Why this website and blog? And why titled The Dean’s English?
My best short answer for those questions is that I believe one of the most important keys to effective living is effective communication. For Americans at least, a key to effective communication is developing a strong command of the English language, both spoken and written. I’ll refer to those as Standard English (SE) and Standard Written English (SWE).
I fully realize that English is an ever-evolving language; I have no intention of preserving the current version in stone tablets. I do, however, firmly believe that some versions of spoken and written English are to be preferred over others. Thus my purpose here—in some ways my life’s purpose—is twofold: (1) to promote SE and SWE so that speakers and writers of English can communicate more effectively, and (2) to resist today’s cultural slide toward illiteracy and the extreme dumbing-down of language arts.
So why the title The Dean’s English? I’m glad you asked! It’s my tongue-in-cheek twist on The King’s (or Queen’s) English and a classic one hundred ten-year-old H. W. and F. G. Fowler book by that title. Further, a dean is an academic official—which I am not. But, at the same time I am. . . . uh, Dean, that is. Putting it all together, in my slightly warped mind, it just made sense to call this blog The Dean’s English.
*Credit is due the brilliant and quirky David Foster Wallace for this fun term.
I am a bibliophile and a collector of books—not rare ones, mind you, although I wouldn’t mind owning a few if I could afford them. I have more books in my home library than I could read in two lifetimes. For fun and relaxation—and to stay sharp professionally—I am constantly reading books and journal articles on language, grammar, usage, and writing (and a few other genres). See My Bookshelf for more on that. Let’s just say I’m a reader.
For mindless relaxation I have been known to strum an acoustic guitar, play the addicting board game Sequence and watch movies with my wife (especially during the year of COVID, when we couldn’t go anywhere), laugh with my grandkids, cheer for the Dodgers (the 2020 World Series champs), and eat cinnamon rolls and clam chowder at California’s Central Coast. I’ve also been known to play a stats-based baseball board game or two (which I discuss in Nothing About Baseball is Trivial).
In November 2021, my first book on language, grammar, usage, and punctuation was published: Whatever Happened to English?
I hope you’ll want to read one or both of them.
Here’s a link to my author’s page at Amazon .