school systems that allow kids to base their identity on knowledge of obscure rules of language usage have failed those students

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ah people are saying "less" when they should say "fewer"? well whaddya know according to the stylebook you can mind your own fucking business about it!

"misusing" the english language is a thing that angers fash and liberals in about equal measure and yet liberals still think that being mad about it makes them better than fash

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there can never be rules of english usage that the great unwashed masses of english speakers are unaware of, by definition; the language has no essential reality beyond the usage of its people

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@parenthetical none of these people ever say "count noun" or "mass noun" and I'm not sure what they think is even going on with the rule they're prescribing

@parenthetical although that assumes that a language is a monolith which all the speakers use similarly

nothing is farther from truth with a world language like english

more accurate would be to say that there can never be a single rule of english that every speaker of english would be aware of

@Stoori which part of

"has no essential reality"

means

"is a monolith which all the speakers use similarly"

@parenthetical none of that, but quite a lot of ”there can never be rules of english usage that the great unwashed masses of english speakers are unaware of”

@Stoori yeah because english isn't a thing with independently existing rules. uniformity's not a criterion because i'm denying an entity, not positing one.

@parenthetical we agree on the first part, then. but it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that there wouldn't be *any* rules that the majority of language users (or, as you put it, ”the great unwashed masses”) are not aware of

rules used by linguistic minorities are rules, too

@Stoori i mean my entire point is that a rule of usage is nothing but a descriptive statement about how people use the language.

i feel like you're trying to make this a claim about universality when it just isn't. it's just descriptively true that there are lots of speech communities with distinct rules.

@Stoori "unaware" was probably a bad choice of words on my part, though. people are often unaware of rules that they have no difficulty following.

@parenthetical i agree in that language is not universal and it's instead an emergent feature of cognitive and functional processes. universalist and prescriptive claims have done a lot of harm to linguistics and to people's perceptions of what languages are.

so yeah, i guess we are in agreement, and i probably overreacted when i saw a far-flung argument. it sounded like you were writing off language as a constantly evolving system by saying that there can't be rules that the majority know

@Stoori yeah i think we agree as well. i probably could have phrased my point better

@parenthetical I'm not a native speaker and when an anglo tells me I should have used "fewer" because it's countable, I ask them what the countable counterpart to "more" is.

@parenthetical

Yea I couldn't care fewer about the people that get mad about this stuff.

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