Language lessons: It ’s time for English teachers to stop teaching that the earth is flat
debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU
Wed Dec 2 05:02:16 UTC 2009
There's a new post on the Web of Language:
Language lessons: It’s time for English teachers to stop teaching that
the earth is flat
When I asked a class of prospective teachers to discuss the impact on
students of prescriptive rules like "Don't split infinitives," "Don't
end sentences with prepositions," and "Don't use contractions," one
student ignored the descriptive grammar we had been studying to equate
correctness in language with intelligent design:
I think I support prescriptivism. I believe that some words are
absolutely unacceptable in any situation. I think there should be an
accepted way of speaking and deviation would not be tolerated. I
believe in a set of absolute values. I believe there is one right and
wrong for everyone. Perhaps what I think is right is not what you
think is right but in the final analysis that isn't going to matter.
What God thinks is right is what really matters and He doesn't have
one right for you and one right for me.
Her faith-based answer, God speaks standard English so you should too,
may be extreme, but her emphasis on correct language is one that too
many English teachers accept without question. So far as grammar
lessons go, it's time they stopped teaching that the earth is flat.
Read the whole post on the Web of Language: http://bit.ly/weblan
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
read the Web of Language:
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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