Grammar, Usage, Standards: Passe?

James Dawson jamesndawson at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jun 8 17:27:50 UTC 2010

Well, I finally decided I'd better just try to jump in here, rather than waiting for the perfect moment, as I'm sure if there'll never be one.
What is the climate of opinion these days on the question of "proper English", i.e. grammar, usage, etc.  Among language professionals and enthusiasts, is it an outdated and pedantic concern?  As dialectians, my understanding is the interest of most of you is the dialect as it is, and not so much as it should be.  For that reason, I've been a little hesitant to ask questions about "proper" grammar and usage, thinking few of you may even believe in such a concept anymore.
I've read The Miracle of Language by Charlton Laird, so I'm a little familiar with the "proper-grammar-skeptical" arguments,
Is there some group, which I presume would be unofficial, that sets standards?  Certainly standards have been challenged almost to the breaking point, perhaps especially with the growth of Internet jargon, but maybe they still exist, though maybe in a more relaxed form.  I'm interested in the presevervationist, or prescriptionist perspective, with respect to English.  I know such an approach is problematical, and I'm not necessarily a purist myself, but I'd still like to be aware of it.
Are there any other forums where my questions would be better asked?  Any PRINT publications, for the layman?
Are there any books that deal with this, and recent changes in the language?  In, say, the last 5, 10 or 15 years?
If I don't find any, I may be back with questions on specific words and phrases I've had questions about.

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