Last month I posted about the Evolving English exhibition at the British Library. Now a linguist who’s lead consultant to the project has been proclaimed one of the Guardian’s “Heroes of 2010”.

David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor and author of well, a lot of books on language (including the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language). He’s also a champion of endangered languages, not just the English language as in the sub-heading of the article.

In the piece Michael Rosen writes:

People are sure that txtng is bad. “Is it?” asks Crystal. Millions who weren’t writing anything are now writing and inventing new ways of writing, he says. QED, not bad. Good.

Crystal summarises his position more clearly in a blog post:

It is the role of schools to prepare children for the linguistic demands that society places upon them. This means being competent in Standard English as well as in the nonstandard varieties that form a part of their lives and which they will frequently encounter outside their home environment in modern English literature, in interactions with people from other parts of the English-speaking world, and especially on the internet. They have to know when to spell and punctuate according to educated norms, and when it is permissible not do so. In a word, they have to know how to manage the language – or to be masters of it (as Humpty Dumpty says to Alice in Through the Looking Glass). And, one day, to be champions of it – all of it.

I guess that puts Emma Thompson in her place then!