My Fair Language
A review of The Language Wars: A History of Proper English, by Henry Hitchings
"The language wars date from the beginning of language—the beginning, one suspects, of every language. A language is invented, new words added, a grammar devised, an approved syntax established, and in one of countless possible ways it proves inadequate, opponents gather, snipers fire verbal shots, polemical grenades are flung, canons lined up, and war is underway. The reigning rule of language is change, endless bloody change; it was forever thus, and always will be. Case—far from closed—permanently open.
Along with physical appearance, language is one of the primary ways we have of taking one another's measure, and as such measures go it is not entirely an inferior one. A person's speech is often a strong clue to his region and his social class, his choice of vocabulary to his education and point of view. My not having written that last sentence "A person's speech is often a strong clue to his or her social class, his or her vocabulary to his or her education or point of view" offers clues to my own disposition, even my politics, in preferring a smoothly rhythmical sentence over a politically correct one.
A descriptivist Henry Hitchings indubitably is, but he is not an uncritical one. He views political correctness, for example, as an attempt to legislate language usage—in most contemporary universities it is now all but the law—and feels that its use has no more point than "allow[ing] us to applaud our own sensitivity while evading the redress of real evils.""