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Insanity Central
Fighting the good fight against the forces of chaos, one day at a time.
kind of sad that... 
14th-Nov-2010 05:31 pm
...my first foray through my friends list, and first post, in months should just be a re-linking, but as a person who makes something of a living doing language-y things, I just had to say:

This. So this.

Summed up perfectly by one quote if you don't want to make with the clicky:

Not only is grammar correcting just plain rude, it’s soaked in classism, regional chauvinism, and privilege.
14th-Nov-2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
Not only is grammar correcting just plain rude, it’s soaked in classism, regional chauvinism, and privilege.

Taking the quote completely out of context, I'd have to say that I usually agree, but there are exceptions based on the circumstances, and is very much a "know your audience" kind of correction. I don't appreciate it when people correct my Danish grammar, because usually the error was just a matter of me misspeaking or being lazy with my language, and I do know better, but I'm very grateful when people (usually here) take the time to point out mistakes obviously made out of ignorance (so not of the a/an variety), as it's the only way I'll learn, and it's so far only been done kindly.

But that is definitely the exception rather than the rule, so generally speaking, I agree with the quote.
14th-Nov-2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure on this. While I'd agree that on correcting more nuanced things like split infinitives or ending sentences with prepositions really reeks of "I have a better education and am therefore better than you," there's a certain amount of grammatical laziness that seriously irks me. If I read "i relly liek ur stuf its rediculous cool," that's not a matter of regionalism, it's someone who can't be assed to put any effort into communication with me and usually comes from my exact background and demographic (middle class, Midwestern, white, school-educated). I'm not sure it's classist to say "seriously, I know you had a goddamned English teacher and she wanted to smack you when you talked like this..."

People who use "whatev, cuz that E.E. Cummings (yes, I've seen them capitalize that and only that in a sentence...) guy din't use grammar," completely miss the point that he knew the rules he broke and did it for effect.

I view rules of grammar the same way I view rules of etiquette: they exist to create reasonably consistent and smooth interactions between people and using them any other way is petty. There's a convention in manners that says that you never humiliate someone for an honest mistake by calling out a lapse, but if someone is really standing out you determine if it's ignorance of the rules (you provide discreet corrective advice at a later date), or deliberately breaking them to make a point (you let it pass unmentioned and consider their statement and method at leisure), or being too lazy to care (you provide clear, firm statements of your expectations). If I call out bad grammar these days, it's usually for the last reason, the "I know you should know better and you just don't care enough about what you're saying to me to put effort into it."

Much love,
14th-Nov-2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
What the original article refers to is primarily grammar correction during conversations, which is just insatiable rude, IMHO, regardless (or dare I say, IRREGARDLESS!) of whether the person is a native speaker or not. If I catch non-native speakers whom I know to be actively working at improving their English in some meaning-damaging error, I'll help guide them to a correct(er) utterance.

It also irritates the living hell out of me whenever I hear someone of a privileged class and color referring to African American Vernacular English as "bad grammar" or "lazy speech", as that just makes smoke come out of my ears and want to start beating them with my various textbooks on the topic.
14th-Nov-2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
And I did mean to write "incredibly", not "insatiable". My brain is having slight malfunction issues due to the resurgence of the sinus beasties. :P
14th-Nov-2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, don't even...EVEN get me stated on the racism/classism/snootyism that surrounds someone who speaks "White" Standard American English "correcting" or "slamming" a speaker of or the existence of Black Vernacular English. OMGGGG SO MUCH RAGE.
15th-Nov-2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, your icon pretty much sums it.
15th-Nov-2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Also, I am so stealing the word "snootyism".
14th-Nov-2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
Also, in reply to this, I am reminded of when I saw Neil Gaiman doing a reading. He was telling the story of when he took an elocution class to do better at public readings, and once during class tried affecting some strange speech pattern. His teacher, some darling little old lady with a steel spine and a sharp tongue, said, "Neil, dear, before one can be eccentric, one must first know where the circle *is*."
16th-Nov-2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
That's pretty funny. And I learned something, I think :)
17th-Nov-2010 06:06 am (UTC)
LOL, language and geometry all in one sharp tongued old lady!
14th-Nov-2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
So the new BBC Sherlock, have you seen it? At one point during the last episode Sherlock is shown ruthlessly correcting the grammar of a british guy on trial for killing his girlfriend in Belarus. And the writers are obviously trying to make the point that he's such a sociopathic high-functioning autistic spectrum whatever etc., and an asshole, but...

...but it made me terribly uncomfortable. Because it was so classically classist, and I would have hoped that the BBC knew better?
14th-Nov-2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
Are you kidding me? We're talking about the perpetuators of RP British English...

I mean, in most other European countries, your accent tells other native speakers something about what part of the country you're from. In England, it tells them about your social class, and YOU WILL BE JUDGED FOR IT. Lars' former advisor is thrilled that his daughter now speaks daughter with a perfect American accent, as it wouldn't get her judged as badly in the UK than if, say, she worked on the East End for a summer and picked up *that* accent. Srsly.
14th-Nov-2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
It's pretty nasty in other countries, too. France, for example: there's the Parisians, and the provincials. And woe to anyone from Quebec, or god forbid Africa or the Caribbean.

But yes, Britain and accents. It really hurt to see a modern, re-envisioned Sherlock Holmes cheerfully indulging in that sort of ugliness--and worse, because I don't think that's specifically the kind of asshole the writers wanted us to believe he is?
15th-Nov-2010 11:52 am (UTC)
As a Sherlock Holmes fan, I agree. He's definitely an asshole in some respects and a bloody know-it-all on many points, but I believe he would consider grammar correction to be not worth his time, unless it was vital to solving a case.
15th-Nov-2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
Unless he just got onto a cocaine-fueled grammar rant. I could totally see him doing that.
15th-Nov-2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
Less so in Germany, probably because of there being more regional variation that's not associated with any prestige factors.
15th-Nov-2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Very nice post. In the ensuing Wikipedia wandring (at 4 in the morning, stupid jetlag), I stumbled upon this interesting piece that gives a hint as to why Americans are often seen as stupid and arrogant at the same time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect#Cross-cultural_variation

I have to wonder how much the education system is to blame for that, and how much other cultural factors (inasmuch the two can be separated).
16th-Nov-2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
I added u on twitter but you didnt approve me... ::sad face:: I'm hvelreki on twitter.
18th-Nov-2010 09:44 am (UTC)
Actually what I find annoying about people finding out I`m a teacher isn`t grammar. They ask me to comment on what their children`s teacher do.
18th-Nov-2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this.

Will certainly be sharing this link on the ole' FB.
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