Age of Linguistic Anxiety

KEYTERMS A set of key terms useful for the study of English in and around the eighteenth century.
EARLY DICTIONARIES    Download this pdf exercise on early dictionaries, which asks you to research the period definitions of several interesting words.
GRAMMAR BOOKS Links in this section will take you to digitized copies of some early grammars so that you can answer some questions.
SHIBBOLETH Early grammars singled out a small set of variant usages for special attention. This exercise lets you explore what four grammarians thought about the use of "shall" vs. "will."


This link opens an opinionated review article by David Foster Wallace (author of Infinite Jest) published in Harpers 2001. Read it carefully, and come to section prepared to argue for or against the positions on language advocated by DFW. 


This link opens "Weird Al" Yankovic's music video, "Word Crimes." Note among other things the (comic) violence directed at the word criminals.


This exercise asks you to compare the etymologies in the diction of two texts of your own choosing.