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Prescriptivism

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Introduction

Early 20th century prescriptivists are sometimes known as 'verbal hygienists' because of their desire to 'clean up' English. 1. Describe and explain some examples of grammatical features that some prescriptivists condemned 2. Add some present day examples including other language features which people complain about 3. Give your views about these attitudes Prescriptivism is an approach to the study of language that favours rules identifying correct and incorrect language use. Prescriptivists are people, who set out rules for what is regarded as correct language use, especially in grammar. Prescriptivism can also include arbitrary declarations of what particular individuals consider to be good taste, and if these tastes are conservative, prescription may be resistant to natural language evolution. The main aims of prescriptivism are to define standardised language forms either generally or for specific purposes. Prescription can apply to most aspects of language: to spelling, grammar, semantics, pronunciation and register. This is why prescriptivists are sometimes known as 'verbal hygienists,' because of their desire to clean up each of these frameworks in the English language. There are numerous amounts of grammatical features that prescriptivists condemn. The first is the issue of agreement in the language. Firstly normal concord, in present-day English, agreement in number between subject and verb is overwhelmingly normal: 'The climate was not brilliant' (in Standard English one cannot just say 'The climate were not brilliant.' ...read more.

Middle

But there are many circumstances in which a preposition nay or even must be placed late and others where the degree of formality required governs the placing. When formality is desired, 'of which I had already heard,' is used unlike 'which I had already heard of.' There are many more features apart from those that are grammatical that 'verbal hygienists' like to condemn. The first issue I will talk about is the issue of 'all right', 'alright'? The use of all right, or inability to see that there is anything wrong with 'alright,' reveals one's background, up-bringing, education, etc., perhaps as much as any word in the language. 'Alright' is the demotic form. It is common-place in private correspondence especially in that of the moderately educated young. Almost all other printed works in Britain and abroad use the more traditional form 'all right.' It displays the sociological divide and is under constant attention from prescriptivists. Another social issue is also seen in the public's use of 'gentleman.' The use of 'gentleman,' like that of ESQ. Is being affected by the progress towards a less class-based society, but in more or less opposite directions. Almost any adult male these days in Britain (but not overseas) ...read more.

Conclusion

These people might feel that they feel comfortable on trampling on the prescriptive ideas of the parents and also want to progress the language into the future. The general attitude of the young generation and me is that prescriptivism is an artificial restraint on the English Language, which it simply cannot bare, whereas descriptivism is the process of observing language dispassionately. Given any particular language controversy, prescription and description represent quite different, though not necessarily incompatible, approaches to thinking about it. In conclusion prescription easily becomes controversial. A number of issues pose potential pitfalls for prescriptivists. For example: prescription has a tendency to favour the language of one particular region or social class over others, and thus mitigates against linguistic diversity. Frequently a standard dialect is associated with the upper class, as for example Great Britain's Received Pronunciation. RP has now lost much of its status as the Anglophone standard, being replaced by the dual standards of General American and British NRP (non-regional pronunciation). While these have democratic base, they are still standards which exclude large parts of the English-speaking world: Scottish, Irish, Australian or African-American speakers of English may feel the standard is slanted against them. Thus prescriptivism has clear political consequences. In the past, prescription was used consciously as a political tool; today, prescription usually attempts to avoid this pitfall, but this can be difficult to do. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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