Essay about Prescriptive Approach Vs Descriptive Approach to Language

Essay about Prescriptive Approach Vs Descriptive Approach to Language

Length: 723 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

French grammarian, Dominique Bonhours, proved on his deathbed that a
grammarians work is never done when he gazed at those around his
deathbed and whispered, "I am about to- or I am going to- die; either
expression is used." Language is in a constant state of flux and there
is always controversy to changes in and attitudes towards language.
This is not something new, as it was the Romans that said the Vikings
speech sounded like the 'cawing of crows' because of their harsh
guttural sounds. The English language has evolved remarkably. The
Great Vowel Shift between 1400 and 1700 shows a great discontinuity in
pronunciation alone. Different attitudes towards language reached a
height during the 17th and 18th Centuries with Prescriptivists such as
Defoe, Swift and Louth. Prescriptivists believe that there is an
approach which sets out rules for what is regarded as correct in
language. Some prescriptivist rules for English include not splitting
infinitives, resulting in sentences such as 'to go boldly where no man
has gone before', rather than 'to boldly go'. The rationale behind
this was because the Latin infinitive is a single word, and so the
equivalent English construction should also be treated as if it were a
single unit. Prescriptivists rules include such things as 'bad'
language as ending a sentence with a preposition, multiple negation,
as two negatives destroy each other and make a positive, and using who
in place of whom.

One famous example of how the result can be if you are forced to
follow a prescriptivist rule is Winston Churchill's quote, "This is
the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put."
Descriptivi...


... middle of paper ...


...es in language may in the end prove
futile, it at least tests changes in the language and, in a sense,
makes them prove their worth.

Language is in a constant state of flux and change. Different
attitudes to language will always continue and be around, whether it
is towards grammar usage, lexis or pronunciation. By creating a
language academy, we would set rules and examples that may not be
followed by the vast majority of people. There is a middle way to
language change, such as dictionaries, which set out a formal system
of spelling that is followed throughout the country. The main problem
with a language academy is the fact that rules to language may be set
up that the vast majority of people do not understand or do not know
about. This is why a language academy would be of little use if placed
in our society.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on A Teacher as a Linguist

- In recent years, the topic of language along with its importance and influence on society has gained prominence as a separate area of study. Many have joined the ongoing debate whether English should be properly taught and used, or perhaps there is no such a thing as Standard English in today’s day and age. Since language is an extremely efficient medium of interaction and expression, it is enormously important that educators invest ample amount in Linguistic research and study so they can properly educate their students and grant them the tools that can help them achieve their potential....   [tags: Language ]

Good Essays
1656 words (4.7 pages)

Traditional Grammar Method Essay

- In the nineteenth century, the golden age of biology, the open evolving system of living organism carries a lot of weight. Hence, the traditional linguists took biology as a model of language as well. Language was considered as a living creature which can be grown and changed - live and dead. The changing lead to the degenerate of language in the present day - the spoken language, so the traditional linguists cling to the purest form’s principle in order to seize the accuracy of the language. The purest form is the written language which founded on the study of Latin and Greek....   [tags: Language]

Good Essays
1518 words (4.3 pages)

Now We 're Communicating Part 1 Essay

- ... I started with my normal process of pleasantries and began the part of my job that involves asking questions. After asking my first question, this old man—who I will call Bob, because all old men should be called Bob—responded with the right answer so I gave him a positive affirmation: “awesome.” At this point, Bob got my attention, made me stop what I was doing, and informed me that I, like so many other morons of the world, was using the word “awesome” inappropriately. Having much experience working with people in my job, I patiently allowed Bob to lecture me on my youthful ignorance and inability to express myself with any form of an advanced and accurate vocabulary....   [tags: Linguistics, Language, Word, Dialect]

Good Essays
758 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Descriptive Grammar Vs Prescriptive Grammar

- ... The "correct" version is actually the language 's prestige dialect, especially its written version--for example, Standard American English. To oversimplify a bit, the "prestige dialect" of a language is generally the one used by educated people in the big cities. There are different examples of the rules used by Prescriptivists. The most common rules used are to never use a double negative, never end a sentence in a preposition, and never split infinitives. While descriptive and prescriptive grammar may have their differences they share similarities in the fact that they influence how people use their choice of grammar as well as they set a standard for those people to follow....   [tags: Linguistics, Grammar, Syntax, Sociolinguistics]

Good Essays
1211 words (3.5 pages)

Prescriptive Grammar Is Important Part Essay

- Descriptive grammar is the set of rules on how people actually use the language; but the important part is the rules over history for Standard English, which is known as prescriptive grammar. Prescriptive grammar is used more as an aid to learning grammar because it is what editors and teachers think people should use when speaking and writing. The teachers and editors are the ones who are said to make up the prescriptive grammar rules now (Cruzan). Since then prescriptive grammar has changed throughout time because language has changed....   [tags: Linguistics, Grammar, Education]

Good Essays
1002 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on A Beautiful Ideal: Advertising as Proscriptive, Not Merely Descriptive

- A Beautiful Ideal Contrary to the popular saying, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. Beauty and beauty ideals are delicate representations of their respective societies’ unique social, political, and economic beliefs. Definitions of beauty change throughout history, and across cultural and geographic lines. As a result of the hegemony of the modern male in society, the standards of beauty are often reflected and observed through the objectification of women. While there is no penultimate standard of beauty, an analysis of the representation of beauty exposes beauty ideals as manifestations of advertising and consumer culture....   [tags: Marketing, Gender Issues, Media]

Good Essays
1093 words (3.1 pages)

Using The Teach Model Coach Review Approach For Children With Language Impairment

- ... This pertains to our client, PF, because difficulties with language comprehension and production in the early years of life directly correlate with an increased probability of continuing communication problems, poor preparation for their academic career, and concerns with literacy acquisition. The authors examined whether showing caregivers how to use these strategies to augment linguistic development would increase the children’s language abilities. The term Enhanced Milieu Technique describes these methods, and they revolve around desirable communication for the child that is enticing and encourages the child’s initiation of the communication behavior....   [tags: Linguistics, Communication, Sign language]

Good Essays
777 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Description of English Language Learners

- According to the Glossary of Education Reform ("English language learner," 2013), English Language Learners (ELL) are students who are unable to communicate fluently or learn effective in English; who often come from non English speaking homes and backgrounds. And who typically require specialized or modified instruction in both English language and in their academic courses. Immigrants make up 13% of the United States population, and within the 13% many people have children who speak their native language....   [tags: ell student, english language, languages]

Good Essays
937 words (2.7 pages)

An Examination of the Dogme Method of Language acquisition in English Language Teaching

- Initially Dogme is a filmmaking technique established in 1995 by a group of Danish directors when they tried to create more successful films with fewer preparations. Meddings and Thornbury (2009, 104) state that “Dogme demands that no props are introduced to the authentic film location…and the sole use of hand-held camera”. Eventually this technique was obtained as a teaching method since sometimes teachers may face a lack of materials which can be a loss of electricity source that could affect a lesson based on listening or at least affect photocopying materials for students....   [tags: Language ]

Good Essays
1378 words (3.9 pages)

Descriptive Language and The Lady of Shallot Essay

- Descriptive Language and The Lady of Shallot In any piece of lyrical poetry, authors must masterfully use the language of the poem to covey the intended meaning. In order to ensure the meaning is not lost, it is imperative that the author incorporates various aspects of the narrative to escalate the poem past its face value. Alfred Tennyson’s poem “The Lady of Shallot” is no exception to the rule. From lines like “blue unclouded weather” and “the gemmy bridle glitter’d free”, one can draw that descriptive language is Tennyson’s tool to revealing the underlying meaning (Griffith 334)....   [tags: The Lady of Shallot]

Good Essays
1353 words (3.9 pages)