What are the arguments ????

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

Tdol

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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. ;-)
 

RonBee

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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:
 

Red5

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RonBee said:
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. :roll:
 

RonBee

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Red5 said:
RonBee said:
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. :roll:

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.
 

Tdol

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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. ;-)
 
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Will

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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?
 

RonBee

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Will said:
How is "If I was," wrong?

It isn't.

Will said:
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:
 
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Will

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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.
 

RonBee

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

But I don't agree with them. :wink:

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

True.

:wink:
 

Lib

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I think Tdol was referring to the use of 'if I was' in a conditional sentence. Prescriptivists would probably say that the correct use is 'if I were': If I were you, I wouldn't do that.
Descriptivists would accept the use of 'if I was' in that context.
 

Tdol

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Will said:
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.
I was referring to the second conditional use, where prescriptivists often favout the use of the past subjunctive:
If I were you, I'd take it back to the library. ;-)
 
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Will

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Ah, so I see. And with that definition, I guess that'd make me a prescriptivist because I think the rules are there for reason - to be followed.
 

dduck

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RonBee said:
For example, I daresay that nobody would say that "Me rode the bus" is correct English.

I do believe that descriptionists consider the language used by the American slaves to be a form of English, as too the street English used by US gan'sters and rappers. I believe the argument is that the isn't one acceptable form of English, but many.

Iain
 

Tdol

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It is. The argument gets heated when it concerns teaching these forms. I favour description, as far as possible, as a source of rules, but favour teaching fairly standard English. ;-)
 
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Will

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In regard to the language used by gangstas and rappers, I think what you're looking for is ebonics. It's completely incomprehnesaible, yet I hear it all the time. I don't think that ebonics, even with descriptivists, can be taken seriously. I know I don't take anyone who speaks ebonics seriously, though I don't really talk to those people at all most of the time. I've got to work on this rambling thing.
 

dduck

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Will said:
In regard to the language used by gangstas and rappers, I think what you're looking for is ebonics. It's completely incomprehnesaible, yet I hear it all the time. I don't think that ebonics, even with descriptivists, can be taken seriously.

Center for Applied Linguistics said:
a. The variety known as "Ebonics," "African American Vernacular English" (AAVE), and "Vernacular Black English" and by other names is systematic and rule-governed like all natural speech varieties. In fact, all human linguistic systems--spoken, signed, and written--are fundamentally regular. The systematic and expressive nature of the grammar and pronunciation patterns of the African American vernacular has been established by numerous scientific studies over the past thirty years.Characterizations of Ebonics as "slang," "mutant,""lazy," "defective," "ungrammatical," or"broken English" are incorrect and demeaning.

Evidence that linguists, whatever the flavour, do indeed take Ebonics, or AAVE seriously. 8)

Iain
 
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Will

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I could care less what linguists say about ebonics, because, if you had to listen to that trite dribble for any length of time, you'd see that all it is is laziness. You're basically saying, "well, this whole proper grammar thing is stupid." I don't take it, ebonics, seriously one bit. The operative word there is "I." So, let's keep in mind, this is all opinion. But, seriously, about ebonics, I really don't care if linguists take it seriously. It's, like I said before, trite dribble. But, God forbid if someone gets offended in this country because they're too darn lazy to remember something useful. Sorry, rambling again.
 

Tdol

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While I recognise variations of English as acceptable, when something becomes incomprehensible to the wider speech community, it is not going to help its speakers greatly.
 
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