Posts tagged ‘spelling’

April 3, 2016

WHAT IS IT WITH GRAMMAR NAZIS?

by eirenehogan

Are Grammar Nazis insecure lonely people who feel unloved, so are using their antiquated knowledge of primary school grammar to make themselves feel more important?

 

Where does language come from?  Does it come from grammar books and dictionaries?  Did God send down an English grammar and English dictionary?

 

Has English always been spelt the same way, and have English sentences always been constructed the same way?

 

No.

 

Language is a tool used by humans to communicate to each other.  Successful communication occurs when two people can understand each other.  What words are used, how ‘grammatically correct’ they are or whether they are to be found in dictionaries do no matter, if the two people understand each other, that is communication and that is language.

 

The basis of language is verbal communication and that is the most current and up-to-date.  Written language is a description of verbal language and is often a more out-dated version of spoken language.  Changes in language tend to occur in the spoken language first, and then filter down to written language.  In this modern era of internet and mobile phones and texting that is changing, as now there are many written innovations that occur in the online world before being copied by spoken.

 

Grammars and dictionaries are merely descriptions of the language.  They are always out of date as the language practises needs to be established and studied before they can be recorded.

 

Grammars and dictionaries do not prescribe how a language is written, let alone spoken, they merely describe it.  The language does not belong to the grammar books or dictionaries, and does not belong to the grammar teachers – or websites.  The language belongs to the people who use it.

 

Language changes and evolves over time, and it is through that verbal communication that it does.  Over time dialects will develop and ultimately new languages, and the grammars and dictionaries will reflect that.

 

The formal rules of written language describe a certain type of usage which is in effect its own dialect.  People learn the spoken dialect of their region and their generation, but then also need to learn the written dialect of their language.

 

It is certainly useful for people to write and spell in a similar way, but to criticise people for not getting their written grammar correct (the written dialect) is ignoring the content of what the person is trying to say.  Which is more important?  And English spelling is so mixed up and messed up, so full of antiquated spellings that no longer reflect the pronunciation of the word, that it is more the fault of the language than the speller, if someone cannot spell it.

 

 

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