Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

7/1/2006 - 8/31/2006

Funding Totals

$5,000.00 (approved)
$5,000.00 (awarded)

Sherwin Cody and the American Language in the Early 20th Century

FAIN: FT-53274-05

Edwin L. Battistella
Southern Oregon University (Ashland, OR 97520-5001)

This proposal requests support to research a book titled SHERWIN CODY AND THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE. The book will examine a famous early 20th century correspondence grammar course and the entrepreneur behind it. Sherwin Cody's advertisement asking "Do you make these mistakes in English?" ran continuously for 40 years at a time when many Americans were focused on self-improvement and workplace skills. In telling the story of Cody's 100% Self-Correcting English Course, my project investigates attitudes toward language and the mass marketing of cultural self-improvement. It examines as well the evolution of spoken language style and the connection between language choice, cultural propriety and economic advancement.

Media Coverage

Date: 1/14/2012

Impertinent Questions (Media Coverage)
Publication: Humanities Magazein
Date: 1/14/2012
Abstract: Interview in Humanities Magazine

Associated Products

Do You Make These Mistakes In English? The Story of Sherwin Cody's Famous Language School (Book)
Title: Do You Make These Mistakes In English? The Story of Sherwin Cody's Famous Language School
Author: Edwin L. Battistella
Abstract: In this book, linguist Edwin Battistella tells the story of Sherwin Cody, the founder of modern business communication, and his famous English course, situating both the man and the course in early twentieth century cultural history.
Year: 2009
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: book website
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: publisher's page
Publisher: Oxford U Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 019536712X