Thursday, 16 February 2012

Dear Perscriptivists

I often hear conversations an ask, how do they understand what each other are saying? However, I think nothing more than that and certainly voice no opinion, during my research into English Language, I stumbled across a particularly interesting group of people, perscriptivists. they share a belief that English is a vulnerable feature of our lives which must be protected from the decay threatening it everyday with the use of 'improper' English.

It would be hard to deny that I, as anyone calling themselves a writer should, believe in a certain standard of Language use, both written and spoken, though to myself written quality of English holds more importance. However, if one were to read the introduction to the English Dictionary, written by Samuel Johnson in 1755, he says: [b][i]'We laugh at the elixir that promises to prolong life to a thousand years; and with equal justice may the lexicographer be decided, who being able to produce no example of a nation that has preserved their words and phrases from mutability, shall imagine that his dictionary can embalm his language, and secure it from corruption, and decay, that it is in his power to change sublunary nature or clear the world at one from folly, vanity, and affection.'[/i][/b]

Dr Samuel Johnson, described by many as a perscriptivist of the English Language was under no illusion that language could be 'purified' and 'preserved', he knew language would change, it has always been inevitable and has, since its roots, changed.

So why are there then some people who believe language is decaying and should be protected, since history there is huge sign of change. English Language as we know it is made up of multiple European languages and changes between each country which speaks it. Then is there really a case for a decaying language?

I understand the view that language should be of a high quality, and all who need should have access to levels of education where English is taught at the same standard, but how can we remain equal if each persons view on language, and what they expect of it, is different? If a variation in lexis happens from region to region, let alone throughout the world, can we say one form of this language is more equal than another? Taking Spanish, spoken by the Spanish and with historic invasions, is now used throughout much of south/Latin America. With three different versions between the home country of the language, Mexico, and the South American Continent (Excluding of course Brazil), is one form of the Spanish Language classed as more equal or correct than another? or is it simply different?

Of course English is not the only language under such scrutiny, I just wonder why when we live in what is called an equal, free society, we should be judged on the quality of our use of language alone. It seems as though the power which language gives us is still in this day and age, limited to the select few who are fortunate enough to have what is considered the right language use along with the right accent.

(Written by Sketch)

In reply to the beliefs of perscriptivists.

I, Sketch, was studying the perscriptivists in my English Language class, intrigued by their beliefs I showed Shay, who is rather passionate about things like this, and set off reading the website, she soon enough came to the same conclusion as me, SPAM! 
We could not allow, in this day and age of equality and freedom, people to disregard the natural difference in peoples everyday language use, Shay wanted to demonstrate what she felt about this site, and in order for them grasp a full understanding of her, deep and rather sensitive feelings she thought best to contact them the only way we know how. E-MAIL!
She cannot be trusted! I left her alone to send this email, her being my trusted partner in crime and this was the email she sent to them:

I liek, t0tallii 4gr33 w1th wh4t y00 r try1ng t0 f1ght f0r!
1 r p3rf3cttt sp3ll3r!
I w0n 4 sp3ll1ng b33!!
I c4n jo1nz?
1 l00v33 wh4tt y00 st4nd f0r! Liek, teh p3rf3ct sp3ll1ng 4nd sh1zz
pl34z33 4cc3ptt m3h! I am of course sure that we will be accepted for the page, we are yet awaiting reply but we are sure we will qaulify for the place and we hope, when we do we can influence your language use postively in order to benefit your outcomes in the modern world. It would be interesting to see any opinions on the article I wrote, I would be interested to hear what people think and well, frankly to hear from some people on here!