It’s not ’disagree’; it’s ’not understand’

Examine this post:

….Unfortunately I am not a native speaker, but sometimes I

think that helps me out because as David stated before 90% of my English

speaking students (myself included) answer the HOW ARE YOU question with

I’M GOOD! I feel it’s my job to educate them on the correct manner of

speaking and then when they get to the streets they can use and learn

ALL the slang they want!

This is probably one of those issues where we’ll all have to agree to

disagree, but I will continue to teach the grammar rules to my students

both NATIVE and NON-NATIVE speakers of the Spanish language. …..

This is a good example of where someone simply doesn’t understand the issues. Her first assumption is that replying ’good’ to ’how are you’ is not correct and is slang. We have been through this many times on most of these Lists and the members still do not understand that they are trying to enforce rules that no one uses consciously except in prepared situations. In fact, most of these people will violate the “rules” themselves; they excuse it by saying they were being informal.

They were not being informal; they were speaking the common, everyday language. We use the sort of grammar and pronunciation they call ’formal’ only on formal occasions, when we think about the form of what we are saying. At work we use neither formal nor informal language but something appropriate to the social milieu. The writer does not know the definition of ’slang’. So here she is using a word incorrectly. Shouldn’t someone correct her? Not me!

The writer says earlier in the post that she uses the Academy judgments among other things for determining the rules in Spanish. Nowhere does she display any understanding that these rules are derived by committee. Great writers violate such rules all the time. Only pedants follow them strictly, pedants and sometimes editors…. and school teachers. The rest of the world goes on using the language, figuring out what is “correct” or “incorrect” by how it is received by their peers.

It is just this judgment and understanding of peer group processes that the grammar mavens do not possess. Language as a living thing in the process of growing is too risky a proposition for them; they want RULES! Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *