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Posted: 13 March 2013 02:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I wondered about that myself. It conjures up an image of traditionalists arming themselves to the teeth and storming descriptivist strongholds overnight. Les descriptos à la lanterne!

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Posted: 13 March 2013 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Richard - 12 March 2013 08:26 PM

do you truthfully think that these rules are deleterious to discourse and writing. I don’t think so.

They can be.  Strict adherence to the one about splitting infinitives can lead to being unable to say what you mean and either requiring or forbidding the Oxford comma can lead to ambiguity.  Also, it’s quite possible to follow all these rules and still come up with an unreadable mess just as it is possible to violate every one and produce a clear and cogent document.

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Posted: 13 March 2013 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Not ending sentences with prepositions is perhaps the most obvious example of a rule that can lead to tortured and nearly unreadable prose.

And it may well be that most grammars don’t advocate the rules about split infinitives or preposition stranding, but they are taught. Nearly every one of my students this year had been taught not to split infinitives or strand prepositions. The bogus rules are alive and well.

Most of these rules have absolutely nothing to do with good writing. You can ignore them and write elegant prose, and you can follow them and write incomprehensible crap.

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Posted: 13 March 2013 06:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Language does not define itself; we the people define language and set the rules for grammar.

You need to take a linguistics course, or at least read a book on the subject.  Language does not work the way you think it does.

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Posted: 13 March 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Fastidious avoidance of terminal preposition can be an engaging and above all inexpensive passtime.

From Beavis and Butt-Head Do America:

Agent Bork: “You know that guy in whose camper they… I mean, that guy off in whose camper they were whacking? “

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Posted: 14 March 2013 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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To Faldage, Wilton, Languagehat, et.al.

I have a sense of déjà vu. I am simply articulating an opinion, (am I not entitled to it?) and I am fully aware of the consequences; a barrage of supercilious invective from everyone on this blog, because I oppose what is implied to be axiomatic, but is essentially a postulation.  By the way, I agree that many of these grammar rules can be dismissed, as they have, but I can’t imagine that a person who adheres to them would offend anyone.

Mr.Wilton, I understand that most of these rules have nothing to do with good writing. W. Shakespeare, Faulkner, Joyce, ad infinitum, followed a non-linear approach to grammatical rules. However, in expository writing they adhered more to traditional grammar.  Creative writing, (fiction), as elegant as it can be, cannot be used as a representation on proper grammatical usage. 
My argument is not concentrated on these “bogus rules”; my argument is that not all of these rules are bogus and that if we initiate an opposition, and disregard and eventually an elimination of these rules it might lead us to a very steep and slippery path to ambiguity.

Mr.languagehat, presumptuousness is not a virtue; I have read a few books on linguistics and I don’t agree entirely with their position on grammar.

My statement, “ Language does not define itself, we the people define language and set the rules for grammar.” is quite accurate and factual. Perhaps it is you who needs a course in grammar and analytical thinking; unless you can produce evidence that language is a separate entity and evolves without human guidance.
Humans manipulate language, we redefine and invent new words and structure the way we speak and write. Grammar is part of that structure. It is interesting that orthographical and orthological change in vocabulary is predominately based on misusage. As a misused word becomes prevalent over time, lexicologists eventually countenance the misusage and then seem compelled to enter them into dictionaries.

I have to assume that all of you will counter my position, but please without the sarcasm; allow me the illusion of not having irritated any of you.

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Posted: 14 March 2013 01:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Unfortunately I’m still not sure what the “ramifications” and “dire consequences” referred to in your earlier post are.

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Posted: 14 March 2013 05:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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The post title has become ironic…

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Posted: 14 March 2013 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Why is it that those who most vehemently defend “proper” standards of English on the internet are really bad, if not incompetent, writers? We all make mistakes and phrase things poorly on occasion, but those who most staunchly defend irrational prescriptivism reach new depths of poor writing. If it were just one person, I might chalk it up to trolling, a deliberate attempt at irony, but the phenomenon is too pervasive for that.

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Posted: 14 March 2013 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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As a misused word becomes prevalent over time, lexicologists eventually countenance the misusage and then seem compelled to enter them into dictionaries.

Since words have no intrinsic meanings, “misuse” is a relative term. If most of society is using a word to mean one thing today and another thing tomorrow than that’s the way it is and we, the people, as a society determine the meaning of words, not lexicologists; their place is to follow, not to lead.

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Posted: 14 March 2013 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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we, the people, as a society determine the meaning of words

I think this was pretty much what Richard was intending to say. He may not have said it very clearly, but I don’t think it was necessary to come down on him like a ton of bricks. Truculent responses are not an encouragement to neophyte posters: we’ll end up with a site populated entirely by old lags bullying each other.

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Posted: 14 March 2013 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Truculent responses are not an encouragement to neophyte posters

In the two threads that Richard posted in, he was the one that initiated the truculent behavior. If he’s not a troll, he’s something very close to one.

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Posted: 14 March 2013 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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To Wilton:

Truculence: Ferociously cruel actions of behavior. Exhibiting violence or destructiveness. How does this apply to me? You are either unfamiliar with the word or you enjoy indulging in hyperbole.

In our last debate approximately two months ago you claimed that I failed to understand what a subordinate clause was, “…while claiming to teach writing at university levle [sic]…” I never made such a claim, nor was I unfamiliar with subordinate clauses.  I responded to your post and asked you where or when did I make such a claim. Your silence spoke a thousand words.

If I’m an incompetent writer Mr. Wilton then why not instruct me on where I err, or perhaps why your position is more rational and logical then mine.  Please note, I don’t enumerate the numerous academic prescriptivists whom you apparently vilify, but where you are not even the shadow of their shadow. 

Is there such a thing as irrational descriptivism, or are only prescriptivists labeled as such? Are descriptivists also incompetent writers or just prescriptivists? Please, edify me. It is blatantly evident that you excoriate only the traditionalists who counter your position with logic, and therefore you resort to ad hominem attacks rather than intellect.
You have your moderators and sycophants who essentially do your dirty work and then occasionally you spew out your venom, like a snake when it’s cornered.

The categorization of a person as a troll seems to be sine quo non amongst descriptivist bloggers when referring to anyone who disagrees or refutes their position.  There is an extensive article on bloggers who accuse people of trolling simply because they disagree or refute their position.

Lionello labels me a neophyte. Why?  What have I articulated in my postings that would categorize me as a neophyte?  What I submitted is based on what I read, and my stance is predicated on what I find to be more logical and persuasive.  He then translates what he thought I was trying to say, as if what I said was completely abstruse. It’s laughable the hubris of you people on this blog. As long as one concurs with your position one can write in Pig Latin and not get a scintilla of criticism, but just one opposing viewpoint and the daggers come out with vengeance. 

I get quite an education by reading all these blogs from pop-up linguists and pop-up grammarians who reiterate their dogmas to their followers. The intellectual deprivation on these blogs is astounding.

Mr.Wilton, you being the administrator of this blog have demonstrated such an immature and unintelligent approach to an opposing viewpoint that I could never take you seriously in any further debate. You fallaciously accused me of claiming to be a writing teacher and when I asked you to submit proof of that claim you spinelessly crawled into the woodwork and abruptly ended the thread to that debate and your cohorts obediently followed your lead.  Your stance is tenuous as is your courage; shame on you.

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Posted: 15 March 2013 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Me in an earlier post:

I’m still not sure what the “ramifications” and “dire consequences” referred to in your earlier post are.

However, I think Richard has now partially answered my question:

His

silence spoke a thousand words.

I now just have to fathom out which thousand words he’s chosen.  I’m spoilt for choice.

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Posted: 15 March 2013 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Dave —I owe you an abject apology.  I am all for tolerance – but there’s a limit.  Richard has persuaded me to agree with you.
Neophyte : a beginner. Anyone who has posted barely a dozen times on this site is a neophyte in my book.  And anyone who thinks we want to spend our time in mutual abuse is welcome to become an ex-neophyte ASAP. I cannot believe that this last shocking torrent of vituperation was produced by a normal person. If you decide to erase the guy, Dave, I’m all in favour. I’m not going to read any more of his posts anyway.

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