[ExI] silly 'rules'

spike spike66 at att.net
Wed Sep 16 22:27:41 UTC 2015



From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf
Of Anders Sandberg
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 1:48 PM
To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
Subject: Re: [ExI] silly 'rules'


On 2015-09-16 21:41, Dan wrote:

>>.Most of this seems complaining about arbitrary rules that have little to
do with communication. Yet they continue to be passed along as if they were
rational and objective.


>.It is the ancient feud between prescriptivists and descriptivists. Fuelled
by the fact that correcting grammar shows off your (high status) education,
and allows you to reduce the uneducated other guy.


OK cool, it does have that value.  I often find it useful to whack some
yahoo without physical injury of any kind.


Regarding ancient feuds between prescriptivists and descriptivists, like any
feud, both sides have their value and contributions.  As with a two-party
political system, it is educational to try to discover what good things each
party has to offer and take the good while rejecting the bad.


Consider the prescriptivists and descriptivists (Ps and Ds.)  I see some
really useful contributions by the Ps: they help standardize language to
make it easier to understand.  I see that the Ds contribute simplicity to
language, allowing margin for usage rather than requiring additional study.


Simplifying language is good, but it comes at a price.  The Ps would argue
that if we pay attention to grammar, we sound more like the mellifluous
Shakespeare, or the brilliant PT Wodehouse.  The Ds would argue that
simplification of language reduces the required training load.  A Ps
language might converge towards an Orwellian Newspeak.  This has its
advantages, but certainly lacks the beauty of a Shakespearean sonnet.  


A middle upper ground I prefer is the grammatical libertarian: simplicity is
good, standardization is also good, decry neither, but try for as much of
both as can be achieved.  Use language as a playground at every opportunity.





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