The Corner

Proper English

This column in the DC Examiner got my attention — not because of the content, which I basically agree with, but because the writer used (and the editor allowed) the contraction “it’ll,” which I don’t think I’ve seen in print before. This relates to the split infinitive thread from a couple days ago — I prefer that written language be reasonably close to spoken language, and my experience is that this is more true in English than elsewhere. In Armenian, for instance, the kind of language used in newspapers or on TV is far more stilted than the normal spoken language, something that I’ve also noticed in my limited knowledge of Russian and even more limited Spanish. In college I remember seeing a course offering on “Egyptian Newspaper Arabic,” which still strikes me as funny. There’s no political point, just that the democratic character of the American nation manifests itself in numerous ways.