Blogwatch: Johnson

Um, no. The name of the blog does not refer to to an unmentionable. It refers to Dr. Samuel Johnson. Nope, sorry, there’s no Facebook profile; you can’t follow him on Twitter. Because he died just short of 226 years ago, after lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.

Johnson is The Economist’s blog on issues of language. It follows in the newspaper’s tradition of naming its blogs and columns after prominent personalities (ergo Charlemagne, Buttonwood and Bagehot, some of its other blogs). Johnson is a particular favourite of mine, often cited in this blog’s Wordsmithville sections.

The blog goes into the intricacies of English lexicography (should dictionaries be descriptive or prescriptive), good and bad in writing style, the clever use of words like Inception and many other issues. And it isn’t restricted to English; a current raging topic is on how much Chinese people are literate in Chinese characters.

If you are a lover of the human tongue’s many varieties, this blog is a great reading experience.

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About ozymandias

What am I? A body and brain, products of carbon concatenation chemistry, an intelligence and conscience to enable bits of DNA evolve. Maybe a pharaoh, maybe a dung-beetle, never more than a safe conduit for some genes.
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