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Date of this Version

September 2007

Abstract

The British novelist Kingsley Amis was interested in language and usage, often using linguistic habits or features to make a point (usually a negative one) about a character. His book, The King’s English: a Guide to Modern Usage, is an updating of H.W. Fowler’s Modern English Usage and an homage to Fowler as well. It addresses vocabulary, pronunciation, style, variation, and change, and many of its entries could be illustrated by a quote from one of Amis’s novels. This paper looks at examples of regional and social dialects in Amis's novels and discusses the author's approach to phonetic transcription and attitudes toward language change.

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