[DWJ] timetravel/and other things

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Tue Jun 24 13:26:22 EDT 2008

On Tue, 24 Jun 2008, Elizabeth Parks wrote:
> And I think part of what we're not saying clearly here is how much we
> are discussing grammar and how much we are discussing language.  When
> I talk about grammar, I only kind of mean "grammar;" more, I mean that
> I wish more people had a sense of -language.-

> I do think that language is more mathematical than people give it
> credit for

I get in long conversations with my linguist friend where we
realize we are speaking at cross purposes because when I say
"grammar" I mean the set of prescriptivist rules, some arbitrary
and some not, which are taught in English classes in order to
generate a shared formal spoken and written English, and when he
says "grammar" he means a set of descriptivist semi-mathematical
rules which describe the language as it works. Both of them are
interesting, and they serve different purposes. Sometimes when I
get frustrated at people using incorrect grammar they are only
using incorrect prescriptive rules, but sometimes when I get
frustrated by people using incorrect grammar they are also using
language in a way that doesn't follow the descriptivist rules.
Although that is far more rare.

And Sally, why should you be quiet? *g*

I never metadiscourse I didn't like.

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