JTT
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 08:01 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
The whole problem with JTT's virtually exclusive reliance on Pinker for language guidance is that Pinker is not a linguist or language specialist.


You never miss a good chance to illustrate what a fool you are, do you, Merry?

0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 08:08 pm
@ossobuco,
You won't understand it any better now than you did before, Osso.

Quote:
but I often type-speak colloquially.


Really. You are one unique individual. I don't think there's anyone but you who does that.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 08:15 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Pinker seems to be saying the same thing I am...but I must acknowledge that he said it much, much better.

JTT is hung up on one of the extremes...and she wants to call the other extreme utterly insane.

Watta ya gonna say to someone who takes that position?


I suspect that you probably will wanna retract your first statement, Frank.

Here's what Pinker says on your 'everyone/their' rule.

Quote:
Sometimes an alleged grammatical "error" is logical not only in the sense of "rational," but in the sense of respecting distinctions made by the logician. Consider this alleged barbarism:

Everyone returned to their seats. If anyone calls, tell them I can't come to the phone. No one should have to sell their home to pay for medical care.

The mavens explain: [everyone] means [every one], a singular subject, which may not serve as the antecedent of a plural pronoun like [them] later in the sentence. "Everyone returned to [his] seat," they insist. "If anyone calls, tell [him] I can't come to the phone."

If you were the target of these lessons, you might be getting a bit uncomfortable. [Everyone returned to his seat] makes it sound like Bruce Springsteen was discovered during intermission to be in the audience, and everyone rushed back and converged on his seat to await an autograph.

If there is a good chance that a caller may be female, it is odd to ask one's roommate to tell [him] anything (even if you are not among the people who get upset about "sexist language").

Such feelings of disquiet -- a red flag to any serious linguist -- are well-founded. The logical point that everyone but the language mavens intuitively grasps is that [everyone] and [they] are not an antecedent and a pronoun referring to the same person in the world, which would force them to agree in number. They are a "quantifier" and a "bound variable," a different logical relationship. [Everyone returned to their seats] means "For all X, X returned to X's seat." The "X" is simply a placeholder that keeps track of the roles that players play across different relationships: the X that comes back to a seat is the same X that owns the seat that X comes back to. The [their] there does not, in fact, have plural number, because it refers neither to one thing nor to many things; it does not refer at all.

On logical grounds, then, variables are not the same thing as the more familiar "referential" pronouns that trigger agreement ([he] meaning to some particular guy, [they] meaning some particular bunch of guys).

Some languages are considerate and offer their speakers different words for referential pronouns and for variables. But English is stingy; a referential pronoun must be drafted into service to lend its name when a speaker needs to use a variable. There is no reason that the vernacular decision to borrow [they, their, them] for the task is any worse than the prescriptivists' recommendation of [he, him, his]. Indeed, [they] has the advantage of embracing both sexes and feeling right in a wider variety of sentences.

http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/media/1994_01_24_thenewrepublic.html/
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 02:30 am
@JTT,
Quote:
Quote:
Re: Frank Apisa (Post 5049397)
Quote:
Pinker seems to be saying the same thing I am...but I must acknowledge that he said it much, much better.

JTT is hung up on one of the extremes...and she wants to call the other extreme utterly insane.

Watta ya gonna say to someone who takes that position?


I suspect that you probably will wanna retract your first statement, Frank.


Nope. Do not want to retract at all. Pinker does indeed (at least in this article) seem to be saying that there are extremes to the prescriptionist/descriptionist controversy, and that a better position is probably found somewhere away from the extremes.

My comment earlier was:

Both are extreme...and both probably are less useful than a position somewhere in from those edges. But to describe them as "utterly insane" is a greater insult to the language than what any of us on the other side of this issue have generated, JTT.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 02:54 am
@spendius,

Quote:
Surely you can see rancour arising when the sofa sprawler challenges the whale spotter with dirtying up the planet and disturbing the whales


This bothers me quite a bit. Boats with powerful engines near whales is not a good thing. These mammals have to listen, and we don't know much about how they listen and what they listen to.
Noise from military activity and from geological exploration have untold effects, probably devastating, on whale populations.
Yet dolphins like to ride on the pressure wave in front of a moving vessel.
Maybe to them it's like loud music played on fairground rides- a price worth paying.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 04:37 am
@JTT,
Quote:
But there is a rather more subtle position in the middle that isn't. That is the interesting and conceptually rather difficult truth that Zink Frank A, Roberta, Robert, Spendi, Osso, ... does not perceive


The "position in the middle" (a solecism) is neither subtle nor interesting. It is not difficult and has no hold on the truth unless the middle is a dead centre point which is a ridiculous idea. Your remark is merely self flattery in the farmerman vein. Conceptually it is arrant nonsense. The sort of usage which comes from anti-prescriptivist noddle-headed thinking.

And asserting what I don't appreciate is not an argument.

I remember one of your expert anti-prescriptivists using the expression "cold mediocrity" and I said "it is warm in a swarm". Which it is. I would proscribe "cold". The metaphor is false.

I'm not sure I have met prescriptivism before quite so extreme as yours JT. The certainty of the uncertainty principle.



spendius
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 04:44 am
@JTT,
Quote:
There are however, some of my own comments tucked into the text, pointing to how what Professor Pullum says applies to those here you argue, but truly don not understand these issues.


That's pure cicerone imposter drivel. And just as insulting in that you can't even be arsed editing the errors.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 04:46 am
@spendius,
Quote:
Your remark is merely self flattery in the farmerman vein.
I only apply that as a tool so that a clevis bolt like yourself is able to respond at something concrete as you seem to have trouble with the abstract.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 04:48 am
@JTT,
Quote:
The following paragraph describes prescriptions, Frank. It points out what I've pointed out. That you, Roberta, Spendi, [lamely] anyone who tries to defend a prescription never offers anything in the way of proof.


That's another example of you flattering yourself with a useless assertion.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 04:59 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
I only apply that as a tool so that a clevis bolt like yourself is able to respond at something concrete as you seem to have trouble with the abstract.


Thanks for the confirmation fm. But "seem" is a bit of a solipsistic limp wrist. You seem like a spavined gelding more often than you really ought to.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 10:19 am
Describing the natural logical working usage of language does not necessarily prescribe anything but attention to tradition for measure of rational, so aside the pragmatic coinage I don't much understand what "Prescriptivism" assigns into...equally, descriptively accepting the emergence of new usage, as the acknowledgement of working functionality among certain groups doesn't bother me either... it certainly seams sufficiently justified by statistical agreement among them...owning the culture "functionalizes" the logic ratio in display, prevented general non strict rules are in place...after all language itself evolves on the back of progressively successful minority's...the fact of the matter is that whenever people WANT and NEED to talk to each other, such minor mechanical problems can and usually are easily circumvented...the internet raging problem with quick reply is not a problem of language at large but a problem of lack of integration between several languages that we are use and programmed into, like body language, and sound pitch etc for extracting meaning and intention...that simple !
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 10:29 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
...I am under the suspicion some quick trigger happy thumber believes there is any logic to logic other then what is the case... Laughing
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 01:05 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
They think they are in the Circus Maximus Fil.
solipsister
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 08:46 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
believes there is any logic to logic other then


Other then those at the very forefront of language development , I like a man who knows what time it is.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 09:34 pm
@spendius,
And I like the circus maximus. Watch out if you want to stretch out and take the sun. Lots of condoms strewn about.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 09:45 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
You're welcome, Merry. I appreciate your honesty.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 09:47 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
Not saying that its 100% correct


Of course, it's 100% correct, Farmer. You really are such a doofus.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 10:04 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Nope. Do not want to retract at all. Pinker does indeed (at least in this article) seem to be saying that there are extremes to the prescriptionist/descriptionist controversy, and that a better position is probably found somewhere away from the extremes.


But what you're missing, Frank, big time, in your zeal to cast yourself as some moderate on language, is that this middle ground does not include the very "rules" [actually the one you tried to correct Joe England on] that plant you squarely in the realm of the extreme.

Quote:
And now we come to the biggest and most bogus controversy of them all. The fact that many prescriptive rules are worth keeping does not imply that every pet peeve, bit of grammatical folklore, or dimly remembered lesson from Miss Grundy’s classroom is worth keeping.

Many prescriptive rules originated for screwball reasons, impede clear and graceful prose, and have been flouted by English’s greatest writers for centuries.

The most notorious is the ban on split verbs (including split infinitives), which led Chief Justice and grammatical stickler John Roberts to precipitate a governance crisis in 2009 when he unconsciously edited the oath of office and had Barack Obama “solemnly swear that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully” (rather than “faithfully execute,” the wording stipulated in the Constitution).

Bogus rules, which proliferate like urban legends and are just as hard to eradicate, are responsible for vast amounts of ham-fisted copy editing and smarty-pants one-upmanship.

Yet when language experts try to debunk the spurious rules, the dichotomizing mindset imagines that they are trying to abolish all standards of good writing. It is as if anyone who proposed repealing a stupid law, like those on miscegenation or Sunday store closings, was labeled an anarchist.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_good_word/2012/05/steven_pinker_on_the_false_fronts_in_the_language_wars_.single.html



Quote:
My comment earlier was:

Both are extreme...and both probably are less useful than a position somewhere in from those edges. But to describe them as "utterly insane" is a greater insult to the language than what any of us on the other side of this issue have generated, JTT.


You don't like being categorized as being in one of the utter insane groups and yet what is more insane, Frank, than advancing rules that are terrible descriptions of the English language.

Let me repeat what your "new found friend" says of the very rule that led to this long discussion:

"Many prescriptive rules originated for screwball reasons, impede clear and graceful prose, and have been flouted by English’s greatest writers for centuries."

This [regarding 'everyone/their'] was all explained to you right from the get go, but you went off on tangent after tangent. One has to wonder why, Frank. It doesn't at all seem to reflect the level of honesty you like to portray. It certainly doesn't square with your signature line.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jul, 2012 10:14 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Grammar prescriptions may be worthless to JTT and Professor Plum...but if a student is being tested on grammar rules his/her teacher thinks to be important, the score on the test is going to reflect the prejudices of the teacher...not of the other two.


Prescriptions that don't accurately describe language are worthless to all thinking linguists, grammarians and language experts, Frank, including Steven Pinker.

What you are saying with this argument is that students shouldn't think; that they should be automatons that simply memorize vacuous rules. That's what has gotten y'all into all this trouble. The crap that is taught in US schools [yes, others too] has made US students as grammatically incompetent as their main mentors.

A teacher who thinks these silly rules are important is no different than a teacher who demands that their students believe the Earth is flat or that phrenology is a desirable area of study.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jul, 2012 01:41 am
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:
Not saying that its 100% correct,
but several writers of fiction had used AND or BUT to start sentences.
I admit that it IS done,
the same as I admit that drunken driving is done.

It shud not be done.





David
 

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