Wednesday, March 07, 2012

OMG, Syntactic Chaos!!!

So Science Times published an article on creaky voice in girl culture (here) last week.  I have this obsession with Science Times (okay, tangent: they're usually so wrong on language that I really shouldn't accept anything they say about other sciences, but I still hafta read it), so just now I was reading the letters to the editor in the section.  I can do nothing else than reproduce this letter in its entirety:
Re "They're, Like, Way Ahead of the Linguistic Currrve" ...: For huge pluralities of Americans under 40, English is littered with qualifiers: not just "like," but "you know," "sort of," and "I mean."  When combined with "uptalk," these phrases are effectively a social taboo against expressing certainty, commitment or confidence in anything we say.
Linguists caution against "forming negative judgments," but the rest of us are alarmed at this syntactic chaos.  English teachers, at the front lines, seem to have abandoned the teaching of the cultivation of grace and clarity in our speech, and therefore in our thoughts.
Well, thank some deity or other it's the English teachers' fault!!!

(Image from here)

1 comment:

Jonathon said...

I love the irony of blaming English teachers for "syntactic chaos" that has nothing to do with syntax. Obviously the problem is larger than we thought.