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  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default What are the arguments ????

    What are the arguments that prescriptive and descriptive linguistists use to justify their positions?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Prescriptivists believe that language is governed by rules and they know what they are.

    Descriptivists believe that what people say is correct, so do not try to judge what is right and wrong- if something is used, then it is correct.

  3. #3
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What are the arguments ????

    How can a descriptivist ESL teacher teach that one thing is better than another? If a student wants to learn what the rules are, what does he tell that student--that there are no rules?

    :wink:

  4. #4
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: What are the arguments ????

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    How can a descriptivist ESL teacher teach that one thing is better than another? If a student wants to learn what the rules are, what does he tell that student--that there are no rules?

    :wink:
    As we know, some do.
    Red5
    Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the arguments ????

    Quote Originally Posted by Red5
    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    How can a descriptivist ESL teacher teach that one thing is better than another? If a student wants to learn what the rules are, what does he tell that student--that there are no rules?

    :wink:
    As we know, some do.
    In any case, if you want to speak English you must use English grammar. In practice, no descriptivist will give his okay to just anything. For example, I daresay that nobody would say that "Me rode the bus" is correct English.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    A descriptivist would accept that more than one form might be right. An example is the use of 'If I was', which was regarded by prescriptivists as wrong, despite the fact that the majority of native speakers use it. Descriptivists would say that both forms are used, so they are both correct.

  7. #7
    Will Guest

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    How is "If I was," wrong? Couldn't you say "If I was at the movie theater, obviously I saw a movie." Wouldn't that be correct?

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will
    How is "If I was," wrong?
    It isn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will
    Couldn't you say "If I was at the movie theater, obviously I saw a movie." Wouldn't that be correct?
    But you could go to a movie theater without seeing a movie,

    :wink:

  9. #9
    Will Guest

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    Then why did tdol say 'If I was' was regarded as wrong by prescriptivists.

    P.S.: In all likelyhood, if you went to the movie theater, you saw a movie.

  10. #10
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will
    Then why did tdol say 'If I was' was regarded as wrong by prescriptivists.
    But I don't agree with them. :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by Will
    P.S.: In all likelyhood, if you went to the movie theater, you saw a movie.
    True.

    :wink:

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