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    #1

    Grammar Bullying

    What is the best way to deal with Grammar "Bullies"? (Of course, the easy answer is to learn the rules)

    Whilst I agree people should try and speak properly, I do object to pedantic interruptions more often than not designed to provide the interruptor with a sense of oneupmanship and sophistication. Although people argue class boundaries have broken down, I do feel linguistic discrimination is still rife.

    Practical advice welcome.

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    #2

    Re: Grammar Bullying

    Quote Originally Posted by BARMING View Post
    I do feel linguistic discrimination is still rife.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Barming:

    I agree with you: people do, indeed, often judge you by your language.

    I have read, for example, that in England (before World War II), a police officer could tell what class a citizen belonged to as soon as that citizen opened his or her mouth. The cop would then treat that citizen accordingly.

    As you know, here in the States, there will be a presidential election in 2016. I do not know who will win (although I have an idea!), but I do know that no candidate who uses "don't" when she or he should use "doesn't" would have a chance of winning. *

    And probably any candidate who said something like "Me and my wife are delighted to be here" would never get elected, either.

    In a social setting, you are right: I have no right to correct someone's grammar -- especially in public.

    But in private, that's another thing.

    I think that a good friend who is interested in your welfare should, in fact, gently point out certain mistakes.

    In the early 1960's, when I was young, I would often say something like "Oh, he has already went to work." Someone gently and kindly reminded me that I should use the past participle "gone." I have noticed that quite a few people make the same mistake.

    People should definitely not nitpick. And not in public. I guess that the only tactic to use against such people is to ignore them and keep your distance from them.

    But I think that you should welcome sincere advice given in private.

    It may not be fair, but we all judge people by how they dress and how they speak.


    James


    * We once had a president named Woodrow Wilson (World War I). I have read that in private, he regularly said something like "She don't like me" instead of "She doesn't like me." But in public, he remembered to use "doesn't." According to many books, many educated American and British people in the 19th century regularly used "don't" in such sentences until English teachers were able to stamp out that practice.
    Last edited by TheParser; 04-Feb-2015 at 15:16.

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    #3

    Re: Grammar Bullying

    Thank you for the effort you put into your reply. Regarding your comment on English policemen, I think they carried on with that practise long after WW2, perhaps up until the 1990's. In certain circles the class war still goes on to this day and the gap between those who speak well and badly is growing wider.

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    #4

    Re: Grammar Bullying

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    It may not be fair, but we all judge people by how they dress and how they speak.
    And speech is arguably of greater importance, at least in the English-speaking community. I have witnessed quite a few cases when people failing to immeditely place the speaker according to his or her accent had to go with a surprisingly straightforward 'Where are you from?' question. There was also a subtle change in attitudes after the question was answered. Funnily enough, that evoked certain scenes from Bernard Shaw's comic Pygmalion. However, in terms of English learning, linguistic discrimination looks highly motivating because good language skills can obviously provide social benefits as well.

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