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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:38 pm 
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acr wrote:
but if you believe that a standard does and should exist, however mutable it might be, i don't see how you could refuse to concede that deviations from the current standard are, at least for the moment, incorrect.


I refuse to concede that. I believe that deviations from the current standard are nonstandard, not incorrect.

The people upholding the standard—the (ahem) standard bearers*—don't get to decide what is and what isn't English, their claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

*on a roll today!

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:44 pm 
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it's all english! all right, fine, can we go with "strongly preferred" instead of "correct"? as a copy editor, this is probably one of the most stressful debates i've ever engaged in.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:53 pm 
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Gah, apparently I can't use the edit function: What I meant to say is, I largely agree with mumbles. Language changes and that's ok. An evolving language does not preclude teaching standard rules. I would question how standard the rules really are, though. I studied journalism and learned AP style. I don't wring my hands in confusion when I read something that uses slightly different MLA or APA or whatever style.
Also, I think we all agree that different scenarios call for different language use. Heck, some of the propper English boosters here have made grammar/punctuation errors. Not because they're ignorant, but because this is a informal forum on the internet.


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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:56 pm 
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acr wrote:
it's all english! all right, fine, can we go with "strongly preferred" instead of "correct"? as a copy editor, this is probably one of the most stressful debates i've ever engaged in.


I'm an editor, too, and I love this argument.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:05 pm 
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i'm going back and forth with the love, but i keep getting hung up on the idea that if no grammar is correct or incorrect, my work is a caucus race.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:10 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
acr wrote:
it's all english! all right, fine, can we go with "strongly preferred" instead of "correct"? as a copy editor, this is probably one of the most stressful debates i've ever engaged in.


I'm an editor, too, and I love this argument.

Yeah, I think this is an argument only language nerds can love. Even if some language nerds really want to destroy the purity of the whole forking language.


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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:23 pm 
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acr wrote:
but if you believe that a standard does and should exist, however mutable it might be, i don't see how you could refuse to concede that deviations from the current standard are, at least for the moment, incorrect.

Not only is the standard not eternal, it's also not universal. My employer only gets to dictate whether I wear a tie or not while I'm at work. There isn't even a single standard to work with--how do we resolve disputes between the arbitrary authorities of the MLA and the Chicago Manual of Style? Most of the time, we're pulling this stuff out of thin air, trying to guess whether our interlocutors will call us out for saying "ten items or less".

So in limited contexts, I will concede that it's incorrect, even if I'd prefer to avoid the word (it's all too easy to equivocate on a word that means both "failing to conform to prescribed behaviors" and "wrong"). Outside of those contexts, it's no more incorrect than it is to eat salad with an oyster fork in my underwear while watching TV.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:28 pm 
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[quote="just mumbles it's no more incorrect than it is to eat salad with an oyster fork in my underwear while watching TV.[/quote]

Is anything?


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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:30 pm 
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acr wrote:
i'm going back and forth with the love, but i keep getting hung up on the idea that if no grammar is correct or incorrect, my work is a caucus race.

Isn't your job really to make sure that a text is clear and understandable? Largely by making sure that it's consistent within itself and within its genre? That takes skills beyond memorization of a style or grammar guide.


Last edited by mollyjade on Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:32 pm 
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I hate this shiitake and I hate these kind of threads. I don't know from language or grammar or whatnot. The only time I ever learned what a noun/verb/adjective was was in French class. Do not ask me what an adverb is because I couldn't tell you to save myself and i'd get in an awwfy fankle just thinking about it. This baws about having to have 'correct' grammar in job interviews or whatever is ridic to me. Chattin'! Chattin' is good and does not have to conform to some bullshittery rules. Maybe Americaland is different in that regard. I do not know. Mind you, I don't understand 'resumes' either, so eh...

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:36 pm 
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just mumbles wrote:
So in limited contexts, I will concede that it's incorrect, even if I'd prefer to avoid the word (it's all too easy to equivocate on a word that means both "failing to conform to prescribed behaviors" and "wrong"). Outside of those contexts, it's no more incorrect than it is to eat salad with an oyster fork in my underwear while watching TV.


i accept this. i am great with this. [returns to field]

swin·gle n. the swipple of a flail

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:52 pm 
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acr wrote:
i'm going back and forth with the love, but i keep getting hung up on the idea that if no grammar is correct or incorrect, my work is a caucus race.


You could just use grammar the way we linguists do, even though I'm not actually a linguist:

A grammar can be thought of as a machine that produces natural language. It's not about correct vs. incorrect, or standard vs. nonstandard. It's more about actual vs. not actual.

There is no actual grammar of English that produces "Me see I in mirror." That sentence is ungrammatical because it doesn't conform to any actually occurring system of English, not because it offends the language experts or standard bearers.

No, this is not what grammar means in most contexts. But linguists are, as a rule, not especially interested in maintaining or conforming to "standards."

Linguists are free-wheeling, baby, concerned with what is, dig? And not with what ought to be.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:59 pm 
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rrrrrrowwwwww... Linguists are hawttt!!!
Also good copyeditors are far more than walking stylebooks. They're also walking encyclopedias! (I kid. I love good copyeditors.)


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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:35 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
I hate this shiitake and I hate these kind of threads. I don't know from language or grammar or whatnot. The only time I ever learned what a noun/verb/adjective was was in French class. Do not ask me what an adverb is because I couldn't tell you to save myself and i'd get in an awwfy fankle just thinking about it. This baws about having to have 'correct' grammar in job interviews or whatever is ridic to me. Chattin'! Chattin' is good and does not have to conform to some bullshittery rules. Maybe Americaland is different in that regard. I do not know. Mind you, I don't understand 'resumes' either, so eh...

Your point of view is particularly interesting given the history of language in Scotland. Wasn't the shift to the standard English of England part of a shift away from encouraging "Scottishness?"

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:36 pm 
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just mumbles wrote:
it's no more incorrect than it is to eat salad with an oyster fork in my underwear while watching TV.


Pics?

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:50 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
The fork are two independent clauses? Or clauses, even? I'm not even being silly on purpose. I have no clue. Apparently Scottish education fell by the wayside post-Enlightenment. And there's me with an English Lit degree.

Nah, I'm the same way. English lit degree and would have to google if someone ever asked me what a preposition is. Discuss the major themes in Hamlet I can do, but I just zoned out during discussions of rules of grammar and punctuation and such because I"M A REBEL, YO. No, it was because it bored me. I never had an English teacher complain, either. English was always my ace in the hole school-wise. I used to be lost about punctuation even up to post high school until my pre-university course English teacher said: "punctuation is simply how something would be said were it to be said aloud," and for some reason, all the lessons I zoned out on no longer mattered because it all slipped into place for me there and I pretty much grasped punctuation and where to put a comma and such from that day on. Oh, and my job as a transcriptionist, where I listen to different voices of different nationalities all day every day speaking aloud, that really helped me "more properly" punctuate so at least the people I work for and my professors at school were satisfied. I just go strictly by my ear when it comes to grammar and punctuation. An ear that has endured YEARSANDYEARSANDYEARSANDYEARS of reading, proofreading and listening all manner of text, all styles of text presented in many styles of authorship with differing grasps of the English language and whatnot.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
interrobang?! wrote:
I hate this shiitake and I hate these kind of threads. I don't know from language or grammar or whatnot. The only time I ever learned what a noun/verb/adjective was was in French class. Do not ask me what an adverb is because I couldn't tell you to save myself and i'd get in an awwfy fankle just thinking about it. This baws about having to have 'correct' grammar in job interviews or whatever is ridic to me. Chattin'! Chattin' is good and does not have to conform to some bullshittery rules. Maybe Americaland is different in that regard. I do not know. Mind you, I don't understand 'resumes' either, so eh...

Your point of view is particularly interesting given the history of language in Scotland. Wasn't the shift to the standard English of England part of a shift away from encouraging "Scottishness?"

They didn't teach any grammar when I went to primary school in England either. My first exposure to any sort of formal instruction came from the textbooks my parents used to teach me how to write German at home.


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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:33 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
Do not ask me what an adverb is because I couldn't tell you to save myself and i'd get in an awwfy fankle just thinking about it.

Adverbs aren't even a thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:40 pm 
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nor's a fankle

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:06 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
interrobang?! wrote:
The fork are two independent clauses? Or clauses, even? I'm not even being silly on purpose. I have no clue. Apparently Scottish education fell by the wayside post-Enlightenment. And there's me with an English Lit degree.

Nah, I'm the same way. English lit degree and would have to google if someone ever asked me what a preposition is. Discuss the major themes in Hamlet I can do, but I just zoned out during discussions of rules of grammar and punctuation and such because I"M A REBEL, YO. No, it was because it bored me. I never had an English teacher complain, either. English was always my ace in the hole school-wise. I used to be lost about punctuation even up to post high school until my pre-university course English teacher said: "punctuation is simply how something would be said were it to be said aloud," and for some reason, all the lessons I zoned out on no longer mattered because it all slipped into place for me there and I pretty much grasped punctuation and where to put a comma and such from that day on. Oh, and my job as a transcriptionist, where I listen to different voices of different nationalities all day every day speaking aloud, that really helped me "more properly" punctuate so at least the people I work for and my professors at school were satisfied. I just go strictly by my ear when it comes to grammar and punctuation. An ear that has endured YEARSANDYEARSANDYEARSANDYEARS of reading, proofreading and listening all manner of text, all styles of text presented in many styles of authorship with differing grasps of the English language and whatnot.

Me too. I have two creative writing degrees, and the most illuminating education about grammar came from my ESL-teaching three week course, as well as being forced into editing at a magazine job. I have gained a high respect for people who have an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules of language, but I have respect for anyone who has encyclopedic knowledge of anything. However I really hope that a less-than-average grasp of grammar never disuades anyone from writing. The most brilliant people who have amazing things to say often have trouble with grammar/syntax/punctuation. That's why editors exist.

*there are grammatical errors in this post.


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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:13 pm 
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Let's also not forget that—regardless of status, register, dialect, etc.—what we're talking about, in some cases at least, is having a conscious, formal knowledge of language forms and terminology. Competent speakers of all kinds possess a wealth of language knowledge, but for many of us it's just not conscious knowledge. You all know about dependent clauses and adverbs and the genitive case—and syllable structure and distinctive features—you just don't have access to that knowledge. But if you didn't grasp that stuff "intuitively," you couldn't understand and produce speech.

You might not know the terms, but you grasp the concept, even if you're not aware of that.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:25 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
Let's also not forget that—regardless of status, register, dialect, etc.—what we're talking about, in some cases at least, is having a conscious, formal knowledge of language forms and terminology. Competent speakers of all kinds possess a wealth of language knowledge, but for many of us it's just not conscious knowledge. You all know about dependent clauses and adverbs and the genitive case—and syllable structure and distinctive features—you just don't have access to that knowledge. But if you didn't grasp that stuff "intuitively," you couldn't understand and produce speech.

You might know the terms, but you grasp the concept, even if you're not aware of that.
Exactly. And that knowledge, whether "intuitive" or conscious, enables people to speak and write in ways that are not only clear and comprehensible, but even elegant, incisive, persuasive, and a whole range of other good stuff that does not factor into a sentence like "Me like pizza." While the latter is arguable effective as communication (we know that the speaker likes pizza), you wouldn't give it points for nuance, style, or eloquence. And if some people don't care about those things, that's fair enough; but for those of us who do, they are an important and pleasurable part of human discourse.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:28 pm 
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I was saying that all speakers of natural language have (at least) an intuitive knowledge of a great many complex linguistic principles. I also think people can speak effectively, with style, grace, wit, and nuance, regardless of what language or language variety they speak. Or, well, if they can't, it's not because of their dialect.

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:29 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
I was saying that all speakers of natural language have (at least) an intuitive knowledge of a great many complex linguistic principles. I also think people can speak effectively, with style, grace, wit, and nuance, regardless of what language or language variety they speak. Or, well, if they can't, it's not because of their dialect.
I completely agree. (Stop trying to fight with me, you contrarian blackguard!)

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 Post subject: Re: Grammar and a Culture of Ignorance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Too late! I'm in the groove!

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