How Prescriptivism’s hidden class bias destroys understanding

In French there is a feature called liaison whereby the final consonant of only certain words and word combinations attach themselves to the following word beginning with a vowel. Most of us non-native speakers tend, at least initially, to rely on the spelling. BUT, native speakers who are illiterate and of any social class make liaison; it is universal.

Now with all my books on the history of the Romance Languages (Elcock, Burciez, even Pope and Wartburg on French itself), you’d think I would know the origin of this phenomenon. But I can at this point only guess that it results from the final consonants inherited from Latin disappearing except before vowels.
So it is quite fascinating that this happens without the sounds having any visual i.e. written representation for the speaker, i.e. an illiterate person. Where the disappointing failure of Prescriptivism comes in is that most Prescriptivists are dismissive of the language ability of pre-literate and non-literate and illiterate speakers, esp of languages not reduced to writing. If you tell them a phenomenon of language that occurs among uneducated people they will dismiss it based on the mistaken idea so typical of Prescriptivists that anyone who does not follow their rules has no rules.
And here is where linguistics comes in and why Prescriptivists so hate linguistics: linguists have shown that the pre-, non-, and illiterate speakers follow rules as closely as the most highly educated, highly literate speaker does. They are unaware of the rules, which makes their total consistency so wonderful, but Prescriptivists are incapable of appreciating that wonder, they are so busy shoring up the superiority of the literate nations and classes. William Labov even titled his break-through paper on Black English “The Logic of Non-Standard English.” A title like that is an oxymoron to Prescriptivists – anything that does not conform to their standards is by definition formless.
Too bad/

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