Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

This is our main forum. Here, anything related to languages and linguistics can be discussed.

Moderator: Forum Administrators

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 24311
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-22, 19:39

Marah wrote:
linguoboy wrote:To take one example: that vs which in relative clauses. I'd never heard of this "rule" until my first year of college, when one of my professors mentioned it to me and suggested I observe it. I took it for what it was: a stylistic guideline. Since then, however, I've met people who learned it as inviolable and look upon any deviation as wronger than wrong

You mean that both "The time machine, which looked like a telephone booth, concerned Bill and Ted." and
"The time machine that looked like a telephone booth concerned Bill and Ted."

meant the same thing to you before hearing about the rule?

No, because in one case the relative clause is set off by commas and in the other it isn't.

Do "Let's eat, Grandma!" and "Let's eat Grandma!" mean the same thing to you?
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 24311
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-22, 19:49

Youngfun wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Oh, I don't agree. That's one of the factors which makes prescriptivist arguments so contentious: everyone learned the One True English at school, and none of these varieties are quite the same.

English as L2 taught at school in Italy is not better. I wrote some examples here.

Maybe we need a separate topic on phantom rules?

What exactly is the "three adverb rule" anyway?
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
OldBoring
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 6017
Joined: 2012-12-08, 7:19
Real Name: Francesco
Gender: male
Location: Milan
Country: IT Italy (Italia)
Contact:

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby OldBoring » 2014-07-22, 19:50

With "just, already, never" we must use the present perfect.

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 24311
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-22, 19:55

Youngfun wrote:With "just, already, never" we must use the present perfect.

Gotcha. At first I thought this was some imaginary rule which capped the number of adverbs in a sentence at three.

I imagine this is a rule for some speakers, just not all Brits or most Americans. I basically had to learn it myself when I taught English in Germany.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
JackFrost
Forum Administrator
Posts: 16240
Joined: 2004-11-08, 21:00
Real Name: Jack Frost
Gender: male
Location: Montréal, Québec
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby JackFrost » 2014-07-23, 0:42

linguoboy wrote:Thought of another one: The prescriptive rule states that the subject of a gerund be expressed as a possessive pronoun. But colloquially the objective form is preferred, and I see no reason not to accept this. E.g.:

Formal written standard: He snuck in without my noticing.
Colloquial: He snuck in without me noticing.

Seriously? Yep, not going to change my habit of writing.

Mostly because "my noticing" sounds just wrong to me.

And "snuck" isn't exactly formal either, but who cares.

loqu wrote:
JackFrost wrote:Yes. And?

I daresay he's mistaken or is remembering something else.

Or maybe books of French as a second language are more descriptive than books of French for natives.

lol You're forgetting that I'm not native.

And it's possible that I'm wrong and I'm confusing la voiture à Julien with ce voiture est à Julien. I wouldn't understand why any language would select two different prepositions for those two sentences.

That's what I'm thinking you might be remembering. Teaching "x est à y" is taught in books, but "x à y" is something I've never encountered as I don't really expect books, except one here and another there, to teach learners a great deal of colloquialisms.

Although the "x à y" construction has been part of French for centuries much to the dismay of prescriptivists who are still unable to eliminate that construction from speech. I know which book to look up to explain why French ends up having two prepositions to denote possession, but it's at the library now, not in my room. :oops:
Neferuj paħujkij!

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5631
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Novi Sad
Country: RS Serbia (Србија)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby Saim » 2014-07-23, 8:09

loqu wrote:I was thinking about this today - and what would you say, Saim, about divergences from the normative that don't have anything to do with Spanish? And I mean... would you accept gerunds like beguent, moguent, visquent? Or using duguem, diguem, coneguem for the indicative mood.

I know they are a natural step in language evolution but it sounds wrong to me. :?


Good example, because I say beguent, moguent and visquent all the time. :lol: I can understand someone aesthetically not liking it, but in terms of media and education I don't see why not let those forms in. I actually think it's good to get people exposed to different dialectal forms, a strict standard is not the only way to maintain understanding between a bunch of dialects.

User avatar
loqu
Posts: 11835
Joined: 2007-08-15, 21:12
Real Name: Daniel
Gender: male
Location: Sevilla [seˈβiʝa] (Andalucía), born in Cádiz [ˈkaði]

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby loqu » 2014-07-23, 14:22

But AFAIK those are not dialectal, which makes me think they are just natural evolution of the whole language, much to my dismay. They are similarly common in Catalonia and the Valencian Land, don't know about Balears or l'Alguer.

Also the phenomenon of people using subjunctive forms for the indicative may point out to the close disappearance of the subjunctive mood altogether. I mean people saying sentences like Tu i jo encara no ens coneguem or also Com li digueu a això? (both taken from native Valencians on Facebook or Twitter this week). Are sentences like these ones also usual in Catalonia?
Dir la veritat sempre és revolucionari.

User avatar
Levike
Posts: 6153
Joined: 2013-04-22, 19:26
Real Name: Levi
Gender: male
Location: Budapest
Country: HU Hungary (Magyarország)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby Levike » 2014-07-23, 15:09

Or maybe it's moving towards the direction of Romanian did?

The only thing pointing to the subjunctive is the word "să" which is like "que" in Spanish.
Apart from that only 3rd person verbs change their ending.
Nem egy nap alatt épült Buda vára.

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24952
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Yuanlin, Changhua County
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)
Contact:

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-26, 0:31

Maybe I'm just not following you here, but I don't think has anything to do with the subjunctive in Romanian. There are a bunch of languages in the Balkans that have no infinitives, and Romanian is one of them. (Greek, Romani, Albanian, and to some extent BCS are a few others).

User avatar
Levike
Posts: 6153
Joined: 2013-04-22, 19:26
Real Name: Levi
Gender: male
Location: Budapest
Country: HU Hungary (Magyarország)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby Levike » 2014-07-26, 10:54

@vijayjohn

Sorry, Romanian does have an infinitive and we do use it.

And să is a part of the Romanian subjunctive, it never appears without it.
Nem egy nap alatt épült Buda vára.

User avatar
Marah
Posts: 3015
Joined: 2011-06-03, 17:01
Real Name: Jonathan
Gender: male
Country: FR France (France)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby Marah » 2014-07-26, 11:18

Another prescriptive thing in French that I don't like at all is "après que", if you were to follow the rules you should use the indicative after "J'ai mangé une pomme après que je suis rentré chez moi"
However, this just sounds wrong to me and a lot of people and most people use the subjunctive
"J'ai mangé une pomme après que je sois rentré chez moi".

Some decide to avoid this construction altogether since "après que + ind" sounds awkward but "après que + subj" is frowned upon by prescriptivists. :?
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24952
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Yuanlin, Changhua County
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)
Contact:

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-26, 16:19

Levike wrote:@vijayjohn

Sorry, Romanian does have an infinitive and we do use it.

And să is a part of the Romanian subjunctive, it never appears without it.

No need for you to apologize; you're not the one who made the mistakes here. :D I'm the one who should apologize!
Marah wrote:Another prescriptive thing in French that I don't like at all is "après que", if you were to follow the rules you should use the indicative after "J'ai mangé une pomme après que je suis rentré chez moi"
However, this just sounds wrong to me and a lot of people and most people use the subjunctive
"J'ai mangé une pomme après que je sois rentré chez moi".

Some decide to avoid this construction altogether since "après que + ind" sounds awkward but "après que + subj" is frowned upon by prescriptivists. :?

Huh, that's interesting. I learned that rule of using the indicative, too (probably from french.about.com :P).

Could you also say "après être" in this context? "J'ai mangé une pomme après être rentré chez moi"?

User avatar
Marah
Posts: 3015
Joined: 2011-06-03, 17:01
Real Name: Jonathan
Gender: male
Country: FR France (France)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby Marah » 2014-07-26, 16:28

Yes, you could and it sounds much better. :)
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

User avatar
JackFrost
Forum Administrator
Posts: 16240
Joined: 2004-11-08, 21:00
Real Name: Jack Frost
Gender: male
Location: Montréal, Québec
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby JackFrost » 2014-07-26, 18:04

Oh god, yes... it's easier and smoother to use "après + avoir/être + participe passé" than that damn prescribed "après que + indicatif" construction.

I think I will just use the subjunctive there as another thing to add to the "standard rules that I refuse to respect" list.
Neferuj paħujkij!

User avatar
pittmirg
Posts: 737
Joined: 2008-06-11, 7:37
Gender: male
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby pittmirg » 2014-07-26, 22:33

Some prescriptive rules in Polish that I tend to consciously ignore:

- the accusative of the feminine demonstrative pronoun should be rather than ; in my experience, very few people acquire such a form naturally in their childhood. Really, leave it for the poets, high-falutin novelists and such.

- the past tense verbs in 1pl, 2pl should be stressed on the third-to-last syllable; this is because their endings used to behave more like clitics but nowadays they are being reanalyzed as true suffixes and automatically getting a penultimate stress as expected in Polish

- you may not form the past tense with the auxiliary particle że, thus dividing the otherwise often lengthy plural verbs into two words and permitting a better flow of the speech

- the infinitive of the verb 'to take' should be wziąć rather than wziąść. The latter form is however what I have acquired naturally. It is etymologically unexpected yet common.
Last edited by pittmirg on 2014-07-26, 22:37, edited 1 time in total.
Śnieg, zawierucha w nas

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24952
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Yuanlin, Changhua County
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)
Contact:

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-07-26, 22:34

Marah wrote:Yes, you could and it sounds much better. :)

JackFrost wrote:Oh god, yes... it's easier and smoother to use "après + avoir/être + participe passé" than that damn prescribed "après que + indicatif" construction.

Thanks! And by the way...
JackFrost wrote:"my noticing" sounds just wrong to me.

It sounds like Indian English to me. :lol:

lazyaficionado
Posts: 167
Joined: 2013-05-24, 18:41
Gender: male

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby lazyaficionado » 2014-07-27, 8:44

Marah wrote:"J'ai mangé une pomme après que je sois rentré chez moi".


Why would you use subjonctif if the meaning is clearly indicative? Is it an analogy of "avant que + subj"? I'd thought such a tense like subjonctif would be dying out, like in English or German.

raoul2
Posts: 87
Joined: 2006-07-12, 23:28
Real Name: raoul2
Gender: male
Location: FR
Country: FR France (France)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby raoul2 » 2014-07-27, 9:50

lazyaficionado wrote:
Why would you use subjonctif if the meaning is clearly indicative? Is it an analogy of "avant que + subj"? I'd thought such a tense like subjonctif would be dying out, like in English or German.


Subjonctif is not dying out, I use it everyday (il faut que j'y aille). I met only one speaker in my lifetime who does not use it.

User avatar
Marah
Posts: 3015
Joined: 2011-06-03, 17:01
Real Name: Jonathan
Gender: male
Country: FR France (France)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby Marah » 2014-07-27, 11:11

lazyaficionado wrote:Why would you use subjonctif if the meaning is clearly indicative? Is it an analogy of "avant que + subj"? I'd thought such a tense like subjonctif would be dying out, like in English or German.

As you said it probably comes from "avant que + subj". The subjunctive tense in French, while not as widespread as in languages like Spanish or Italian, is far from dying out.
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

User avatar
pittmirg
Posts: 737
Joined: 2008-06-11, 7:37
Gender: male
Country: PL Poland (Polska)

Re: Descriptivist rage - When do you decide to ignore the rules?

Postby pittmirg » 2014-07-27, 13:53

Subjunctive-wise, the Germanic tongues are but a faint reverberance after all while the Romance ones are the very heart of darkness...
Śnieg, zawierucha w nas


Return to “General Language Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yasna and 1 guest