Author Topic: Grammar Questions and Observations  (Read 1262 times)

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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2019, 10:33:11 PM »
Sometimes, when I'm in an informal conversation and "whom" is the appropriate word, I'll use "who" rather than sound like that guy.

Me n you both.
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Online brilligtove

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2019, 01:34:18 AM »
Anyone listen to Lexicon Valley? Or McWorter's Great Courses series? He has a whole thing on grammar rules that are not intuitive. IIR it almost always means they were imposed by someone based on some logic or rationale that is simplistic or misapplied.

Those rules may become standard for the language - proper use! - but they tend to violate a more subtle or more general linguistic rule for humans.
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2019, 10:36:04 AM »
Anyone listen to Lexicon Valley? Or McWorter's Great Courses series? He has a whole thing on grammar rules that are not intuitive. IIR it almost always means they were imposed by someone based on some logic or rationale that is simplistic or misapplied.

Those rules may become standard for the language - proper use! - but they tend to violate a more subtle or more general linguistic rule for humans.

Could you give an example of this phenomenon?
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Online Ah.hell

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2019, 10:40:59 AM »
Among my numerous abuses I tend to screw up She and I and She and me but its almost always by using I where I should use me.

If it could be replaced with “we”, it’s ‘she and I’; otherwise it’s ‘her and me’.  It is never ‘she and me.’

Or you could just use we/us.
I'm struggling not to be snarking.  I know the difference, its just reflex to use "I".  This is really my problem with most grammar nazi's.  They assume folks don't know the correct usage when in most cases its thoughtlessness rather than ignorance driving the mistakes. 

Also, there's an easier way to figure it out.  Drop the other person.  Would you use I or me?  I just generally don't take the time to do that.

This reminds of the folks that get all uppity about misuse of They're, there, and Their as though it reveals some ignorance on the part of the person misusing it or causes confusion.  It doesn't do either.  It reveals laziness and lack of proof reading on the internet. 

Offline gebobs

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2019, 12:03:53 PM »
I saw an egregious use of an apostrophe yesterday. Hardly any article ever gets properly proofread anymore so it shouldn't be surprising. Still, folks should know better.

It was an article about cars and the author was trying to pluralize Lexus. Should be Lexuses. (yes, or Lexi)

The author wrote Lexus'.

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2019, 12:08:56 PM »
Only a looser uses bad grammar.
And a real tighten uses grammer good.
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Online brilligtove

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2019, 12:56:49 PM »
Anyone listen to Lexicon Valley? Or McWorter's Great Courses series? He has a whole thing on grammar rules that are not intuitive. IIR it almost always means they were imposed by someone based on some logic or rationale that is simplistic or misapplied.

Those rules may become standard for the language - proper use! - but they tend to violate a more subtle or more general linguistic rule for humans.

Could you give an example of this phenomenon?

I recall him talking about the me/I rules, but not the specific details. I will look in the podcast archive for the episode where he talks about rules that have been imposed, though.

In the interim, this quote gives a sense of what he thinks aof grammar rules.

Quote
Oh, those lapses, darling. So many of us walk around letting fly with “errors.” We could do better, but we’re so slovenly, so rushed amid the hurly-burly of modern life, so imprinted by the “let it all hang out” ethos of the sixties, that we don’t bother to observe the “rules” of “correct” grammar.

To a linguist, if I may share, these “rules” occupy the exact same place as the notion of astrology, alchemy, and medicine being based on the four humors. The “rules” make no logical sense in terms of the history of our language, or what languages around the world are like.

Nota bene: linguists savor articulateness in speech and fine composition in writing as much as anyone else. Our position is not—I repeat, not—that we should chuck standards of graceful composition. All of us are agreed that there is usefulness in a standard variety of a language, whose artful and effective usage requires tutelage. No argument there.

The argument is about what constitutes artful and effective usage. Quite a few notions that get around out there have nothing to do with grace or clarity, and are just based on misconceptions about how languages work.

Yet, in my experience, to try to get these things across to laymen often results in the person’s verging on anger. There is a sense that these “rules” just must be right, and that linguists’ purported expertise on language must be somehow flawed on this score. We are, it is said, permissive—perhaps along the lines of the notorious leftist tilt among academics, or maybe as an outgrowth of the roots of linguistics in anthropology, which teaches that all cultures are equal. In any case, we are wrong. Maybe we have a point here and there, but only that.

John H. McWhorter, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2019, 12:59:34 PM »
Among my numerous abuses I tend to screw up She and I and She and me but its almost always by using I where I should use me.

If it could be replaced with “we”, it’s ‘she and I’; otherwise it’s ‘her and me’.  It is never ‘she and me.’

Or you could just use we/us.
I'm struggling not to be snarking.  I know the difference, its just reflex to use "I".  This is really my problem with most grammar nazi's.  They assume folks don't know the correct usage when in most cases its thoughtlessness rather than ignorance driving the mistakes. 

Also, there's an easier way to figure it out.  Drop the other person.  Would you use I or me?  I just generally don't take the time to do that.

This reminds of the folks that get all uppity about misuse of They're, there, and Their as though it reveals some ignorance on the part of the person misusing it or causes confusion.  It doesn't do either.  It reveals laziness and lack of proof reading on the internet. 

“I are having lunch?”

I’m not sure why you’re takings such offense.  You noted that you frequently ‘screw up’ the grammatical point, so I offered a simple method to remember it.  I was just being helpful. I don’t think that represented any sort of condescension or assumption my part, certainly nothing that would merit being called a ‘grammar Nazi.’
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Online The Latinist

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2019, 01:05:44 PM »
Anyone listen to Lexicon Valley? Or McWorter's Great Courses series? He has a whole thing on grammar rules that are not intuitive. IIR it almost always means they were imposed by someone based on some logic or rationale that is simplistic or misapplied.

Those rules may become standard for the language - proper use! - but they tend to violate a more subtle or more general linguistic rule for humans.

Could you give an example of this phenomenon?

I recall him talking about the me/I rules, but not the specific details. I will look in the podcast archive for the episode where he talks about rules that have been imposed, though.

It’s really the specifics that matter, I suppose.

Quote
In the interim, this quote gives a sense of what he thinks aof grammar rules.

Quote
Oh, those lapses, darling. So many of us walk around letting fly with “errors.” We could do better, but we’re so slovenly, so rushed amid the hurly-burly of modern life, so imprinted by the “let it all hang out” ethos of the sixties, that we don’t bother to observe the “rules” of “correct” grammar.

To a linguist, if I may share, these “rules” occupy the exact same place as the notion of astrology, alchemy, and medicine being based on the four humors. The “rules” make no logical sense in terms of the history of our language, or what languages around the world are like.

Nota bene: linguists savor articulateness in speech and fine composition in writing as much as anyone else. Our position is not—I repeat, not—that we should chuck standards of graceful composition. All of us are agreed that there is usefulness in a standard variety of a language, whose artful and effective usage requires tutelage. No argument there.

The argument is about what constitutes artful and effective usage. Quite a few notions that get around out there have nothing to do with grace or clarity, and are just based on misconceptions about how languages work.

Yet, in my experience, to try to get these things across to laymen often results in the person’s verging on anger. There is a sense that these “rules” just must be right, and that linguists’ purported expertise on language must be somehow flawed on this score. We are, it is said, permissive—perhaps along the lines of the notorious leftist tilt among academics, or maybe as an outgrowth of the roots of linguistics in anthropology, which teaches that all cultures are equal. In any case, we are wrong. Maybe we have a point here and there, but only that.

John H. McWhorter, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English

Meh.  I find that whiny and contentless, and his prose self-indulgent.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline jt512

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2019, 06:26:10 PM »
This is really my problem with most grammar nazi's. 

Classic.


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Online brilligtove

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2019, 07:21:16 PM »
Anyone listen to Lexicon Valley? Or McWorter's Great Courses series? He has a whole thing on grammar rules that are not intuitive. IIR it almost always means they were imposed by someone based on some logic or rationale that is simplistic or misapplied.

Those rules may become standard for the language - proper use! - but they tend to violate a more subtle or more general linguistic rule for humans.

Could you give an example of this phenomenon?

I recall him talking about the me/I rules, but not the specific details. I will look in the podcast archive for the episode where he talks about rules that have been imposed, though.

It’s really the specifics that matter, I suppose.

Quote
In the interim, this quote gives a sense of what he thinks aof grammar rules.

Quote
Oh, those lapses, darling. So many of us walk around letting fly with “errors.” We could do better, but we’re so slovenly, so rushed amid the hurly-burly of modern life, so imprinted by the “let it all hang out” ethos of the sixties, that we don’t bother to observe the “rules” of “correct” grammar.

To a linguist, if I may share, these “rules” occupy the exact same place as the notion of astrology, alchemy, and medicine being based on the four humors. The “rules” make no logical sense in terms of the history of our language, or what languages around the world are like.

Nota bene: linguists savor articulateness in speech and fine composition in writing as much as anyone else. Our position is not—I repeat, not—that we should chuck standards of graceful composition. All of us are agreed that there is usefulness in a standard variety of a language, whose artful and effective usage requires tutelage. No argument there.

The argument is about what constitutes artful and effective usage. Quite a few notions that get around out there have nothing to do with grace or clarity, and are just based on misconceptions about how languages work.

Yet, in my experience, to try to get these things across to laymen often results in the person’s verging on anger. There is a sense that these “rules” just must be right, and that linguists’ purported expertise on language must be somehow flawed on this score. We are, it is said, permissive—perhaps along the lines of the notorious leftist tilt among academics, or maybe as an outgrowth of the roots of linguistics in anthropology, which teaches that all cultures are equal. In any case, we are wrong. Maybe we have a point here and there, but only that.

John H. McWhorter, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English

Meh.  I find that whiny and contentless, and his prose self-indulgent.

I find his speaking and writing style charming, but like what you like. :) I really enjoyed his Great Courses, in part because he tends to whimsy.

The bald version of the above: linguistic models supported by empirical evidence describe how humans construct language with quite a bit of accuracy. Rules of grammar have almost no relationship to those linguistic models. Grammar tends to have arbitrary rules motivated by cultural factors that don't make any sense from a linguistic point of view. Note that grammar rules do not have to make sense from the linguistics perspective. They are different phenomena operating in different domains.

Two examples that my wife and I have had very emotional discussions about are double negatives and split infinitives.
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2019, 08:20:57 PM »
Yeah, I get that he’s not a prescriptivist. I’m not either.  What I’m interested in is the claim that grammatical rules “tend to violate a more subtle or more general linguistic rule for humans.” I understand that you don’t have his arguments memorized (and you’re under no obligation to), and I promise that I’m not trying to be a jerk. But more conclusions without evidence or even an example isn’t going to clarify the point.

I’d look into it further myself, but my curiosity is not great enough to overcome my desire not to subject myself to more prose of the kind you excerpted earlier.
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Online brilligtove

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2019, 09:15:50 AM »
Yeah, I get that he’s not a prescriptivist. I’m not either.  What I’m interested in is the claim that grammatical rules “tend to violate a more subtle or more general linguistic rule for humans.” I understand that you don’t have his arguments memorized (and you’re under no obligation to), and I promise that I’m not trying to be a jerk. But more conclusions without evidence or even an example isn’t going to clarify the point.

I’d look into it further myself, but my curiosity is not great enough to overcome my desire not to subject myself to more prose of the kind you excerpted earlier.

Fair enough. There are other linguists out there who talk about the relationship between universal grammar and just grammar.
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Online brilligtove

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2019, 07:28:39 AM »
The Economist: Editor's picks (2019-06-28) has a fun segment about language drift, describing Europe heroically defending itself against veggie burgers. Starts at 16:30.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Grammar Questions and Observations
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2019, 04:00:30 AM »
Among my numerous abuses I tend to screw up She and I and She and me but its almost always by using I where I should use me.

If it could be replaced with “we”, it’s ‘she and I’; otherwise it’s ‘her and me’.  It is never ‘she and me.’

Or you could just use we/us.
I'm struggling not to be snarking.  I know the difference, its just reflex to use "I".  This is really my problem with most grammar nazi's.  They assume folks don't know the correct usage when in most cases its thoughtlessness rather than ignorance driving the mistakes. 

Also, there's an easier way to figure it out.  Drop the other person.  Would you use I or me?  I just generally don't take the time to do that.

This reminds of the folks that get all uppity about misuse of They're, there, and Their as though it reveals some ignorance on the part of the person misusing it or causes confusion.  It doesn't do either.  It reveals laziness and lack of proof reading on the internet.

Grammar is important, but really only when writing in a formal context. Most other times as long as communication was did.
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