Wednesday, February 03, 2010

OUP blog ... what we owe prescriptivists

Lately, for whatever reason, we haven't been posting on peevology and related matters. Maybe it's the passing of William 'Bill' Safire. Or maybe the flood of serious language science and bizarre dog-bites-person language stuff that we have been posting about. Whatevs.

But this morning I happened to check in on the Oxford University Press blog and read a piece by Alexandra D'Arcy, one of the best young sociolinguists out there, which had me pondering all day. She attributes her becoming a linguist to her seriously prescriptivist grandmother, and draws a nice connection here:
Grandmother’s love for language endures. Its form is different but the substance is the same. Grandmother taught me to revere the spoken word. I do. She taught me to heed not only the content but also the form. I do. She also taught me that not everybody speaks the same way. And it is this fundamental truth that makes me excited to go to work every day.
But what kept me thinking all day was that last line, that something about language makes her excited to go to work every day. I know a lot of people who do a lot of things, but it's almost only the linguists I know who talk about how we are excited to do what we do. And by god, we are.

PS: Read the comments to that post to see a maven shoot themself in the foot.

Image from here.


mighty red pen said...

What a beautiful column, thanks for sharing it. But hey, where can I get some of those pendant points?!

Mr. Verb said...

Thanks. I'm actually thinking that Team Verb will award Pendant Points as a kind of linguistic Darwin Award!

Faldone said...

I'm familiar enough with mollymooly's comments at LL to believe that it was just a simple typo and not up to the level of foot-shooting.

Mr. Verb said...

Ahhh, well, maybe a typo, but then an inspiring typo ... I'm still liking the idea of pendant points.