Actually, I have much less problem with ENLs being taught traditional/prescriptive grammar because they never heed it anyway. But don't conclude from that that I believe it makes sense to teach nonsense.
Prescriptivism is kind of a running joke with serious language scientists. Surely you remember Professor Nunberg's description of prescription;
[added emphasis is mine]
Most of my fellow linguists, in fact, would say that it is absurd even to talk about a language changing for the better or the worse. When you have the historical picture before you, and can see how Indo-European gradually slipped into Germanic, Germanic into Anglo-Saxon, and Anglo-Saxon into the English of Chaucer, then Shakespeare, and then Henry James, the process of linguistic change seems as ineluctable and impersonal as continental drift. From this Olympian point of view, not even the Norman invasion had much of an effect on the structure of the language, and all the tirades of all the grammarians since the Renaissance sound like the prattlings of landscape gardeners who hope by frantic efforts to keep Alaska from bumping into Asia.
It's when ESLs are taught prescriptive grammar that the problems arise. They do listen and as a result they are seriously affected in their language comprehension and use.
Last edited by riverkid; 17-Feb-2007 at 20:08.