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John Dryden

The mistake of taking the hard line

Commenting from Albion, the estimable Picky recently wrote: "As I look back on a very privileged life I note that although the language I spoke mostly as a child was that of the London streets, my parents (typically of the upper working class in those days they enriched English by reading Dickens and Trollope and Austen to each other in the evenings - anyone do that nowadays?) and my school together provided me also with something very close to standard English, and I traded on that, essentially made my living from it, for the rest of my life. People who tell me that 'ain't' is perfectly good English dating back to Hengist and Horsa or Whoever are right, of course, but more...