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Proper V. Improper Language.

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#1 Jimbee68



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Posted June 15 2016 - 05:13 PM

Something that has been bugging me for some time now. Is there really a proper versus an improper way to use language? The purpose of language is to be understood. If people understand what you mean, you've fulfilled that task.


Oh, I didn't always feel that way. When I was younger, it would bother me if people used improper, or "nonstandard" English. Now I see the error of my ways.


The people in power, the WASP elite in other words, are the ones who claim to know the right and wrong way to use the language. But who are they? The whole thing just smells of classism to me. Sorry, but it's true.


The only purpose of language is to be understood. Once you’ve crossed that hurdle, you should be alright. In fact, some of the world’s most beautiful languages in the world, the romance languages, for example, actually came about from centuries of misuse of another language, in this case, vulgar Latin.
For example, some people say “it is I” is correct, and “it’s me” is nonstandard. People have been saying “it’s me” for years now. They aren’t going to stop just because some stuffy linguist tells them not to.
I should say, I am more of a purist still when it comes to personal names. I think they should mean something. But I may change on this one point too some day.
Am I wrong?
:scholar: smash.gif

Edited by Jimbee68, June 15 2016 - 06:03 PM.

#2 Tyrsonswood


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Posted June 15 2016 - 05:49 PM


"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

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#3 I'minmyunderwear


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Posted June 15 2016 - 07:50 PM

The people in power, the WASP elite in other words, are the ones who claim to know the right and wrong way to use the language. But who are they?


the dictionary writers?  the rules of english have been mostly the same for a long time.  i'm not sure exactly who decides on amendments to the dictionary, but the changes are usually minor and few anyway.  for the most part, english is what it is and what it has been for decades, and anyone who wants to know the proper usage can find that information.


The whole thing just smells of classism to me. 


i suppose the absolute lowest of the lowest classes may be unable to go to school or use libraries, but for a vast majority of the population (at least in america), those things are available if you're willing to utilize them.




i do agree that the purpose of language is to get a point across, and that as long as you do that successfully, you've accomplished your purpose.  but that doesn't mean that we should just abandon all the rules and make language into a free-for-all; like most things, there is a right way to do it and a less right but still effective way to do it.

#4 themnax


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Posted June 16 2016 - 01:14 AM

actually all living languages continue to evolve.  people pushing an agenda have a tendency to twist and squire meanings though.

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and thank god i'm not quite human


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