7
   

Things that the swells like just the way they are?

 
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 07:42 pm
@talk72000,
Interestingly, the first attempt to ban the book was by librarians who were appalled by the bad grammar.
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 07:50 pm
I don't know about other languages, but this I do know about English: it is not the same as it was.
You can pick any year for the past seven hundred years, and, if you were lucky enough to have samples from any two intervening years, you would find differences in dialect, usage, new word coinage, new word adoption and syntax formation. That's how English has survived, by not trying not to change, but by changing in new and better ways.
There have always been those who have tried to confine English to some rigid form, some rules set hard in stone, some unmoving markers of proper speech. To them, we English speakers say "Prithee, wouldst thou maketh a way unto ******* thyself."
Joe(royally, please)Nation
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 07:51 pm
@Ceili,
It is wrong to ban books which show how America was at that period. The Librarians don't realize that world literacy was below 50% until the 1950s. Most Americans in Huck Finn were illiterate so it is realistic talk.
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 08:26 pm
@talk72000,
The librarians in question tried unsuccessfully when the book was first printed. Interestingly, today it's not the language that causes concern more than specific words. I didn't say I agreed with them, but it did happen.
I think language should be fluid and reflect time and place. However, this thread is in response to someone trying to learn the language today, to bring up Irish slang as rule rather than the exception is a bit far fetched.
Fiction, regardless of how old or whatever period or what ever great writer wrote it doesn't necessarily help him today does it??? Other than confuse the issue..
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 09:24 pm
@Ceili,
Quote:
However, this thread is in response to someone trying to learn the language today, to bring up Irish slang as rule rather than the exception is a bit far fetched.


Jesus, Ceili, that's not at all what happened. If you want to take part in these discussion, then do keep up to speed.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 09:32 pm
Jesus JTT. Maybe you should write the rule book on how everyone should think, act, say, write, behave... on A2K. Hell, why stop there, why not the world. Since you think you know it all anyway.
Doesn't it get tiresome having all the answers to everything all the time?
If you had your way the rest of us would be at the foot of your soapbox, listening to your great wisdom and we'd never say a word or think for that matter. Oh wait, we don't right? If it weren't for we'd all live in a shell of ignorance. In case nobodies said it today, thank you for sharing your unending, condescending wisdom yet again.

JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 09:49 pm
@Ceili,
Ceil, there's no need for the "I feel sorry for myself" song and dance routine. You made an accusation that was completely false.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 10:18 pm
I actually kinda feel sorry for you. It must be tough living in your ivory tower, with no friends and a whole lot of enemies or people you dislike or hate surrounding you. It must be awful. I'm shedding a tear as a write this, no really, I am.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 10:35 pm
@Ceili,
That's nice, Ceili. You advance a lie, one that would have been very easy for you to check and then when you're called on it, you make phony excuses. Didn't your pappy tell you not to lie? Would your ma have washed your mouth out with soap for lying?
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 01:59 am
@JTT,

It's not right that you should attempt to bully and be condescending to a person advancing an honest opinion, JTT, more especially since in this thread you have been wrong, even though you have attempted to move the goalposts.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 05:06 am
@Joe Nation,

No-one (so far as I know) is arguing against change, here.

A simple question, requiring a simple answer, has been widened out into a thorough-going shitstorm, principally by friend JTT, following his usual modus operandi, complete with unwarranted ad hominem attacks and de haut en bas condescension. I'm not impressed. I don't mind admitting it when he has a point, but these occasions are becoming fewer of late, and his language shriller.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 10:39 am
@McTag,
Quote:
It's not right that you should attempt to bully and be condescending to a person advancing an honest opinion, JTT, more especially since in this thread you have been wrong, even though you have attempted to move the goalposts.


A lie is not an honest opinion,McTag. If you feel an accusation is warranted be specific. Don't dance around with that unclear language that you're always going on about.

Show me where I was wrong and I'll admit it. But you won't do that. You'll go off on yet another tangent. Talk about moving the goalposts, you frequently change fields.

JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 10:57 am
@McTag,
McTag: I cannot understand your eagerness to give credence to whatever patois, creole, or dialect your search engine may from time to time throw up.

jtt: I only stated that it was a distinct possibility, McTag. Again, faced with the facts you head off on a spurious tangent.

I can not understand your eagerness to demean others language. It's scientifically inaccurate and it's boorish.

McTag: I think it's the opposite of boorish.

If you were not so eager to prove everybody else wrong, you wouldn't get yourself in so much of a pickle quite so often.

=======================

See how you so deftly avoiding discussing the issue. It only got worse, McTag, with you seeking to defend your frequent untenable position, that you know what is and what isn't a misuse of language.

Again, I noted that it was a POSSIBILITY, that's all.

And from this Ceili states, "to bring up Irish slang as rule rather than the exception is a bit far fetched".
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 01:47 pm
@JTT,

I'm not going to pick through this again, for your benefit. Do not take this as an evasion, it is simply distaste.

Be advised that you poison most threads you participate in, and apparently I'm not the only person who objects to this.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 06:55 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
I'm not going to pick through this again, for your benefit. Do not take this as an evasion, it is simply distaste.


Bullshit, McTag. Of course you don't want to go thru it again because you were wrong. Your choice, but this is always how it ends with you, some nonsense comments then a few tangents, then you head for the hills.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 11:07 am
@Ceili,
Quote:
Just because people do talk or use incorrect grammar or words isn't a reason to slap them on the back and say swells done... Sometimes wrong is wrong.


To suggest that the grammar of these two fellas was deficient is ludicrous, Ceili. To believe that one would have to seize on one dialect of English, as an example let's take BrE, as the Gold Standard. Measured against BrE, that would make all other dialects of English, CdE, AmE, AuE, NzE, etc, incorrect grammars.

It's a given that people naturally learn the grammar of the dialect that surrounds them. They also, naturally, learn the pronunciation of the dialect that surrounds them. There simply is no gold standard for grammar or for pronunciation. Every dialect's grammar is as logical and as natural as any other dialect's grammar.


Quote:
Standard English

Standard English is the language we use for public discourse. It is the working language of our social institutions. The news media, the government, the legal profession, and the teachers in our schools and universities all aim at Standard English as a norm of communication, primarily in expository and argumentative writing, but also in public speaking. Standard English is thus different from what we normally think of as speech in that Standard English must be taught, whereas children learn to speak naturally without being taught.

Of course, Standard English shares with spoken English certain features common to all forms of language. It has rules for making grammatical sentences, and it changes over time. The issues of pronunciation discussed in this book mainly involve how to pronounce specific written words or written letters, such as ch or g, in different words. The guidance to pronunciation is not meant to standardize or correct anyone’s naturally acquired form of spoken English.10

The name Standard English is perhaps not the best, since it implies a standard against which various kinds of spoken English are to be measured, and this is hardly a fair comparison. A better name might be Institutional English, Conventional English, Commercial English, or Standardized English for Writing and Public Speaking, but these names all have their own negative connotations and shortcomings. So, since Standard is what this brand of English has been called for generations, we use the name here. 11


Nonstandard English

There are many expressions and grammatical constructions that are not normally used in Standard English. These include regional expressions, such as might could, and other usages, such as ain’t and it don’t, that are typically associated with dialects used by people belonging to less prestigious social groups.

These nonstandard varieties of English are no less logical or systematic than Standard English. In this book an expression labeled nonstandard is not wrong; it is merely inappropriate for ordinary usage in Standard English. 12


Formal English

On some occasions it is important to adhere to the conventions that characterize serious public discourse and to avoid expressions that we might use in more casual situations. Formal writing and speaking are characterized by the tendency to give full treatment to all the elements that are required for grammatical sentences. Thus in formal English you might hear May I suggest that we reexamine the problem? where both clauses have a subject and verb and the subordinate clause is introduced by the conjunction that.

Of course, formal English has many other features. Among these are the careful explanation of background information, complexity in sentence structure, explicit transitions between thoughts, and the use of certain words such as may that are reserved chiefly for creating a formal tone. Situations that normally require formal usage would include an article discussing a serious matter submitted to a respected journal, an official report by a group of researchers to a government body, a talk presented to a professional organization, and a letter of job application. 13


Informal English

This is a broad category applied to situations in which it is not necessary, and in many cases not even desirable, to use the conventions of formal discourse. Informal language incorporates many of the familiar features of spoken English, especially the tendency to use contractions and to abbreviate sentences by omitting certain elements. Where formal English has May I suggest that we reexamine the manuscript? in informal English you might get Want to look this over again?

Informal English tends to assume that the audience shares basic assumptions and background knowledge with the writer or speaker, who therefore alludes to or even omits reference to this information, rather than carefully explaining it as formal discourse requires. Typical informal situations would include a casual conversation with classmates, a letter to a close friend, or an article on a light topic written for a newspaper or magazine whose readership shares certain interests of the writer. 14

Of course, these functional categories are not hard and fast divisions of language; rather they are general tendencies of usage. People use language over a spectrum that shifts from intimate situations to public discourse, and a given piece of writing may have a mixture of formal and informal elements. We use the labels formal and informal in this book as guideposts to give you a clearer notion about when it is appropriate to use a particular usage. 15

It is important to remember that formal and informal refer to styles of expression, not standards of correctness. Informal English has its own rules of grammar and is just as logical as formal English. You can be serious using informal English, just as you can be comical using formal English. The two
styles are simply used for different occasions.



JTT
 
  0  
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 11:26 am
@Joe Nation,
Further to Joe's comments. This is an excellent read for those who want to really understand what grammar is, how grammar works.

Quote:

The Decline of Grammar

Geoffrey Nunberg

...

But while it is understandable that speakers of a language with a literary tradition would tend to be pessimistic about its course, there is no more hard evidence for a general linguistic degeneration than there is reason to believe that Aaron and Rose are inferior to Ruth and Gehrig.

Most of my fellow linguists, in fact, would say that it is absurd even to talk about a language changing for the better or the worse. When you have the historical picture before you, and can see how Indo-European gradually slipped into Germanic, Germanic into Anglo-Saxon, and Anglo-Saxon into the English of Chaucer, then Shakespeare, and then Henry James, the process of linguistic change seems as ineluctable and impersonal as continental drift.

From this Olympian point of view, not even the Norman invasion had much of an effect on the structure of the language, and all the tirades of all the grammarians since the Renaissance sound like the prattlings of landscape gardeners who hope by frantic efforts to keep Alaska from bumping into Asia.

http://www.pbs.org/speak/speech/correct/decline/


0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 12:13 pm
@Ceili,
Here's a discussion of the notorious "double negative". Highly instructive, in more ways than one.

But more than that, it's a discussion of linguistic diversity, how one dialect is no better than another. Grammar doesn't become bad/incorrect/a misuse just because it is different.

Quote:


Giving Up on Double Negation

G Pullum
...

You have to learn this if you're going to make any claim to knowing English. Because if you believe that when the Rolling Stones play 'Satisfaction' and Mick Jagger sings 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' he is singing about how it is impossible for him not to be satisfied, you can't even understand rock 'n' roll.

A fully competent speaker of English knows how to work out the meaning of both 'I am unable to obtain any satisfaction' and 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction', and knows that the first of those would be suitable in a business letter and the second would be appropriate in personal conversation in a pub in Spitalfields or Pentonville. A person who cannot understand Mick Jagger's lyrics, even if they are written out on a sheet of paper (nobody can understand much of it when he's singing, of course, is not a better English speaker, but a worse one.

The way I see it, real class in being an English speaker involves understanding both the Queen saying, 'My husband and I cannot imagine anything nicer', and a Cockney speaker saying, 'Me old man and me can't fink of nuffink nicer'. Real class is being knowledgeable about the diversity of English as well as sensitive to the nuances of the different varieties. The status-obsessed grumblers who complain about other people's double negations do not have class. There is nothing classy about insensitivity to the complexity of the linguistic world around us. If you pay attention to linguistic diversity and appreciate the variety in your language, you'll find you can't get no satisfaction.


0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 12:54 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:
let's take BrE, as the Gold Standard.


let's not.
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 03:55 pm
@JTT,

Incorrect, of course. I was not wrong.

Any disinterested party reading this thread can gauge the accuracy of your remarks....and whether your personal attacks on me and others are justified or not.

It often occurs to me that the originators of these language threads, innocently seeking a clear answer to a simple question, must be totally bemused by the spleen and vitriol (and the crap and the non-sequiturs, and the tedious circumlocution) which self-styled experts such as you spew out thereafter.
0 Replies
 
 

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