A Def Ear to the rules of Grammar [or is it orthography?]

Aurolyn Luykx aurolynluykx at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 11 16:08:17 UTC 2005

The language policy nugget here seems to be Rev.
Sharpton's proposal that rappers be banished from the
airwaves for 90 days if they resort to violence. Now
THAT'D hit 'em where it hurts! (Felony charges alone
don't seem to do it). Kudos to Sharpton for his
creative thinking.
But the idea that these guys use creative spellings
because they don't know any better is pretty ludacris.
Now pass me another Krispy Kreme.

--- "Harold F. Schiffman"
<haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu> wrote:

> >From the NYTimes,
> March 11, 2005
> A Def Ear to the Rules of Grammar
> VERYBODY seems to be on the rap world's case these
> days. And for what?
> Trivial things like lyrics that glorify violence,
> misogyny and racism? Or
> the propensity of some rappers to aerate one another
> with hot lead?
> The people who should really be hip-hopping mad are
> grammarians.
> Yet for the most part they stand on the sidelines,
> raising no audible
> objections to Lil' Kim's wayward apostrophe or 50
> Cent's hostility to
> plurals or the spelling horrors committed by the
> likes of Supreem Da
> Regulata, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Capone-N-Noreaga.
> Where, you have to
> ask yourself, is the outrage?
> A fair question, said Patricia T. O'Conner, the
> author of books on
> grammar, including "Woe Is I." "It's bad enough that
> the content is so
> offensive to so many people," Ms.  O'Conner said.
> "It offends all kinds of
> sensibilities, including those of grammarians." "If
> you wanted to get
> ridiculous," - as opposed to, say, ridikyulis, which
> would look ludacris -
> "I guess somebody could argue it's supposed to be
> heard poetry rather than
> read poetry, so you don't see it in writing," she
> said.
> "But the truth is that you do see hip-hop in
> writing, and it is pretty
> outrageously spelled and punctuated." That it is.
> But don't expect a
> protest group to be formed any time soon, something
> on the order of
> Grammarians Repudiating Rancorous Rap Refrains, or
> Grrrr.
> Guardians of the language tend not to organize
> themselves along such
> lines. Besides, few of them seem to be losing sleep
> over tortured word
> formations. On the contrary, rap usage "is
> grammatically interesting,"
> said Jesse Sheidlower, the North American editor of
> the Oxford English
> Dictionary. "It's not random, and it's not sloppy."
> Of course, if similar
> deviations from standard English popped up in
> everything schoolchildren
> wrote, there might be a problem. "Things can be
> imitated badly - that's
> always a danger," Mr. Sheidlower said.
> But if you consider rappers "on purely linguistic
> grounds," he said,
> "their poetic inventiveness is worthy of emulation."
> Ostentatious
> misspellings are hardly new, said Barry Popik, an
> etymologist. Think of
> the 19th century. "This is not a recent phenomenon
> at all," Mr. Popik
> said. Besides, it's not as if lapses in usage are
> the biggest worry when
> it comes to rap music, said Barry Tarshis, the
> author of "Grammar for
> Smart People."
> "People recognize it for what it is," he said. "To
> some degree, you might
> even say it has a positive effect because it's at
> least encouraging kids
> who've never verbalized anything to do just that."
> Well, if mutilated grammar doesn't get anyone worked
> up, we might as well
> focus on insignificant concerns like the latest rap
> wars. In case you do
> not track these events, they have all the charm of a
> professional
> wrestling match.
> Much of the action revolves around a hip-hop station
> in SoHo, Hot 97
> (WQHT-FM, 97.1). That is where some geniuses in
> January played a song
> mocking victims of the Asian tsunami, its lyrics
> littered with foul
> language and racial slurs.
> Hot 97, in a building on Hudson Street, is also
> favored by rappers when
> they get in the mood to put holes in one another. A
> gunfight outside the
> building in 2001 led to Lil' Kim, she of the
> misplaced apostrophe, having
> to stand trial now on federal perjury charges.
> Last week, another shootout occurred there between
> hangers-on - they
> prefer to call themselves posses - of 50 Cent and
> his onetime protege, the
> Game. IT seems that Mr. Cent, who earns a lot more
> than four bit for his
> albums, does not get along with Mr. Game. You know
> how temperamental
> artists can be. That is especially true when they
> walk around with bullet
> wounds from old shoot-'em-ups. Fortunately for Mr.
> Cent, wounded nine
> times but going strong, some in the rap world don't
> shoot any better than
> they spell.
> The latest bang-bang led the Rev. Al Sharpton to
> cry, Enough is enough. He
> proposed that rappers be banished from the airwaves
> for 90 days if they
> resort to violence. Separately, the owner of the
> Hudson Street building
> demanded that the hangers-on - er, posses - be kept
> away. Feeling the
> pressure, Messrs. Cent and Game staged a public
> display of harmony on
> Wednesday, accompanied by press coverage worthy of
> an Israeli-Palestinian
> peace conference.
> Mr. Game said he was "almost ashamed" of the latest
> nastiness. Almost. For
> his part, Mr. Cent had trouble reading a prepared
> statement. Maybe it was
> because the words were spelled right.
> [Moderator's note: these folks give people who have
> to observe the
> rules of the New York Times style sheet the willies.
>  Note the
> obligatory style "Mr." Cent and "Mr." Game, etc.
> (hs)]

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