English varieties

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Wed Apr 6 18:55:34 EDT 2005


>So where do you (and maybe Pinker) stand on such gloriosities as "the
>car careened down the road" or "I'm really disinterested in that
>subject"?  No, forget it, those are just getting the meaning wrong plain
>and simple, rather than rules of grammar.  
>
As I understand it, the issue that is being argued is partly that saying 
things are "wrong" means being part of the evil prescriptive coterie. 
But consider this example, produced by a student who is a native speaker 
of English.

"Medieval time is a period in life when kings, knight and other magical 
creatures roamed the land in search of a quest."

>I'm wondering how you and
>Pinker think language is acquired if not by being taught, to be honest:
>the teaching may taking the form of talking to the infant, and it seems
>to be the case that infants never spoken to don't learn speech, but why
>is talking to an infant not "teaching" it?
>  
>
That was my point. Also that children continue to acquire language when 
they are at school: where's the line between learning "naturally" and 
"unnaturally"? I think I learned a lot of language by reading.

Robyn

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