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"All of the sudden"....hmmm

You have words - now what do you do with them?

Postby gailr » Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:50 am

Bailey wrote:Well, we have had, from time to time our share of Grammar Nazi's.

Bailey, I've questioned your propensity for that label before. The Nazis tortured and killed those outside of unreasonable and inhuman standards, and it minimizes the horror of their actions to apply that term cavalierly to other people who challenge (or defend) any random position peacefully. When used in contemporary communication, the intent is to cow an opponent into silence. hmmmm.

The alphaAgora has had members who brought real expertise to the table, and provided information based on sound scholarship. Some were more interested in encouraging language discussion than in a joke board, but none were killjoys, and their jokes were excellent.


dsteve54 wrote:Also, as opposed to some websites where people are just about ready to kill each other over some fine grammatical point, this particular website seems to approach things linguistically. It simply seems to be more of an observational bent, rather than a prescriptive bent. And I happen to like that.

dsteve, the active members like it as well. Interesting post, and I'm going to ask, in good humor, for amplification on your definition of "linguistically".

We've had past discussions on whether language has any -[for lack of a better term, let's call them 'rules']- for 'correct' usage or whether it's a free-for-all with Humpty Dumpty rules.* In that regard, I have noted, to much private amusement, that those most eager for a 'first, let's kill all the prescriptivists' approach are quick to denounce deviations from the standard arising in subcultures other than their own.

I liked your observation on the difference between formal and informal language. I suspect, however, that there are a few who conform to some set of language rules, regardless of the setting, just as some conform to social, legal, or religious rules, regardless of circumstances.

If need be, I will be a proud representative of the teeming mongol hordes from the bowels of Kansas.

This made me smile, but I've been through Kansas, dsteve. The parts I saw were certainly desolate enough to inspire madness (similar to parts of my native state in that regard!) but the populations were 'teeming' in neither. Sounds like you belong to the teaming mongrel hordes here, regardless...

-g

* "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."
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Postby Bailey » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:21 am

Ok, then Grammar KGB's, doesn't have the ring, but is accurate as to didactic quality. Much like dictating what someone may or may not use for 'Comic' effect, I refer you to Seinfeld's soup nazi. And no actors were harmed in that filming.

I am awaiting your learned treatises on the correct ways to speak, however, not that the above-mentioned epethet was directed toward anyone in particular, especially since I, myself prefer to leave language in a strict set of immutable rules. :D, In fact I am the prescriptivist who flouts the rules.

mark in-the-vein-of-modern-usage-NO-cows-sacred-or-eatable Bailey

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Postby Perry » Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:21 pm

Regardless of Seinfeld's use of the term, I have to agree with Gail.

Using the term Nazi to refer to a petty issue, by inference makes Nazi atrocities seem insignificant and petty. And when the term is applied in a serious context (e.g. ardent Islamic nationalists labelling acts by Israel as Nazi tactics), the group so described is demonized.
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Postby dsteve54 » Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:37 pm

gailr wrote:

dsteve54 wrote:Also, as opposed to some websites where people are just about ready to kill each other over some fine grammatical point, this particular website seems to approach things linguistically. It simply seems to be more of an observational bent, rather than a prescriptive bent. And I happen to like that.

dsteve, the active members like it as well. Interesting post, and I'm going to ask, in good humor, for amplification on your definition of "linguistically".


If need be, I will be a proud representative of the teeming mongol hordes from the bowels of Kansas.

This made me smile, but I've been through Kansas, dsteve. The parts I saw were certainly desolate enough to inspire madness (similar to parts of my native state in that regard!) but the populations were 'teeming' in neither. Sounds like you belong to the teaming mongrel hordes here, regardless...

-g

* "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."


<<I'm going to ask, in good humor, for amplification on your definition of "linguistically". >>

I only have a short amount of time to respond today. However, since you asked for a followup, I can address a couple points.

You asked what I meant by "linguistically". Well, in that sense, I was using it to mean "in the manner of a linguist". Such a person would merely observe and record language, maybe trying to determine all aspects of grammar, with grammar broadly meaning phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics. They do not make value judgments; they are behaving more like contemporary cultural anthropologists.

Ok, well, I probably COULD have left out that phrase all together, in view of the fact that it makes my following sentence redundant. I was trying to convey the notion of observing phenonmena, not judging it. That is all I was trying to do. So maybe I had an unnecessary construct.

When I post, I try to convey my thoughts without a lot of slicing and dicing. I am writing from stream of consciousness. If I tried to screen everything for absolutely correct aspects of grammar or composition, I would not bother to post. It is simply too constricting for me to "worry". Secondly, I do not even KNOW all aspects of correct grammar in my own English usage. Otherwise, it would obviate the need to ask any question on this forum.

So I will continue to make mistakes in my writing or conveying ideas, but I am not going to worry about it too much.

There are going to be stylistic levels, or registers, in everything we communicate, and we will ebb and flow in and out of them naturally, unless we feel we need to be strictly in any one zone. In any language there will always be a low register (lowest formality), middle register (neutral, much as you learn when taking a course in a second language), and high register (journalistic style, scientific style, academic writing).

For me there is no crime in using any of them, and I will personally run around on this site using any register that comes to mind.

<<...populations were 'teeming' in neither....>>
I was simply using the word 'teeming' for ironic effect.
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Postby Bailey » Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:48 pm

dsteve54 wrote:


If need be, I will be a proud representative of the teeming mongol hordes from the bowels of Kansas.
I missed them whilst in Kansas, but I'm not in Kansas anymore
...
So I will continue to make mistakes in my writing or conveying ideas, but I am not going to worry about it too ...
For me there is no crime in using any of them, and I will personally run around on this site using any register that comes to mind.

Hear hear. I like this guy,

mark beating-a-different-regster Bailey

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Postby gailr » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:58 pm

Bailey wrote:I am awaiting your learned treatises on the correct ways to speak, however, not that the above-mentioned epethet was directed toward anyone in particular, especially since I, myself prefer to leave language in a strict set of immutable rules. :D, In fact I am the prescriptivist who flouts the rules.

If I were qualified to produce learned treatises on the correct ways to speak, I would happily charge for my wisdom. :wink: As this site is for discussing the meanings of words, as well as how and why they are used, any posted here is a candidate for evaluation.

In fact I am the prescriptivist who flouts the rules.
Does that mean, 'do as I say and not as I say?' :D
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Postby gailr » Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:32 pm

dsteve54 wrote:You asked what I meant by "linguistically". Well, in that sense, I was using it to mean "in the manner of a linguist". Such a person would merely observe and record language, maybe trying to determine all aspects of grammar, with grammar broadly meaning phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics. They do not make value judgments; they are behaving more like contemporary cultural anthropologists.
Thanks, dsteve. I asked for clarification because I didn't understand what you intended, and haven't read enough of your posts yet to make an educated guess.


AHD wrote:linguist
NOUN: 1. A person who speaks several languages fluently. 2. A specialist in linguistics.

AHD wrote:linguistics
NOUN: (used with a sing. verb) The study of the nature, structure, and variation of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics.

OK, got it. The Highlander* spin is new to me, but OK... :D

I look forward to more from you regarding language and communication as various threads develop. Is there, in fact, a standard to strive for in the interest of clear communication, or is language so organic that each user creates it for himself, or does a place on that continuum depend on situational speakers and circumstances? I'm not pinning you down for a reply here; I think that question is at the bottom of most discussions about grammar, spelling, syntax, even pronunciation.


If I tried to screen everything for absolutely correct aspects of grammar or composition, I would not bother to post. It is simply too constricting for me to "worry". Secondly, I do not even KNOW all aspects of correct grammar in my own English usage. Otherwise, it would obviate the need to ask any question on this forum.

So I will continue to make mistakes in my writing or conveying ideas, but I am not going to worry about it too much.
You have come to the write/right place, my friend. We generally gloss over colloquialisms and typos, unless they are really funny. [e.g.: Zaphod Beebleborx...cough] Then, everyone gets to enjoy them!

-gailr


*Observe and record, but never interfere.
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Postby Bailey » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:29 pm

In fact I am the prescriptivist who flouts the rules.
Does that mean, 'do as I say and not as I say?'


no; more like I really hate the new words/rules etc, but I'll use them anyway.

mark don't-I-sound-stupid-wif-ma-silly-rules? Bailey

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Postby Stargzer » Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:56 pm

gailr wrote: ...
In fact I am the prescriptivist who flouts the rules.
Does that mean, 'do as I say and not as I say?' :D


I think that would be "Do as I say and not as I speak!"
Regards//Larry

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