Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
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28-09-2012, 11:40 AM (This post was last modified: 28-09-2012 11:53 AM by cufflink.)
Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
Is a preposition something you should never end a sentence with?

Is it OK to say "just between you and I"?

Is it allowable to boldly split an infinitive?

And what about starting a sentence with "and" or "but"?

What if it turns out that some of the rules we learned in high school aren't valid after all? What if some cherished rules are just myths, and our teachers were wrong? Who gets to decide on these things anyway?

I found this debate between two writers on language, representing two different camps, thought-provoking.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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28-09-2012, 11:44 AM
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
This is my stance on the topic:




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28-09-2012, 11:47 AM
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
Who gets to decide what "good English" is?

I fuckin' do!

Smartass

Live with it.

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28-09-2012, 11:57 AM
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
(28-09-2012 11:44 AM)nach_in Wrote:  This is my stance on the topic:




Stephen Fry is a treasure.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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28-09-2012, 12:18 PM
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
I think the acceptance of a language's use is certainly(within reason) up to the majority of users of that language. Language is often a reflection of the culture of it's users... if a language doesn't change or becomes overly rigid, I'd suspect that culture to have become similarly stagnant.

Having said that, I often find myself resisting slang. It's taken me years to gleefully utter the word awesome... and I do so mainly as a joke to myself. Dodgy

I have no idea who decides this shit, but I'm sure whatever is decided upon, I'll give it a good fight before I wallow in anyone's gibberish but my own. Shy

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28-09-2012, 01:45 PM (This post was last modified: 28-09-2012 01:49 PM by Dom.)
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
My grammar is far fucking out, I groove on awsome bad sentence structures and my english is da bomb. Cool English grammar is phat! These are the things I awe you with and live by.

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28-09-2012, 01:55 PM
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
(28-09-2012 01:45 PM)Dom Wrote:  My grammar is far fucking out, I groove on awsome bad sentence structures and my english is da bomb. Cool English grammar is phat! These are the things I awe you with and live by.

So... much... hate... No
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28-09-2012, 02:26 PM
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
(28-09-2012 01:55 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(28-09-2012 01:45 PM)Dom Wrote:  My grammar is far fucking out, I groove on awsome bad sentence structures and my english is da bomb. Cool English grammar is phat! These are the things I awe you with and live by.

So... much... hate... No

But I wrote it with love!

And it's something to impress you with!

It's something to really dig, my bombness is so fantastic, it's the stuff to wow you with!

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28-09-2012, 02:40 PM (This post was last modified: 28-09-2012 02:48 PM by LadyJane.)
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
This is going to be a great conversation to watch. Big Grin I have been waiting for this day, cufflink. Thank you.

When I write or speak, my first thoughts on how to form a sentence do not always naturally go to the 'correct' formation. I've always struggled with this and I wonder if it has anything to do with my dyslexia or not. I wonder if I am different or disabled, and I am also super self-conscious about it. My parents brought me up to speak proper English, my mom is a school teacher (as well as several aunts and uncles). My mother's biggest complaint in regards to language every year with her students is how much the students are lacking in their adjectives. She preforms cartwheels to try and get them to come up with specific descriptors for everything they do. Mom's passion for them has transferred over to myself and it makes me giddy when I read or hear some good ones.

I often begin a sentence with 'and' or 'but' and have to reword to 'however' or 'also', or whatever may fit. The words are there, but they are not the first ones that come to mind. Why is that? Also, (see? Yes, I did type 'and' first and quickly back peddled) I notice that I am not the only one, many people do this without blinking or realizing. Brilliant people.

In the end, I understand why proper structure is important- or at least I think I do. Language is necessary to communicate as specifically as possible. Slang is not specific enough and more relaxed, but it also has its own meaning and provides a different perspective. So, I believe they are both important and valuable. If I want to relate to the kids I work with at the youth centre, I need to know what certain words or structure means and I need to be able to reflect back, or I will be left in the dust. And those kids need to learn how to speak a more formal version of what they are saying to grow and continue in the 'bigger' world. It seems this will all have to co-exist.

I like nach_in bringing that video to the thread, because I worry about that here on TTA. I worry some of us, me specifically, might come off as uppity, stuffy or annoying to some posters who either don't or choose not to have proper English. I choose it, sometimes, because it helps me communicate in a more precise manner. It is not to be elite, annoying or a snob- which I worry it is how I may be perceived. I don't want that impression of me because I feel I am the furthest thing from that. However, I shouldn't have to change how I speak to be accepted, cool or understood- that's not fair either. The video posted is great, because it's a reminder in how language is also an art. AND I friggin' LOVE art! Heart Big Grin
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28-09-2012, 02:41 PM
RE: Who gets to decide what "good English" is?
First of all, the last question you asked is the most important one from you post, so I am moving it to the top:

(28-09-2012 11:40 AM)cufflink Wrote:  Who gets to decide on these things anyway?

It's more or less decided by majority rules. But, it's not majority of all English speakers. There are groups, and subgroups. I'm pretty sure the "majority rules" of the Harvard English department are very different from the "majority rules" of a group of pre-teens tweeting about the latest Justin Bieber song.

In fact, people change groups all the time. My own use of grammar is much different in my profession than it is in my home life. And I am very forgiving of friends' misuse of English but no so much of my teenage daughters (after all, it's my responsibility to teach them what is correct). So, did you forgive me for that? Are we friends here?

So the answer to all your questions below is very conditional - first we need to know, to which English speaking group do you address the question?

(28-09-2012 11:40 AM)cufflink Wrote:  Is a preposition something you should never end a sentence with?

I would never make this mistake on a job application or a professional document at work. I would never make this mistake writing a college paper.

For the rest of the world, I don't really care.

An interesting note is to ask yourself how convoluted the sentence becomes if you try to write it correctly. In this case, not much at all: "Is a preposition something with which you should never end a sentence?".

In my own writing, I have occasionally found sentences that, when I tried to apply proper grammar, became so convoluted that I ended up dismantling them and creating one or two new sentences to say the same thing more easily. In those cases it might acceptable to leave the preposition at the end. To the right audience.

(28-09-2012 11:40 AM)cufflink Wrote:  Is it OK to say "just between you and I"?

Nope, pretty much always wrong. Even young kids occasionally know better. Then again, some adults don't so go figure. But it's still wrong, and I'd suggest avoiding it all the time.

(28-09-2012 11:40 AM)cufflink Wrote:  Is it allowable to boldly split an infinitive?

Again, I leave this to the question of how convoluted will your sentence be if you don't split the infinitive? "It is allowable boldly to split an infinitive?" sounds silly, but "is it allowable to split an infinitive boldy?" sounds more or less OK, though one might ask what boldness has to do with the rest of the question. So I would argue for avoiding it unless there is no simple way to keep the sentence clear and concise.

(28-09-2012 11:40 AM)cufflink Wrote:  And what about starting a sentence with "and" or "but"?

If you can explain to me how inserting "And" at the beginning of that sentence makes it better or clarifies anything, well, I'll listen. I don't think you can. Your sentence has exactly the same meaning without that extraneous and incorrectly used conjunction. Given that, why add the word, risk the grammar nazis, extend the length of your sentence, all for nothing?

(28-09-2012 11:40 AM)cufflink Wrote:  What if it turns out that some of the rules we learned in high school aren't valid after all? What if some cherished rules are just myths, and our teachers were wrong?

You won't. They're all still valid. No myths. Your teachers weren't wrong.

Just remember that those teachers belong to a well-educated group of English speakers. When writing for them, respect their rules. When writing for other groups, respect the rules of those groups.

U wanna txt bout JBieb, do wut u want, kk? STFU. GTFO.

TTFN.

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