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Writin’ Don’t Mean No Thing December 26, 2018

Posted by geoff in News.

If you’ve ever wondered why discourse is devolving, or why progressives seem completely uninhibited in redefining words and discarding english, you should read this article:

It all starts with the “Usage Wars,” a somewhat arcane but fiercely political battle over the English language that’s been raging for decades. …

In one corner are the conservative Prescriptivists, who believe that the English language is a tool, and as such, can be used in a variety of contexts both more and less effectively.

At this point, we must take stock of those who oppose the aforementioned brands of Prescriptivism: the liberal Descriptivists.

…the Descriptivists’ primary belief is that correct usage is determined by the way human beings use the language. In short, it’s unacceptable to correct an errant phrase, as long as it is uttered by a native speaker. By implication, any form of Standard Written English would be impossible to attain.

I hadn’t known there was a formal opposition to Standard Written English, and I’m stunned to find that balkanization of our writing (which naturally influences our speaking) is considered desirable by, well, anybody who values communication and the art of writing.

How, you may ask, could this philosophy be perpetuated in our schools and society?

…such a philosophy can only endure for decades if its proponents wield a potentially career-ending weapon. Banishing rival pedagogies from an English classroom is relatively easy once your case includes accusations of Prescriptivist elitism, especially when some of its adherents seem to actively embrace the snobbiest stereotypes.

The race & class cards, weaponized.



1. jam2 - December 27, 2018

I didn’t realize descriptivism was a thing. It explains some conversations I’ve had in the last couple of years. I honestly thought I was dealing with ppl of limited intelligence. If words can’t / don’t have set values then debate is dead.

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