aimees001 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 24 09:27:49 EDT 2008
I wouldn't say having correct grammar is unimportant, or that nobody
had ever suffered misfortune as a result of bad grammar. Remember the
two 'Dear John' letters, which have opposite meanings depending on the
placing of punctuation? Could make a difference to John, for a start.
At most, you could argue that correct grammar *shouldn't* be valued by
society as much as it is, while admitting that standardised grammar
serves a useful purpose.
Editors and teachers have an obligation to teach correct grammar,
spelling and punctuation, even though we live in a world where
In a job where clarity is important, say, writing IKEA assembly
instructions, school report cards and textbooks, the need for
adherence to generally accepted rules is a must.
The rules can change over time, but we can't do without some
standardisation (I know I keep repeating that word). A standardised
system will be more convenient than a collection of disparate
discourses growing further apart, even if in the end it serves as a
common-basis-of-reference tool to different discourses that need to
talk to each other. A (ridiculous) example might be if a person in
3009, raised solely on 'lolcat' speak*, tries to talk to someone who
has no idea what lolcats are**.
I don't think grammar devalues people with fluency in many languages,
pseudo-languages, sub-languages, mini-languages and discourses.
Similarly, if you say some rules can go, but others are necessary, you
are assigning a value judgement to various rules that different people
will disagree about.
A general rule for the layperson is 'whatever gets you by' - but that
has meant a loss of clarity in many situations.
Perhaps I have misunderstood someone's meaning or oversimplified? My
excuse is braindededness due to marking of English essays. :)
Aimee (about to go edit report cards, honest)
* in yr list, dominatin yr emails...
** www.icanhazcheezburger.com - GO! SEE!
End of work break.
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