It is a — most — provoking — thing,’ Humpty said at last, `when a person doesn’t know a cravat from a belt!’ `I know it’s very ignorant of me,’ Alice said, in so humble a tone that Humpty Dumpty relented.
Preliminary: Of Words in General
Writing in defense of the language he loved and hated, H.L. Mencken wrote in The Smart Set for 1921 that “When two-thirds of the people who use a certain language decide to call it a freight train instead of a goods train, they are ‘right’; then the first is correct usage and the second a dialect.”
He was speaking of one of the minor irritants of usage that separate American and British speakers, “divided by a common language,” into those who love English because it isn’t French and those who value it primarily because it isn’t Spanish. –The perennial war between Britspeak and Amerispeak…
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