  A remark by Jan Freeman on Twitter is very much to the point: "I say confusing spelling entirely diff from confusing sense, not the same order of error.
NEWS
April 15, 2002
Jose "Pepe" Siderman, 90, who fled his native Argentina during the military regime's "Dirty War" and who later won a landmark human rights case against the South American nation, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. A former businessman, Mr. Siderman was kidnapped and tortured by Argentina's military government, which also looted his family's property and assets valued at more than $25 million. Mr. Siderman was one of the survivors of the brutal period of military rule that began in 1976 and claimed more than 10,000 lives.
NEWS
By Joan Walsh | January 7, 1997
THE NATIONAL debate over ebonics is far more coded and hard to translate than black English, its purported topic. Here are four truths behind the controversy that nobody wants to talk about in plain English.Black parents and educators envy -- and increasingly resent -- the millions of dollars going to Asian and Latino bilingual programs. As immigrant populations grow, these programs are eating up a growing share of bare-bones urban school budgets. While the media framed the issue as Black English vs. White America, the ebonics controversy was more a symptom of rising inter-minority tensions, a product of our zero-sum approach to race relations.
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | December 21, 1996
Just when you think it's safe to pick up a newspaper again comes this story in yesterday's Sun: "California school system accepts black English," the headline read. So right away I'm figuring Californians do stuff like this to torment the rest of us. California is, after all, California. We expect a certain degree of weirdness."Acknowledging that many African-American students do not speak standard English, the Oakland school board has approved a program -- the nation's first -- that recognizes a distinctive language spoken by some American blacks as a primary language."
NEWS
By Jamal E. Watson and Jamal E. Watson,SUN STAFF | August 16, 1999
OAKLAND, Calif. -- There was intense criticism from around the country and skepticism at home when Oakland school officials decided in 1996 to teach classes using ebonics, a speech pattern that the school board deemed a second language for many black students.Today, ebonics -- also known as black English -- is still used as a teaching tool in the classroom, and Oakland school officials say that the strategy, meant to help children move from the language they hear on the street to the standard English they'll use in school, works.
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