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Is there a correct way that English ought to be spoken?

 
 
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:51 pm
This would be the debate between descriptive and prescriptive grammars. That is, how grammar IS spoken vs how it SHOULD be. Should there be a standard? Feel free to elaborate as desired.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 1,312 • Replies: 15
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:04 pm
Attempts to put any language into a straight jacket usually fail. What is slang today can enter language in ten or twenty years, and a century down the road, no one would any longer know it is slang. The word "cool" in English is an hilarious example. It entered the language as slang more than 300 years ago (in the sense of desirable or admirable), became a commonplace, and then "re-entered" the language as slang in the last 60 years, in that same sense.

There is always a dynamic tension between standard meaning and usage on the one hand and new usages and neologisms on the other. For language to function as communication, all of us either need to know what you mean, or the meaning must be obvious (if a new usage or neologism). At the same time, it would be silly to condemn something as slang, if it becomes current usage and is widely understood, because it serves the function of communication, which is the object of language.

The closest i think any language has ever come to controlling usage, forms and meanings is modern French, due to the Academy. Both Latin and Mandarin Chinese have functioned for centuries as a lingua franca in their respective spheres, and neither was carved in stone, despite what we believe. Much of what we think of as Latin, for example, would have been incomprehensible to a Roman 2000 years ago, and is actually monastic Latin from the middle ages.

So, yes, there is a correct way that English ought to be spoken, which is in a manner to successfully function as communication. But there is a great deal of flexibility within that criterion.
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MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:06 pm
Yes, of course. The way we speak it in Boston.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:06 pm
@MontereyJack,
Bahstin?
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MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:12 pm
re rockhead: exactement.
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MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:16 pm
Hey, Set, could you do us all a favor, utlizing your historic sense. Ican-the-loon is tolling the Conservatism in 2008 thread claiming that liberals were the ones trashing the abolition of slavery and equal rights amendments, while it was conservatives who passed them, as well as claiming that liberalism leads to fascism AND communism. I think ke needs a rude dose of history.
http://able2know.org/topic/113196-989#post-4170294

Thanks.
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:18 pm
@Brandi phil,
Quote:
Is there a correct way that English ought to be spoken?


Yeah there is...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3H8B_aW3ZQ

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:32 pm
@MontereyJack,
It would be a pointless exercise, Boss. This is a new "meme" of the right wing, to the effect that all that is liberal is bad, and all that is conservative is good; that liberalism is the fount of all evil, and conservatism the source of all good. Okie has a thread which has been running literally for years now in which he has steadfastly clung to the claim that Hitler and the Nazis were dangerous left-wing ideologues, and no amount of evidence to the contrary has swayed him. In my experience, Ican is even less likely to be swayed be evidence. You can bet that he has recently picked up on this new conservative scam, and will go to his grave believing this crap.
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:51 pm
Set, true, but he still deserves a twenty-gun broadside, which you do so well.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 10:59 pm
He's impervious, Boss. I gave up talking to him years ago.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 04:12 am
@Setanta,
I think that what MJ really wanted was a showdown where he could bring his popcorn and be entertained. Smile
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 04:14 am
Probably . . . but if i ain't gettin' none of the popcorn, then i ain't playin' . . .
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Mame
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 04:20 am
And anyway, everybody knows the way Canadians speak is the right way. It's root for route and we do not say aboot for about. That's just silly.

But I have to agree with what Set said. Languages continually evolve and we can take or leave what we don't like. I don't even think they're teaching sentence structure and grammar anymore - I know we had years of it but it seems pretty certain, from what I read in the papers and listen to on the streets, that it's gone the way of the dodo.
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Fido
 
  0  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 05:37 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

It would be a pointless exercise, Boss. This is a new "meme" of the right wing, to the effect that all that is liberal is bad, and all that is conservative is good; that liberalism is the fount of all evil, and conservatism the source of all good. Okie has a thread which has been running literally for years now in which he has steadfastly clung to the claim that Hitler and the Nazis were dangerous left-wing ideologues, and no amount of evidence to the contrary has swayed him. In my experience, Ican is even less likely to be swayed be evidence. You can bet that he has recently picked up on this new conservative scam, and will go to his grave believing this crap.


Is there something new about newspeak??? The best thing you can do is give to such people what they desire... More privitization, less government??? Why not??? Outlaw liberalism, and jail the liberals??? Why not??? More government support for the rich, more taxes on the poor??? Lay it on me... The only way to get rid of such nonsense is to make it a fact and let the world see what a mess it is...
In germany, Prussia really, Bismark fed money to the right, and to the reactionary press...He banned socialist/liberal parties... Long after he was gone the forces he fed were alive and well and in much better shape to survive the failure he made possible in the first worldd war... If he had been a man he could have swept the Kaisar out of business and put Germany on a rational/demonratic footing... In the end he was used by the Kaisar he wanted to use...He kept the reactionary junkers as a force that was still a power when the government was handed over to Hitler... All those people accepted as fact the notion that if you can control the language you can control the minds of the people, and they were more right than wrong...
When Hitler attacked the East he said he did so in defense of freedom... What crimes have we commited for freedom??? As long as we let criminals control our dialogue we will have no meaningful speech...
0 Replies
 
Huxley
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 05:27 pm
No.

I don't think this precludes grading strictly on grammar in non-English classes, however. There is a way in which we speak now, and that communication is important. However, there's no need for it to remain that way.
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 10:21 pm
@Brandi phil,
There are standards. These standards are set by native speakers using the language in the varying registers found within the spoken language.

The rules that describe these differences are so complex that to even consider for a second that prescriptive grammar has any kind of a handle on it is ludicrous in the extreme.
0 Replies
 
 

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