Tuesday, December 19, 2006

French hope for peace in grammar wars

Ok here's another wacky idea from the French.

Knowledge of grammatical rules is not a constraint. It's an instrument for mastering language. So it is an instrument of freedom.

That's not what I heard.
To underscore how un-American grammar really is, Spellings reminded her audience that when Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez waved a copy of Noam Chomsky’s Aspects of the Theory of Syntax in a recent United Nations speech protesting American Middle East policy, the very next day the 1965 grammar book shot to the top of the charts at Amazon.com. “Those grammarians hate freedom,” she concluded.


Anonymous said...

If you'd like to experience the ultimate orgy of unbelievable grammer, take a ride on Craigslist.com or NJville.com. In fact, any site that require quick post methods are wonderful specimens. I am not a linguist, but I am somewhat sensitive to language. I am in my late twenties and I am astounded by the grammar and poor word usage that I see. I'm not even talking about younger kids (which is scary), but even older folks with subject-verb agreement and the use of the subjunctive,i.e. If I was, If I were..

oh boy...

The Ridger, FCD said...

Give me a break. The only verb in which the subjunctive has a distinct form in English is "to be" so it is no surprise that it is being regularised to match the others. It's trivial in the greater scheme of things - English is systematically shedding its inflections in favor of syntax, and this is just the latest example. Why don't you complain about losing "art" while you're at it, or the entire 1st and 2nd person dual paradigm for that matter? Because that happened before you were born, so it's okay, is my guess.

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