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post #91 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbantigers View Post
........ I do have pet peeves though, e.g. use of 'I could care less' instead of 'I couldn't care less'. That annoys me because the former just doesn't make sense
Me too!!!!! I've tried to explain to people why the former doesn't make any sense, and no one seems to get it!
post #92 of 113
Thread Starter 
As I mentioned, the French Academy keeps French from changing. They have very strict rules about new words, imported words, etc. French has a fairly small vocabulary compared to English, but it is much more precise.

As to the respelling of English words, I'm not sure when we lost the extra "u" in those words, but I personally think the difference is part of the charm of linquistics in general. Most American spellings are much more practical than English spellings (remember "tyre" and "kerb?").

It would be an interesting research to see how those spelling differences evolved. It's entirely possible that it was an error compounded by the similarity of the words. In other words, once one of the words was spelled a certain way, that spelling spread to other, similar words.

Even the French, who I mentioned above, are not immune to such silliness. One example would the word "doigt," which means "finger." The French Academy assumed it descended from the Latin "digit" and so put the g in as a reminder of that. It turns out they were wrong.

Or, to show the more practical side, to count in French above 69, you have to take off your shoes. Seventy is "sixty-ten." Eighty is "four twenties." Ninety is "four twenties ten."

But not in French-speaking Switzerland, which has single words for each of those.

But American English is much more homogeneous than the Queen's English. There is less difference between an Arkansan and a New Yorker than there is between two fairly close sections of London. I suspect, however, that even those differences are dying due to exposure to national TV and radio.
post #93 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
As I mentioned, the French Academy keeps French from changing. They have very strict rules about new words, imported words, etc. French has a fairly small vocabulary compared to English, but it is much more precise.

As to the respelling of English words, I'm not sure when we lost the extra "u" in those words, but I personally think the difference is part of the charm of linquistics in general. Most American spellings are much more practical than English spellings (remember "tyre" and "kerb?").

It would be an interesting research to see how those spelling differences evolved. It's entirely possible that it was an error compounded by the similarity of the words. In other words, once one of the words was spelled a certain way, that spelling spread to other, similar words.

Even the French, who I mentioned above, are not immune to such silliness. One example would the word "doigt," which means "finger." The French Academy assumed it descended from the Latin "digit" and so put the g in as a reminder of that. It turns out they were wrong.

Or, to show the more practical side, to count in French above 69, you have to take off your shoes. Seventy is "sixty-ten." Eighty is "four twenties." Ninety is "four twenties ten."

But not in French-speaking Switzerland, which has single words for each of those.

But American English is much more homogeneous than the Queen's English. There is less difference between an Arkansan and a New Yorker than there is between two fairly close sections of London. I suspect, however, that even those differences are dying due to exposure to national TV and radio.
True enough about dialectical differences; it's simply an accident of history. People from certain areas of Europe came over to the East coast here, and eventually spread pretty directly West. As a result, we only have three truly different dialect areas that look a lot like stripes, but with a whole lot of little variations http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/dare/dare.html

Most "American" spellings, you can thank Webster for. One of the main reasons for Noah Webster's composing a dictionary was to distance ourselves from England. Seriously, it's just political. These new spellings became standardized by McGuffey's readers and whatnot. It seems pretty unlikely until you think about the factors going into it; most people weren't literate, and the ones who were had political motivations to use the new spellings, and spellings weren't quite so standardized as they are now. If people understood what you meant, there wasn't much fuss. There's been a paradigmatic shift in that people now feel like written language is the "main" sort of language and speech is a representation of that, an idea that exists only in post-industrialized nations and only very very recently.

L'academie Francaise tries really hard to regulate French, and succeeds as much as they do largely because people are willing to listen to them and because it's a fairly small, contained population of people who have motivation to want to keep French "pure" (read: not full of English). But, you still see "le week-end" all over the place. Attempts to regulate people's speech fail every time, usually in whole, but sometimes in part like that.

And why do you say that "tire" and "curb" make more sense than "tyre" and "kerb"? They're both completely arbitrary representations of the same word, with the same number of letters. If anything, "k" makes more sense because "c" can make more than one sound before a vowel.
post #94 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
And why do you say that "tire" and "curb" make more sense than "tyre" and "kerb"? They're both completely arbitrary representations of the same word, with the same number of letters. If anything, "k" makes more sense because "c" can make more than one sound before a vowel.
i agree that 'k' makes more sense for the /k/ sound... but 'c' makes the /k/ sound before a, o & u, & the /s/ sound before i & e [almost always - there are probably some exceptions, there always are ]. personally, i think we need to eliminate 'c' from the alphabet altogether... anyone else ever read that article/essay? the one that systematically eliminates/replaces the alphabet, then, as they're replaced/eliminated, the writing changes to the new version.
by the end of the article, it's quite hard to read!
post #95 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by gailuvscats View Post
Ties my stomach in knots as well, especially when you think it takes a half a second to hit the spell check icon.
It could give several messages, primarily that the person really doesn't give two hoots about anyone else, or that they are just dumb, or really really lazy. Or perhaps any number of other things. My point is, if you cannot spell, which is obvious in some cases, and you know spell check exists, why the heck would you not use it? It would be different if the guilty parties were not computer savy, then I can understand.
That won't help much if you've just used the wrong form of a word, i.e., there instead of their. Spellcheck is very limited in that regard.

I prefer the Oxford dictionary to the Webster dictionary. I consider the Webster dictionary to be a US dictionary only.

The British way of spelling was the Canadian way of spelling as well - I'm not certain if that is still the way things are but I sure hope so.

If you bring someone from France into Quebec they will have a difficult time understanding the language as Quebecois is quite different than France French, just as the New Brunswick French is different from Quebec French. BTW, New Brunswick is the only official bi-lingual Province in Canada. I grew up to signs in both languages and couldn't understand the big hoopla about posting bilingual signs in Ontario.
post #96 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
But American English is much more homogeneous than the Queen's English. There is less difference between an Arkansan and a New Yorker than there is between two fairly close sections of London. I suspect, however, that even those differences are dying due to exposure to national TV and radio.
You've got that right! I really suspect that it's partly due to people in the "New World" being more willing to relocate. I have (had) South American colleagues who complain about the number of different dialects in Spain.
post #97 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by nanner View Post
Me too!!!!! I've tried to explain to people why the former doesn't make any sense, and no one seems to get it!
Me three! That's bothered me since I was a child. Of course try explaining that to other children...
post #98 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Most American spellings are much more practical than English spellings (remember "tyre" and "kerb?").
I don't agree, for a start, the american spellings of those words are just recycled english words.
TIRE - to become tired
CURB - curb your enthusiasm

I also think there are slight, perhaps microscopic pronounciation differences, I can hear them though maybe its my imagination. I agree that the spelling changes were an attempt to separate America from England. Pretty poor attempt though, why not develop a new language if its that important...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
But American English is much more homogeneous than the Queen's English. There is less difference between an Arkansan and a New Yorker than there is between two fairly close sections of London. I suspect, however, that even those differences are dying due to exposure to national TV and radio.
So far as the language differing from one area of London to the other, this is a regional difference, slang, and definitely not the Queen's English, which remains the Queen's English wherever you go. Unfortunately, a lot of people in England, mainly youth, are becoming Americanised in their language nowadays because of films and tv. It takes some effort, or just regular reading of English literature to maintain good English. Something which I myself regularly have to pick myself up on.
post #99 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
There's no such distinction to be made, except by your own judgement. What you consider "ignorance" or "carelessness" are someone else's societal evolution or enhancing of expression.
With all due respect, I think there's a very clear distinction: for example, adding new terms to a language (e.g., the verb google) is fundamentally different from merely giving in on formerly unacceptable spellings (e.g., alright instead of all right). "Google" serves a function society has come to require, so that use makes sense... but dropping an L and a space out of "all right" surely cannot be said to enhance expression!

You said people don't set out to change language -- but in an official sense, that's exactly the role the usage panels serve. They can decide that a change has occurred and incorporate it into the dictionaries so that it becomes standard. But they can (and sometimes do) refuse to validate the sillier trends that come along... for which I am grateful! Heaven help us if some usage panel ever decides that it's acceptable to write 2 for to and 4 for for. We may not be able to keep people from doing it, but we don't have to make it officially correct!

Z, I know this is your field of expertise, and I sincerely admire that -- but I love the language so much that I can't help having some strong feelings of my own about these issues... and it's certainly not the only area in which I come into conflict with accepted standards. Absolutely no disrespect is intended.
post #100 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by joyzerelly View Post
I don't agree, for a start, the american spellings of those words are just recycled english words.
TIRE - to become tired
CURB - curb your enthusiasm

I also think there are slight, perhaps microscopic pronounciation differences, I can hear them though maybe its my imagination. I agree that the spelling changes were an attempt to separate America from England. Pretty poor attempt though, why not develop a new language if its that important...



So far as the language differing from one area of London to the other, this is a regional difference, slang, and definitely not the Queen's English, which remains the Queen's English wherever you go. Unfortunately, a lot of people in England, mainly youth, are becoming Americanised in their language nowadays because of films and tv. It takes some effort, or just regular reading of English literature to maintain good English. Something which I myself regularly have to pick myself up on.

Maybe it makes me a snob, but I don't think the English language should be so "ized" as it is today. I've always corrected our daughter on her grammar and spelling and I proudly say that today she is much more well-spoken than most of her friends and she's thankful to me for that.
post #101 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
With all due respect, I think there's a very clear distinction: for example, adding new terms to a language (e.g., the verb google) is fundamentally different from merely giving in on formerly unacceptable spellings (e.g., alright instead of all right). "Google" serves a function society has come to require, so that use makes sense... but dropping an L and a space out of "all right" surely cannot be said to enhance expression!

You said people don't set out to change language -- but in an official sense, that's exactly the role the usage panels serve. They can decide that a change has occurred and incorporate it into the dictionaries so that it becomes standard. But they can (and sometimes do) refuse to validate the sillier trends that come along... for which I am grateful! Heaven help us if some usage panel ever decides that it's acceptable to write 2 for to and 4 for for. We may not be able to keep people from doing it, but we don't have to make it officially correct!

Z, I know this is your field of expertise, and I sincerely admire that -- but I love the language so much that I can't help having some strong feelings of my own about these issues... and it's certainly not the only area in which I come into conflict with accepted standards. Absolutely no disrespect is intended.
I don't feel disrespected! You're a prescriptivist, and that's okay. It's just a different way of looking at things than any linguist has.

Usage panels describe the changes that have already occurred; they have no ability to cause them. And as you said, whether it's "correct" or not, people still do it. It is possible to influence the standard for formal, written language; but I'm not very concerned with that.

Changes like "all right" to "alright" are just orthography. There's no actual change in language there at all. It's still the same word, with the same meaning, the same usage, etc.

In other words... prescriptivism has a place in grading children's papers for correct spellings and usages so that they can learn the accepted ways of spelling and such. However, prescriptivists can't study language because you can't have preconceived notions of what you're studying. That would be like a biologist studying dolphins with the idea that there's no way a mammal can live in water, concluding that the dolphin therefore is "wrong", and publishing a paper that says dolphins shouldn't exist, rather than ever actually studying the dolphin.

You can't describe change if you're too busy trying to stop it.
post #102 of 113
Yosemite,
It took me so long to work out the word being censored.
post #103 of 113
Has anyone ever been corrected for spelling a word correctly? I had someone tell me it's "definately" not "definitely".
post #104 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by cata_mint View Post
Yosemite,
It took me so long to work out the word being censored.
I'm still not getting it?
post #105 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConsumerKitty View Post
Has anyone ever been corrected for spelling a word correctly? I had someone tell me it's "definately" not "definitely".
I hope you made them look it up in a dictionary (in this case either Webster or Oxford ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie1965 View Post
I'm still not getting it?
The son of an unmarried lady plus "ized".
post #106 of 113
I can't study language? Uhoh! I've been doing it all my life! Are they coming to get me?

How much subtlety of mind does it really take to grasp two seemingly opposed concepts at once? I can juggle the concepts of "mammal" and "breathing underwater" quite handily! So I reserve my right to study dolphins. And language. So there!

Hon, I just have to say... despite the impression you've gotten, I am not a "prescriptivist." I see many shades of grey. I have an open mind. I appreciate the fluidity of language, and I can do a great deal more with it than grade children's papers.

But if there are no rules, it's not a language -- it's a knife fight! (Reference: Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.) You have to learn how to write by the rules, or you have no platform from which to begin departing from those rules in the name of creative license.

Maybe it's a good thing I chose not to go into academia, huh?
post #107 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
I worked for a while as a purchasing clerk at AAFES. My boss had me type a letter in which she misused affect/effect. It was something like, "We need to affect these changes immediately." I corrected it, and she brought the finished letter back to me to retype the way she wanted it. I explained the rule to her, told her why "effect" was correct, but she still made me type it with the wrong word.
Actually, I thought that "affect" meant "to produce an effect or change in" - as in "The extra carbohydrates affected my energy level." So wouldn't "affect these changes" be correct if she meant to cause an effect in the changes?
post #108 of 113
It would if that were the intention, and therein lies a potential problem... but usually, people say they're going to "effect these changes" as in make them effective.

But you're right, if you wanted to say something was going to cause a change in the changes, you'd want to say it would affect the changes. In order to avoid being misunderstood, you'd probably want to word it differently -- to say it would "have an effect on the changes."

Makes your head spin sometimes!
post #109 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
I
How much subtlety of mind does it really take to grasp two seemingly opposed concepts at once? I can juggle the concepts of "mammal" and "breathing underwater" quite handily! So I reserve my right to study dolphins. And language. So there!

But if there are no rules, it's not a language -- it's a knife fight! (Reference: Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.) You have to learn how to write by the rules, or you have no platform from which to begin departing from those rules in the name of creative license.
1) You've completely misunderstood the analogy I made. If you go into studying something with preconceived notions of what it should be like, you're going to miss what actually is. Science is about describing what is, not saying what shouldn't be because it's "wrong". I didn't mean that the idea of a dolphin was too complicated.

2) There are tons of rules; thus my distinction between grammatical and ungrammatical. It's true that if there were no rules then there would be no language. But the rules of language never need to be taught (and let me emphasis once again that I am talking about speech, not formal, written essays). People never say something that is ungrammatical to them naturally, except when they make a mistake.

If you're interested, this is one of the books we use in the intro classes here, it's novel-sized so not a huge endeavor, and explains what I'm talking about better than I can here.
post #110 of 113
Yes, I think we're both misunderstanding each other, and I think it's because we have fundamentally opposing attitudes. Tomayto, tomahto, let's call the whole thing off and stick to cats!
post #111 of 113
I am a spelling bug, I always find mistakes in books...my grammar probably isn't the greatest though

The loose and lose thing drives me BUGGY, ALSO it's GRATEFUL...NOT GREATFUL
post #112 of 113
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSmith0385 View Post
Actually, I thought that "affect" meant "to produce an effect or change in" - as in "The extra carbohydrates affected my energy level." So wouldn't "affect these changes" be correct if she meant to cause an effect in the changes?
It would...if that was what she wanted to say.

However, she wanted to say that they needed to cause the changes to occur immediately.

And no, she couldn't see the distinction, either.
post #113 of 113
These may have already been mentioned, but a few that really bug me are:

weather - whether

sense - since

definite - various misspellings
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