In Going nuclear over nucular, Andy Lamey sticks up for George W. Bush’s pronunciation, but not his policies. I have been guilty of considering myself superior because I noticed someone’s grammatical mistake, but Lamey makes a good point. Language is evolutionary and those who refuse to change are not necessarily correct. I have resolved to pay less attention to others’ grammar and be more careful with my own.
(via vagrant grammar)
Update: Remind me to never link to nationalpost.com again. They only leave articles online for 14 days and then the link dies and you have to pay to read it. Guaranteed link rot.
Here’s a snippet of the article.
Language bullying — or prescriptivism, as it’s more politely called — is conservative in the worst sense. It advances a stuffy and old-fashioned view of language, the rules of which it considers set by supposed experts, such as the authors of grammar books, rather than common usage. It is deeply anti-populist and snobby, not to mention just plain wrong and cranky. There are good reasons to criticize Bush. But holding his — or anyone else’s — grammar to dubious standards isn’t one of them.
I suspect many of Bush’s critics would want to avoid the distasteful varieties of prescriptivism that amount to little more than “white speech good, black speech bad.” But once we “go nuclear” on “nucular,” it’s hard to see how different we are from prescriptivists who sneer at the inventiveness of non-standard English. Lots of people other than Bush say “nucular.” It even follows its own rhetorical logic, grafting on to “nuclear” the common ending found in “particular” and “spectacular.” When a phrase meets those conditions, I’d say it’s no longer a matter of blunt right and wrong, but standard and non-standard. And that difference is best captured in the linguist’s quip that a language is a dialect with a navy.
And what’s with blogspot’s screwy archives? I googled for the article and found five results. One called his site a weblog, but without permanent links or archives, it is gone except for the google cache. A blogspot blog that had archives has a permanent link, but it’s currently broken. The closest thing to a permanent link is The Raven, a salon blog that at least has a link to the day, but not the actual post. Why does blogspot intentionally create invalid links? Why don’t they create the archive at the same time they create the original link, and simply update the archive when a new entry is posted?
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