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Prescriptive - Descriptive (Language)

 
 
JTT
 
Reply Mon 11 Mar, 2013 02:31 pm
In this corner,

Quote:
THE ENGLISH WARS The battle over the way we should speak.
BY JOAN ACOCELLA

For a long time, many English speakers have felt that the language was going to the dogs. All around them, people were talking about “parameters” and “life styles,” saying “disinterested” when they meant “uninterested,” “fulsome” when they meant “full.” To the pained listeners, it seemed that they were no longer part of this language group. To others, the complainers were fogies and snobs. The usages they objected to were cause not for grief but for celebration. They were pulsings of our linguistic lifeblood, proof that English was large, contained multitudes.


http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/05/14/120514crbo_books_acocella?currentPage=all


And in the other corner,


Quote:

False Fronts in the Language Wars
Why New Yorker writers and others keep pushing bogus controversies.

By Steven Pinker

...


The point of the essay was to explore how prescriptive rules arise and how we can distinguish the bogus rules from the defensible ones. One cause of bogus rules, I suggest, is a phenomenon called pluralistic ignorance, a situation in which, e.g., no writer believes that split infinitives are really ungrammatical but everyone mistakenly believes that everyone else believes they are. I reviewed research showing that pluralistic ignorance can entrench itself when people fear censure for exposing it, as they did during witch hunts, Red scares, and other popular delusions. Acocella got distracted by the analogy, hallucinating the “clear political meaning” that “prescriptivists are witch-hunters, Red-baiters.” (As I wrote in a subsequent letter to The New Yorker, this is like reading an explanation of global warming and mounting an indignant defense of greenhouses.) Acocella then impugns the intellectual integrity of the dictionary’s editors, declaring that to publish my essay together with Rickford’s “is outright self-contradiction,” and “to publish it at all is cowardice, in service of avoiding a charge of élitism.”

Not since Saturday Night Live’s Emily Litella thundered against conserving natural racehorses and protecting endangered feces has a polemicist been so incensed by her own misunderstandings.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_good_word/2012/05/steven_pinker_on_the_false_fronts_in_the_language_wars_.single.html
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 4,695 • Replies: 108

 
fresco
 
  5  
Reply Tue 12 Mar, 2013 12:46 am
@JTT,
A futile debate!
As with dress codes, social context is everything and nothing can be said about usage divorced from such contexts.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Mar, 2013 01:32 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
A futile debate!


Not when it blows apart the idiotic prescriptions that are not part of English.

Quote:
As with dress codes, social context is everything and nothing can be said about usage divorced from such contexts.


True dat, Fresco. But language is and needs to be much more flexible than dress codes.
Frank Apisa
 
  3  
Reply Tue 12 Mar, 2013 02:02 pm
@JTT,
Quote:
Not when it blows apart the idiotic prescriptions that are not part of English.


Who determines which instances are “idiotic” and which are “part of English?”

You?

Isn’t the structure of your sentence prescriptive?

In fact, isn’t the structure of damn near every sentence you write, prescriptive?
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Mar, 2013 06:04 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Who determines which instances are “idiotic” and which are “part of English?”


You can't be anything but an idiot if, after all this time, you don't know that, Frank.

The natural rules of English are determined by the people who use English.

Quote:
Isn’t the structure of your sentence prescriptive?

In fact, isn’t the structure of damn near every sentence you write, prescriptive?


Go ahead and explain that and it'll quickly become apparent that, after all this time, you still do not understand.
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Mar, 2013 06:16 pm
@JTT,
Have you done nothing yet about your chronic assertivitus' dance JT?
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Tue 12 Mar, 2013 08:23 pm
@spendius,
Go ahead and explain Frank's contentions and it'll quickly become apparent that, you too, Spendius, after all this time, do not understand.

Remember, Spendi, you're the guy, by your own reasoning, that lacks a disciplined mind.

fresco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 02:04 am
@JTT,
Quote:
Not when it blows apart the idiotic prescriptions that are not part of English.

Sorry, but that statement is totally simplistic. The social contexts of usage include: military conquest and suppression, political dominance, group and gender identity, religious blasphemy, legal verbiage, social courtesy and poetic licence.

Quote:
“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll.

0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  3  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 04:51 am
@JTT,
I don't understand what I don't understand. Only you understand what I don't understand. If you will explain what I don't understand perhaps I might be able to explain what you ask me to explain.

Continually informing me that I don't understand is a species of you admiring yourself in the mirror. It does nothing for me.

Everybody has an undisciplined mind as far as I'm concerned.
0 Replies
 
Ice Demon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 06:28 am
¿ןןǝʍ ƃuıoƃ uǝǝq ʎɐp ɹnoʎ ǝʌɐɥ 'spuǝıɹɟ sƃuıʇǝǝɹƃ
Frank Apisa
 
  3  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 06:39 am
@Ice Demon,
I don't think we will ever hear JTT say something like:

"When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?"

He decides which instances are “idiotic” and which are “part of English"...and then comes on line to tell us what we should or should not be using.

Hey...his posts are great for laughs.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 06:41 am
@Ice Demon,
It will be better shortly Ayedee when I get my chompers stuck into the bacon and eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and fried bread I can smell being prepared.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 10:48 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
I don't think we will ever hear JTT say something like:

"When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?"

He decides which instances are “idiotic” and which are “part of English"...and then comes on line to tell us what we should or should not be using.


Continue, Frank.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 11:36 am
@JTT,


Quote:
Continue, Frank.


Frank....ly?????
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 11:45 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
I don't think we will ever hear JTT say something like:

"When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?"

He decides which instances are “idiotic” and which are “part of English"...and then comes on line to tell us what we should or should not be using.


Continue with this line of thought, Frank. You seem to be trying to make a point. What is it that you are trying to say?
Frank Apisa
 
  3  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 12:11 pm
@JTT,

Quote:
Quote:
Re: Frank Apisa (Post 5277551)
Quote:
I don't think we will ever hear JTT say something like:

"When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?"

He decides which instances are “idiotic” and which are “part of English"...and then comes on line to tell us what we should or should not be using.


Continue with this line of thought, Frank. You seem to be trying to make a point. What is it that you are trying to say?




Yoda, the author of the quote, would say, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

I am not “trying to say” anything, JTT…I am saying it.

You construct your sentences, JTT, based on prescriptive methodology. Aside from the time factor, the reason you would not say, "When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?"

You would say a variation on, “When you get to be (my age) you will not look so good.”

Why would that be?

The answer to that question will answer your question to me.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 12:19 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
I am not “trying to say” anything, JTT…I am saying it.


Actually, you didn't say it until your next sentence, below. But it's hardly time to quibble over your prevarications, Frank.

Quote:
You construct your sentences, JTT, based on prescriptive methodology.


I was almost certain that was what you were trying to get out, Frank.

How could I, or any native speaker for that matter, construct sentences following "prescriptive methodology"?
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 01:38 pm
@JTT,
Quote:
Quote:
Re: Frank Apisa (Post 5277574)
Quote:
I am not “trying to say” anything, JTT…I am saying it.



Actually, you didn't say it until your next sentence, below. But it's hardly time to quibble over your prevarications, Frank.


Actually, I did, but I understand your need to call people liars. I do not dislike you for it...I pity you.

Quote:

Quote:
Quote:
You construct your sentences, JTT, based on prescriptive methodology.


I was almost certain that was what you were trying to get out, Frank.

How could I, or any native speaker for that matter, construct sentences following "prescriptive methodology"?


Think about it...it will eventually come to you. But I doubt you will be able to acknowledge it.
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 01:59 pm
@JTT,
Whatever you say about prescriptivism, JT. it is undeniable that it provides society with some sense of civilisation and it is the only standard which can resist the vulgarity of commercialism and the street and thus maintain a semblance of balance.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 02:03 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Actually, I did, but I understand your need to call people liars.


I have no such need, Frank. I just call people out on their lies. You tried to make a pretense that you were being forthright and honest. Your reply in this post also illustrates that you are nowhere near that.


Quote:
Think about it...it will eventually come to you. But I doubt you will be able to acknowledge it.


This,

You construct your sentences, JTT, based on prescriptive methodology.


was your assertion, Frank. I can't understand how a top of the grammar/ vocabulary/English class guy like you can't even explain simple things about language.

 

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