obscures the judgment of some linguists.nEven more important, some major arguments employed bynthe linguists show deep weaknesses at closer examination. Fornexample, linguists often attempt to refute a language critic’sncondemnation of a locution by pointing out that it has a longnhistory of use in the language. If Simon condemns the use ofnthe pronoun form / when it functions as an object (as in to himnand I), then Charles Suhor, Deputy Executive Director of thenNCTE, refutes Simon’s opinion by referring to “the thoroughlynrespectable history of that usage, easily found in the OxfordnEnglish Dictionary, among other places.” (Unfortunately, thenentry for I, section B.I.2, in the OED does not support Suhor.)nQuinn more than once quotes Shakespeare’s “All debts arencleared between you and I.” Like used as a conjunction insteadnof as is uniformly defended by citing its use by Shakespeare ornKeats. Double or multiple negatives are defended by quotationnfrom Chaucer. Quinn also supposes that he has demolishednNewman’s objections to the interjectional, parenthetical, ornvaguely questioning You know? by giving apparent examples ofnits use since 1350.nThis historical argument, however (if a locution was oncenused, even hundreds of years ago, it must still be good today), isnworthless. The question still remains: Is the locution current ornacceptable now in whatever situation we have in mind? If not,nhow can an archaism be correct? Anyone still using thee, thou,nand shoures soote will be regarded as eccentric. Grammar andnusage have become regularized since the Renaissance, especiallynin the edited written language, the grapholect. As thenOED observes about me as grammatical subject: “This wasnvery frequent in end of 16th and 17th c[entury], but is nownconsidered ungrammatical.” Follett concludes from the 50,000nexamples in Jespersen’s multivolume grammar that “a precedentncan be found for practically any construction or locution.”nEven T.R. Lounsbury, whom the antipurist Quinn claims asnmentor, insists that when citing great authors as authorities innusage, we must be careful to distinguish between slips of thenpen (performance errors) and regular usage.nA few of those who cite ancient precedents against languagencritics actually misinterpret the historical evidence in the OED.nBaron, arguing against Newman, informs us that the collocationnto convince someone to do something was, according to thenOED, used in the 16th century. The OED, however, does notnjustify his claim. Quinn frequently misinterprets historicalncitations, sometimes through ignorance of grammar, sometimesnthrough neglect of context and meaning. One example isnhis attempt to show, versus Newman, that You know? has anlong and honorable history and that its overuse is not the faultnof modern illiterates. But of the four examples from 1350nonward, only one really illustrates the interjectional or parentheticalnYou know? spoken with rising intonation. That singlenexample, from Addison’s Spectator (1712), reads: “How cannhe help that, you know?” It appears in a fictitious letter by anyoung and silly correspondent who can think of nothing butnher much loved but penurious fiance. This is not an examplenof choice language but of fashionable jargon satirically mimicked.nDaniels naively trusts Quinn’s analysis in this case, but itnis all too much for Douglas, also an admirer of Quinn, whonexplicitly points out Quinn’s error, though ignoring his similarnerrors elsewhere. Quinn’s and other linguists’ mistake is tonsnatch at any proof, no matter how tenuous, while ignoring notnonly grammar, context, and meaning but also distinctionsnbetween dialects, styles, or registers — all of which both linguistsnand literary scholars or critics have taught us to heed.nThere begins to emerge a startling contradiction betweenntwo kinds of attacks on language critics. On the one hand,nlinguists often defend locutions by unearthing ancient precedents.nOn the other hand, language critics are even morenfrequentiy attacked when they defend some item of older orntraditional usage—disinterested instead of the broader uninterested,nI hope or it is to be hoped instead of hopefully, and thenlike. Chanting the magic formula that all languages changenconstantly and that such change is normal, without noting thatnit takes place at different speeds in different sectors of thenlanguage (for example, slowing down to glacier-like movementnin standard written English), the linguists conclude that we cannin no way stem or divert any particular tributary of this flow andnthat language critics are fools even to try. The contradictionnnow becomes obvious. On the one hand, language criticsnshould not try to hold onto the usages of their childhood—nchange is inevitable, a force of nature, and they should go withnthe flow. On the other hand, if any language critic makes funnof some faddish idiom, vogue word, or careless grammar, henmust be shown that the usage, though not employed fornhundreds of years, is really acceptable because Shakespeare ornChaucer used it. At one moment, why won’t language criticsnadmit the rightness of the new? At the next, why won’t theynadmit the rightness of the old?nIt is not altogether surprising to find that writers who indulgenin ad hominem attacks, lack of documentation, errors of fact,nand weak or contradictory arguments also misread the argumentsnof their opponents. Although many examples might bencited, let us concentrate on Daniels, who more or lessnconsistently distorts what language critics write to make themnappear foolish and irresponsible. One of his favorite methods isnto leave out the context of an opponent’s opinion. He tells usnthat Newman, in his dislike of the -ize suSix, goes so far as toncondemn the “older and seemingly more established hospitalize.”nYet, in Chapter 3 of A Civil Tongue, entitled “IzenFront,” Newman devotes more than 10 pages to the overuse ofnwords compounded with -ize, citing politicalize, factionalize,nmetamorphosize, strategize, prioritize, funeralize, prophecize,ninferiorize, rigidize, cynicize, museumize, parameterize, heroize,nreghettoize, televisionize, and Pulitzerize. This list suggestsnthat hospitalize was not singled out, but simply appeared in ansetting of popular addiction to a vicious habit.nDaniels’ twisting of language critics’ views sometimes impliesnabsentmindedness and sometimes sheer irresponsibility.nOn one page, Daniels charges that Simon and other languagencritics, being elitist and undemocratic, hate the language of thenpoor and the minorities, while admiring the language of “thenrefined and wealthier classes.” But on the preceding page of hisnown book, Daniels quotes Simon that “the upper-crust ignoramusnwho graduated from Groton and Harvard” should not benallowed to “dictate what good English is.” At one point,nDaniels creates an opinion out of whole cloth, attributes it tonRichard Mitchell, and castigates Mitchell for having thenopinion. He first quotes Mitchell on the moral value of precisenand plain statement, in contrast with Nazi euphemisms fornmass murder. (Mitchell: “It’s not impossible that thousands ofnGermans could have done what they did only because theynspoke carefully of ‘transportation’ and ‘resettlement’ and ‘solution’nrather than of killings.”) Nine pages later, having suppliednnnJANUARY 19881 25n