Welcome to the world of Linguistic Anarchy, the no-man’s land on the dusty upper shelf where the rules of grammar were made to be broken by outlaws and gunslingers. It is a place where purple prose and description porn flourish in the rich soil of putting art over form.

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I am an aspiring writer from Brisbane, Australia. I have been working on-and-off my first novel for several years, but my attention span just never seems to get me to the end. I am easily distracted and frequently take long breaks from my magnum opus to write short stories, draw, paint, or play video games. At my best I am completely disorganised, and my worst utterly in love with my own writing.

The term “linguistic anarchy” was inspired by a reply I received in a forum discussion about grammar prescriptivism.

Angell is a linguistic anarchist! You can never tell what sort of crazy derivation of English she’ll use to speak to you next! Maybe you’re just imagining meaning from random letters pounded out, who knows? Since you can’t even know that she’s speaking the same language as you, you don’t know if there’s an implicit negative in every statement, you don’t know anything about what she’s communicating! It could be gibberish!

When I’m not pursuing artistic endeavours (or sleeping) I can be found at the local coffee chain, making fantastic lattes.

A. M. Harding





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4 thoughts on “About

  1. Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.


  2. In the last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about language and grammatical rules and where they come from. In talking with my friend, both of us ideologically anarchists, I said that if there’s such a thing as “grammatical anarchry”, sign me up. Today, I found myself looking on Google for the term “linguistic anarchy” and found your blog. Yet, I am a little puzzled as to what anarchy means for you. Could you please share? I am curious because I suspect it may be very different.


    • I suspect that it is, indeed, very different. I use the term “anarchy” loosely, it wouldn’t have come to me naturally if it hadn’t been bestowed in the quoted conversation. I do, however, believe that voice is more important propriety when it come to literature. Grammar rules exist for a reason, they have their place, but one does not write a novel in the same way that they write a thesis or a blog post or a business report or a text message.


      • I am a copy editor and technical writer for a living, and so I understand the place for rules and conventions in grammar. What I question is the dogmatic acceptance of them as necessary for good writing. I worry about the increasing homogenization of linguistic expression. On a writing forum, I heard several people actually suggest that there was never a good reason to use the word “suddenly” in writing. It feels we are often moving unwittingly toward inventing Newspeak. What I mean by anarchy isn’t chaos or the complete deconstruction of grammatical rules; what I mean is what an anarchist means – that there should be no one who tells us what those rules are and serves as the arbitrator for good form or style, that the rules that govern writing and expression should be stripped down to their nature and not because we are told we need to communicate a certain way – that there are often very hierarchical value judgments that often unwittingly make their way into the enforcement for particular notions of writing and style.

        I have been searching for anyone who has conceived of language this way, and I came upon a reference in a book suggesting that James Joyce actively practiced “linguistic anarchy.” This author argued that Joyce actually was friendly to anarchism and that he was stylistically writing in a way that was meant to express that worldview. I am not sure that Joyce’s writing quite gets what I am talking about, but it moves the ball forward.

        Anyhow, I’m beginning my own project and probably will call it “grammatical anarchy” in that I am interested in the style and syntax as informative of the semantics more than I am in the semantical properties of language – though, honestly, it all interests me (it’s just to express my substance in terms of the process of language, and so that seems more eloquent to me).

        Still, it fascinates me that you have taken on the quote as a badge of honor for your own writing. I hope it fascinates you that there are actual anarchists out there interested in language who would be drawn by these seemingly accidental connections of meanings. Some of that – that we do this by Internet and so far away instantaneously – actually fuels my own sense of caution about our language. We both can reach and understand things we could hardly known to have existed, but I am afraid we actually understand less than ever – to unpack that, you’ll have to wait for me to share more.



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