Grammar and privilege

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Grammar and privilege Empty Grammar and privilege

Post by Ben Reilly on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 18:59

Thought this was really interesting -- one of those things that you understand but never quite would have put this way:

It is indeed important to learn the accepted linguistic conventions of the standard dialect for reasons of communication, clarity and even persuasive style. But it happens to be a historically privileged dialect through no innate merit of its own and is not inherently linguistically better than other, non-standard dialects of English. Even if you don’t buy this linguistic fact, like all dialects, even ones you may perceive to be ungrammatical, there are rules which reflect how speakers actually use the language. These rules are not formed by some invisible authority on high, never to be questioned, ever.

These are “the modern truths about language: language changes constantly; change is normal; spoken language is the language; correctness rests upon usage; all usage is relative.” Ultimately native speakers are the ones who decide what is standard language, based on their own accepted use. There are conventional styles and discourse registers that are appropriate in some contexts and not others. Most people have a linguistic hobby horse or two (I have a whole stable of them myself) and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that—as long as we acknowledge that often these conventions are subjective and not forever fixed universal rules of language that define a person’s intelligence. In the same way, you may also find skinny jeans problematic as an item of fashion but plenty of people are still definitely wearing them as pants.

Along with existing linguistic conventions that reflect how speakers talk, that may change as the language evolves, it might surprise you to know there are also these so-called ‘make believe grammar’ rules—those rules that do not reflect exactly how the standard dialect is used, yet continue to be taught some hundreds of years after their invention.

What of those grammar rules that were entirely dreamt up in an age of moral prescriptivism, reflecting nothing of historical or literary usage, to encourage the poor English language to be more like an entirely different (and entirely dead) language, namely Latin? Wait, which rules are those? It seems pretty crazy but the popular grammar rules familiar to most of us may in fact be completely fake and have no basis in linguistic reality. The English language didn’t change to make those rules obsolete, they were simply fictional from the start.

http://daily.jstor.org/grammar-rule-is-probably-fake/


Last edited by Ben_Reilly on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 23:07; edited 1 time in total

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Grammar and privilege Empty Re: Grammar and privilege

Post by eddie on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 19:52

Keep talking. Keep writing. Keep language alive!

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Grammar and privilege Empty Re: Grammar and privilege

Post by Vintage on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 20:01

Grammar rules makes it easier to spell etc but I expect that's not important either.
Dialects are great but everyone should know how to speak clearly to people who don't share their dialect, how to construct an intelligble sentence and spell.
I spend a lot of time speaking to people face to face and on the phone and sometimes I haven't a clue what they are trying to say, there's a lot of 'innit', ' like', 'yeh' 'fanks' etc between the mumbles.

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Post by Tommy Monk on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 20:10

There's an interesting phone in debate about words, language and grammar on radio 5 live sometimes in The early hours...

'The grammar phone in' I think it's called.



Not listened to it for a while because I'm working days at the moment and have to be asleep way before it comes on... don't know what the time difference is for you Ben, but think it's on at about 2-00am here so you may be able to tune in at more sensible USA time.

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Grammar and privilege Empty Re: Grammar and privilege

Post by Ben Reilly on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 21:28

I think that would mean it comes on at 8 a.m. here, which for most Americans would work -- but I generally don't get up until after 10 Sleep Sleep Sleep

@Vintage -- I see what you're saying, I think the article just means that non-standard dialects have their own versions of proper and improper grammar, so someone who grew up speaking, say, Cockney might think they were wrong not to say innit, like, fanks, etc. Smile

I have this weird thing where I feel I have more in common with someone who speaks like me than someone who looks like me.

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Grammar and privilege Empty Re: Grammar and privilege

Post by eddie on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 22:54

Ben_Reilly wrote:I think that would mean it comes on at 8 a.m. here, which for most Americans would work -- but I generally don't get up until after 10 Sleep Sleep Sleep

@Vintage -- I see what you're saying, I think the article just means that non-standard dialects have their own versions of proper and improper grammar, so someone who grew up speaking, say, Cockney might think they were wrong not to say innit, like, fanks, etc. Smile

I have this weird thing where I feel I have more in common with someone who speaks like me than someone who looks like me.

Me too. Never thought about that but I guess that's true! And I'm not talking accents either.
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Grammar and privilege Empty Re: Grammar and privilege

Post by Ben Reilly on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 22:58

eddie wrote:
Ben_Reilly wrote:I think that would mean it comes on at 8 a.m. here, which for most Americans would work -- but I generally don't get up until after 10 Sleep Sleep Sleep

@Vintage -- I see what you're saying, I think the article just means that non-standard dialects have their own versions of proper and improper grammar, so someone who grew up speaking, say, Cockney might think they were wrong not to say innit, like, fanks, etc. Smile

I have this weird thing where I feel I have more in common with someone who speaks like me than someone who looks like me.

Me too. Never thought about that but I guess that's true! And I'm not talking accents either.

Yeah! I think it's that your experiences, personality, interests, whatever, influence your vocabulary, so you almost instinctively sense a fellow traveler Smile

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Post by Raggamuffin on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 23:01

I don't understand this thread, but I wish someone would take that "d" out of "privilege". Laughing

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Grammar and privilege Empty Re: Grammar and privilege

Post by Ben Reilly on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 23:06

Raggamuffin wrote:I don't understand this thread, but I wish someone would take that "d" out of "privilege". Laughing

cheers cheers cheers cheers wat a prefect commeant ...

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Grammar and privilege Empty Re: Grammar and privilege

Post by Raggamuffin on Wed 19 Aug 2015 - 23:17

Ben_Reilly wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:I don't understand this thread, but I wish someone would take that "d" out of "privilege". Laughing

cheers cheers cheers cheers wat a prefect commeant ...

Grammar and privilege 2681620681

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Grammar and privilege Empty Re: Grammar and privilege

Post by veya_victaous on Wed 26 Aug 2015 - 0:26

Grammar and privilege RViBSM0

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