Lost for Words by John Humphrys Hodder, $120 English as a language has been in constant flux since Dr Johnson first tried to pin it down in the 17th century. Words vanish, new ones appear, meanings change. One constant is that those who stand in its defence are branded 'pedant' and 'curmudgeon', both of which have been applied to BBC Radio 4's John Humphrys for this amusing and well-written commentary, subtitled The Mangling and Manipulating of the English Language. The point the language freewheelers overlook is there are certain rules that must be understood if words themselves are to be understood. Humphrys argues that if those who use the English language no longer know the appropriate usage of words, meaning is lost. Newspapers are of little help. Journalists and editors, far from upholding clear language, now take the line of least resistance. Lazy language suggests lazy thinking. Such books as this make not a jot of difference. However, it is refreshing to read an articulate argument in support of plain, simple and accurate English, one that uses no more words than are needed and uses the right words for the job.