The Scandalous History of Proper English

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The English language has evolved over time.

We are re-airing this interview which originally aired on June 30, 2014. 

English is a glorious mess of a language, cobbled together from a wide variety of sources and syntaxes, and changing over time with popular usage. Many of the words and usages we embrace as standard and correct today were at first considered slang, impolite, or just plain wrong. Ammon Shea looks at language “mistakes” and how they came to be accepted as correct—or not. His book Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation chronicles the long history of language mistakes.