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


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"


"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.


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

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