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Linguistics Is Fun

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Posts

  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    How much formal study has been done on prescriptivism? It seems like it would be possible to do studies on whether certain styles of expression are better than others, and eventually develop linguistic engineering into a true field.

    What do you mean by "better?"

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    How much formal study has been done on prescriptivism? It seems like it would be possible to do studies on whether certain styles of expression are better than others, and eventually develop linguistic engineering into a true field.

    What do you mean by "better?"

    That'd need to be worked out as well, but I see no reason why it couldn't.

    Of course, just because something is better by some standards doesn't mean it's practical. Take the metric system for example. It's superior in many ways to the imperial system, but the U.S. still largely uses imperial measures. Does the impracticality of actually implementing the metric system mean that the imperial system is therefore better in the U.S.?

    If something is difficult to implement it's inherently worse. But how much worse? I don't think anyone can answer that in the context of linguistic changes, but I think knowing that could be beneficially.

    It certainly isn't balanced so that prescriptivism is never worthwhile. Or at least, the marketing departments of major corporations who work to preserve trademarks don't think that prescriptivism is worthless.

  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    jothki wrote: »
    How much formal study has been done on prescriptivism? It seems like it would be possible to do studies on whether certain styles of expression are better than others, and eventually develop linguistic engineering into a true field.

    What do you mean by "better?"

    That'd need to be worked out as well, but I see no reason why it couldn't.

    Of course, just because something is better by some standards doesn't mean it's practical. Take the metric system for example. It's superior in many ways to the imperial system, but the U.S. still largely uses imperial measures. Does the impracticality of actually implementing the metric system mean that the imperial system is therefore better in the U.S.?

    If something is difficult to implement it's inherently worse. But how much worse? I don't think anyone can answer that in the context of linguistic changes, but I think knowing that could be beneficially.

    It certainly isn't balanced so that prescriptivism is never worthwhile. Or at least, the marketing departments of major corporations who work to preserve trademarks don't think that prescriptivism is worthless.

    I find myself largely siding with Bill Hicks when it comes to marketing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo

    That said, languages do change to accommodate its speakers. English is pretty damn great for what almost all English speakers need to do with it. I'm not sure we need to codify what's "best" according to this nebulous idea you have as language evolves to support the needs of its speakers.

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  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    jothki wrote: »
    How much formal study has been done on prescriptivism? It seems like it would be possible to do studies on whether certain styles of expression are better than others, and eventually develop linguistic engineering into a true field.

    I think the field you're looking for is 'ethics.'

  • SkySky Registered User
    edited April 2011
    I love the PA forums because of threads like this. I also get frustrated because there are so many intelligent people, posting wildly engrossing information, and I WANT TO READ IT ALL, but don't have the time.

    Curse you, Penny Arcade forumers, for your devilish ways.

    I will read this thread later, though. :)

    Sky
    Wannabe writer (war, action, fantasy, history, power struggle), video gamer (strategy, simulation, action), former Soldier.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/skyanimal
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