The noted Professor Pei (Romance Philology, Columbia, The Story of Language, English, etc.) serves as senior contributor to this book on the state (meaning condition) of language today. He writes on the question of abuses, mainly in reaction to Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1961) which ""obliterates all, or most of the value judgments of the past;"" offers a rejoinder to William F. Marquardt's discussion on the same subject, dismissing his definition of good language as making usage ""a matter of pure relativism"" (Marquardt uses effective communication as his criterion). He also traces the roots of English spelling and discusses the problems of semantics in the various languages of diplomacy, propaganda, the young. Katharine Le Mee of Columbia College extends the study with her findings in communication, which include paralanguage and proxemics; the book concludes with University of Michigan's Don L. F. Nilsenon grammar. At once scholarly and accessible, more observant than conclusive.