Goddamned Prescriptivists

April 17, 2005

I watched Do You Speak American? today on TV. It seemed less a follow up to History of the English Language or a documentary on American dialect as much as it was a discussion of the schism between Prescriptivism and Descriptivism.

It may have helped some if the Prescriptivists they had on weren’t complete elitist assholes. Something about allowing the uneducated to dictate to academia. This is about when the Mysterious Masked Linguist shouted some very foul “un-standard” language at the television. Chemists do not dictate how elements interact, they study how THEY ALREADY DO! Get your head out of your ass! Prescriptivism has its place (Some aspect of the English Graphalect for example), but you’re not going about it the right way. Also the guy in favor of English as the National Language and his massive straw-man arguments was pretty funny/annoying.

Thankfully Robert MacNeill, the host of the mini-miniseries, showed to be his normal open minded self… and showed tendencies towards descriptivism on his own. Good for him.

Also, *points at icon* I have an avatar now, courtesy of City of Heroes screenshots.


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