Audio: The Continuing Insult to the English Language |
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The Continuing Insult to the English Language

In May 2006 the Australian magazine The Monthly carried a piece I sent in off my own bat, having been driven to madness by the spectacle of the punishment being handed out to the English language by people who are meant to be its guardians. The piece ran under the title of "The Continuing Insult to the Language" and attracted a gratifying amount of attention, although I got the impression that I was preaching to the converted, whose numbers were dwindling. Even if that were so, I got the chance of preaching to a lot more of them when Jill Kitson of the ABC asked me to turn the text into a broadcast. Having secured a disc as part of the price, I am able to reproduce the broadcast here. That melancholy long withdrawing roar you hear in the background is generated by all the surviving members of my generation who were taught to parse a sentence. The text of the piece is [included in the collection ‘The Revolt of the Pendulum’] — two versions of the same doomed campaign.