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So Wrong It's Right

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 11 August 2009

Stephen Fry explores the highways and byways of the English language.

Stephen examines how 'wrong' English can become right English. For example, nowadays, more people use the word 'wireless' in a computer context than in a radio one. With help from a lexicographer, an educationalist, a Times sub-editor and a judge, Stephen examines the way in which usage changes language.

He applauds the council leader who claimed the services provided by her local authority should be seen as strawberry-flavoured and castigates attempts at banning government jargon like step change and synergy. Banning words is fruitless; he favours blue sky thinking, and strawberry flavouring.

  • Damp Squid

    Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare by Jeremy Butterfield is published by OUP.


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