• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline the difference between a prescriptive and descriptive approach to language.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

My task for this essay is to outline the difference between a prescriptive and descriptive approach to language. Grammar is the underlying structure of language and is a socially agreed framework; it is needed as it allows groups of words to be linked together in ways that make sense. If there was no grammar, language would be a meaningless jumble. "Grammar is the sum of the conventions of Standard English". This is written in the prescriptive approach and suggests that rules are essential. Some of the non-standard features include taboo language (swearing), slang, dialect features, spoken features and language seen as rude. In class we did an exercise to show the importance of grammar. We were told to write any word on a piece of paper and pass it on throughout the difference members in the class. ...read more.

Middle

Prescriptive approach: - this type of approach indicates whether an extract of language is grammatically correct. This variety of language has an inherently higher value that others, and that this ought to be imposed on the whole speech community. The rules for the prescriptive approach originally come from the Latin and Greek language. These languages have an unchanging form and are now models for other languages, like English. This rule is used because Latin and Greek are 'dead languages' but English is not. E.g. you should say or write 'It is 'I and not 'It is me', because the verb 'be' is followed by the nominative case in Latin, not the accusative in English. Some of the prescriptive rules of English are: Don't split infinitives, don't use double negation, don't end a sentence with a preposition, and don't use who in place of whom. ...read more.

Conclusion

He implied that because 'slang' words were ever-changing, they were never entered into the dictionary as it would almost at once, be out of date; this is because new slang words are being created all the time. The rules for the prescriptive approach were originally adopted into English from Latin and from mathematics. Speech patterns imposed by speakers with high social prestige also gave an influence. Descriptive rules may come from saying what 'makes sense?' Also saying what is easily understandable. It may just be the way that English, French, Swahili and other languages work. I prefer descriptive grammar as it is not a personal choice to follow it - it is automatic. It also does not require explicit teaching for you to understand, as it is a natural way of speaking for me. Using this approach to language, I analysis an extract by saying does it make sense? Also I do not speak as I would write unlike the prescriptive approach advises. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Investigation into the Judgements of Slang

    4 star(s)

    definition would be entirely different from what the speaker uses it to mean. Halliday's suggestion is that an anti-language is born out of the speakers desire to distance themselves from accepted society. Though this would be difficult to prove of the speakers, it would be likely considering ideas of "youth

  2. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    Would you like some? Read, follow and use the clues re contact/mail address in my 'job section' below: if you are clever and interested you'll work it out and find me... I am extremely fit and am told I look very young for my years (I do NOT dye my hair!).

  1. Free essay

    'Everyday creativity is always dialogical in Bakhtin's sense.'

    Creative, dialogic play with language is not only unidirectional. It is a collaborative process and may have a variety of social purposes. 7 There is also a 'cognitive model', which Ronald Carter identifies with, which is the belief in a 'universal human mental propensities for creativity in language' and its cognitive effects.

  2. The language situation in Kenya, and in particular the shift and choice of English, ...

    This observation by Rhodes has caused most parents not to educate their children, as they fear that the language of their ancestors would be lost. In my (Maasai) community for example, almost 50% of children do not go to school because of this kind of belief.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work