May 24, 2012

Good metaphor, that

From a review by Tom Shippey in The Times Literary Supplement:
The dangerous [metaphor] as regards English, I would suggest, is language as threatened female, whose “purity” is continually being “violated” or “polluted” by vulgarisms, Americanisms, anything one doesn’t happen to like. If one pursued this image, one would have to say that English, far from being a pure maiden, looks like a woman who has appeared out of some distant fen, had more partners than Moll Flanders, learned a lot in the process, and is now running a house of negotiable affection near an international airport. But metaphors can be taken too far.