How to present to linguistically naive professionals

I have a whole lot to say but to me the first thing to recognize is the BARRIERS to understanding, the main one of which is the misconceptions about language itself and the befuddlement attendant to the silly shibbolethic approach to language perpetuated in our school systems and even in linguistic-free university environments (humanities, foreign language, English, social sciences).
SO, the gorilla in the room is written language. Most of the language “rules” people learn have to do with formal written English. Many professors of English composition do not realize that their students are receiving the message that ONLY formal written English usage is GOOD English. An example: after many years of hearing high school students tell me that contractions were “improper”, it finally dawned on me that their English teachers had corrected contractions to the full form in their formal written papers without fully explaining (or the kids weren’t listening….. could that be?) that this applies only to formal written English.
Clarify for your audience first that many of the rules we see emphasized in any language have to do with formal written language and the colloquial or everyday spoken language is replete with forms that are prohibited in the formal written language. Many languages use verb tenses in writing, for instance, that are never used in speech e.g. French passe simple, Russian participles, etc.

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