The end of books, or maybe grammar

Today’s Zippy:

Three things: the prediction of the end of the book (endless symposia, publications, etc. on the future of the book, and how it probably doesn’t have one), software developers as authorities on such matters, and the faults of language peevers (much commented on over the years on Language Log).

8 Responses to “The end of books, or maybe grammar”

  1. inyazserg Says:

    Who are language peevers? Those scrupulous with words?
    I`m a foreigner, slavonic.

  2. Peeving etc. postings « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] response to a query about “language peevers”, I offer a partial inventory of postings on language rage, language […]

  3. John Lawler Says:


    Because of an odd shift in our educational system, schools in the USA don’t teach any English grammar or phonology, so Americans grow up with a lot of strange mythology about what they call “grammar”, because their teachers passed along folk tales instead of real facts (this has been going on for about a century now, so their teachers didn’t get taught, either).

    The result is a constant low-grade anxiety about whether their speech is “correct”, felt by people who don’t understand what they were taught about English grammar (on LL they sometimes call this feeling nervous cluelessness). This anxiety is aggravated and preyed upon by people who think they do remember what their fourth-grade teacher told them, and who believe that it is The Truth.

    Since everybody had different teachers, who all had different ideas about the rules of “correct” grammar, there is no agreement among these people. They nevertheless continue to try to correct other people’s speech or writing, always ignorantly, often rudely, and sometimes with negative results.

    Such people have what they call their “pet peeves”, which almost always are incorrectly identified and condemned for unknown or silly reasons. Linguists who are interested in the social phenomenon, or who have vain hopes of educating the general public about linguistic facts, have adopted the name Peever to describe such people, and thereby backformed the verb to peeve, meaning to behave in this way. That’s all.

  4. The Ridger Says:

    “The end of the book” always puzzles me. I suppose they mean the end of the printed-on-paper book, but an e-book is a book, isn’t it?

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