Neil James

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Neil James and Harold Scruby, with Illustrations by Alan Moir

Modern Manglish

‘It’s dog eat dog in this rat race’

‘We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.’

‘I hope to come first or second, or at least win it.’

The information superhighway brings more text to our door than ever before. It’s just that most of it gets mangled along the way. Twenty years ago, Harold Scruby’s Manglish became an instant bestseller. This version expands on the consummate mangles of the original, with all-new Scrubyisms and recent classics from the shame files of the Plain English Foundation.

Neil James completed a doctorate in English while working as an editor and a book reviewer. In 2003, Neil established the Plain English Foundation with Dr Peta Spear to improve the quality of Australian public language. The foundation has since trained some 10,000 professional people. The latest of his three books is Writing at Work, and he has published more than 60 articles, reviews, and essays on language and literature.

During Harold Scruby’s 25 years in the rag trade, he wrote two books: Waynespeak and Manglish. He spent eight years on Mosman Council as a councillor and depu­ty mayor.

Alan Moir has been an editorial cartoonist for The Bulletin, The Courier-Mail and The Sydney Morning Herald. He has won the Stanley Award for Editorial Cartoonist of the Year six times, as well as the Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2000 and 2006.

Writing at Work

Here Neil James talks about his book Writing at Work:

‘We stopped teaching grammar in the Australian school system for 20 years. This was a great mistake… Because writing is such a threshold skill, this is now affecting… careers. I’d also like to see… rhetoric — the art of speaking and writing effectively and persuasively — restored to the curriculum. This is the classic craft of communication that was tossed out over a hundred years ago, having been at the heart of education for centuries.’