NPR (was Overheard on the local FOX news)

Matthew Gordon gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU
Tue Dec 5 18:41:59 UTC 2006

If you really want prescriptivist ignorance from NPR, you might check out
this essay by Nora Raum:
She notes her disagreement with liberal dictionaries that don't support her
sense of "massive" and "decimate".

On 12/5/06 11:59 AM, "Beverly Flanigan" <flanigan at OHIO.EDU> wrote:

> But of course you CAN diagram any sentence of any language--we do it all
> the time!  The myth about diagramming making one a "better" or "more
> correct" writer would be typical of Vocabula Review, and it was expressed
> by the woman on NPR too (on one of the morning shows that Monday--Morning
> Edition, I suppose?).  But these are the people who assume that "real"
> sentences are ungrammatical--another myth, of course.  And what would that
> "second set of rules" be--unless (hopefully) just a reminder that Standard
> Written English is often stylistically different from (though no better
> than) ordinary spoken English?  This is akin to saying there's only one
> "real" way of pronouncing English!
> At 11:32 AM 12/5/2006, you wrote:
>> A while back Harper's reprinted "Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog"
>> from the Vocabula Review, which was a memoir about diagramming in
>> school. It was a good read: the author was nostalgic, but pointed out
>> that it didn't make her a better writer though a more "correct"
>> writer. She also pointed out that you can't diagram real ("in
>> situ"/"in vivo") sentences: they have to be made up ("in vitro") for
>> the purpose in order to work well. And it forces the students to
>> learn a second set of rules. I made my freshmen read it. Some of them
>> had done some diagramming in school and had found it useful as they
>> are visual learners.
>> I'll have to go and look for that story on NPR, Bev. Thanks for
>> pointing it out. Do you remember which program it was on?
>> ---Amy West
>>> Date:    Mon, 4 Dec 2006 00:12:18 -0500
>>> From:    Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
>>> Subject: Re: Overheard on the local FOX news:
>>> And overheard today on our favorite prescriptive network, NPR:  A woman has
>>> written a book on the value of diagramming sentences in school--the old
>>> way, of course, horizontally, with angled lines shooting off
>>> everywhere.  Why valuable?  Because it might teach students to write
>>> "accurately," instead of merely "expressing their feelings."  Why there is
>>> an assumed dichotomy between these two is beyond me.  But no doubt this is
>>> why Faulkner is almost "impossible" to diagram.  And of course Scott Simon
>>> (who followed  with something like "with whom we deal with") just thought
>>> she was marvelous. Sigh.
>>> At 10:06 PM 12/3/2006, you wrote:
>>>> Something about someone suggesting a "_rehaul_ of U.S. forces in Iraq."
>>>> --
>>>> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>>>> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>>>> -----
>>>> -Sam Clemens
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> The American Dialect Society -
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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