Thursday, June 12, 2008

And the war continues...

On Wordcraft z posted this interesting discussion about the prescriptivist/descriptivist war from Language Log, after which goofy posted this, which had this link within it.

Why are people prescriptivists? Why tell people they can't pronounce flaccid to rhyme with placcid? Here is Conrad Roth's reason:

I like hearing a man avoid split infinitives, even though I am fully aware
of the rule's arbitrary 1834 origin. There is a sort of stiff, pedantic
in this avoidance, or in the use of 'with whom', or in the
'flaxid', an elegance that no amount of grammatical or
historical analysis could
possibly diminish. It takes self-command to speak
and write in this manner—a
self-command I respect.

An elegance? Not to me. Perhaps to others.

But why argue about it? Why bring racism into the argument, as Kevin S. did (see Language Log's post)? If we can't have an intellectual discussion about language, respecting each others' opinions, there is no hope for our world!

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