[LMB] OT: Terry Pratchett

Eric Oppen ravenclaweric at gmail.com
Tue Sep 21 06:50:48 BST 2021


Prior to the 18th century, AIUI, split infinitives in English were nothing
anybody paid any attention to.

On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 9:44 PM WILLIAM A WENRICH <wawenri at msn.com> wrote:

> As I understand it, split infinitives were outlawed because you can’t do
> it Latin.
>
> William A Wenrich
>
>   *    A sinner, utterly dependent on God’s grace.
>
> ________________________________
> From: Lois-Bujold <lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk> on behalf of
> Matthew George <matt.msg at gmail.com>
> Sent: Monday, September 20, 2021 10:14:33 AM
> To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold. <
> lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
> Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: Terry Pratchett
>
> On Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 7:59 AM tidsel via Lois-Bujold <
> lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > The person who told me  about grammar being a way to describe the
> > language, rather than 'correct' language, was a language professor btw,
> so
> > I sincerely hope he knew what he was
> > talking about.
> >
>
> People who study - well, anything, really - expend a lot of effort training
> themselves to see what is there and describe it accurately.  When language
> and culture are involved, people try even harder, especially given
> awareness of how past disdain for 'foreignness' damaged both societies and
> scientific understanding.  Sometimes features of high-status languages were
> imposed inappropriately on other tongues, or some languages or cultures
> were considered superior out of familiarity and prejudice.  So there are
> good reasons for them to back away from value judgments.
>
> Which often takes them so far away from the perspective of actually *using*
> a language that they lose sight of why prescriptivism is necessary.
> Standards are frequently obnoxious, but they're essential for
> communication.  Imagine the results if people spelled words however they
> felt like, and so we collectively lost the ability to distinguish
> homophones; imagine if some people began using negative concord while
> others didn't, and the intended meaning of a statement became impossible to
> parse.  Correctness is a matter of definition rather than recognizing
> objective truths, and so it can and generally will change, but not freely.
>
> Matt G.
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