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О српском језику и култури => Антиправила => Тему започео: OMali на 14.37 ч. 22.03.2013.

Наслов: Deskriptivizam vs preskriptivizam u gramatici
Порука од: OMali на 14.37 ч. 22.03.2013.

Disagreement between descriptivist and prescriptivist work (The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p6)


a) Taste tyranny

Some prescriptivist works present rules that have no basis in the way the language is actually used by the majority of its native speakers, and are not even claimed to have any such basis - as though the manual-writer's own judgements of taste took precedence over those of any other speaker of the language. They expect all speakers to agree with their judgements, no matter what the facts of the language use might show.

For example, one usage manual, discussing why it is (supposedly) incorrect to say You need a driving instructor who you have confidence in, states that "The accusative whom is necessary with the preposition in, though whom is a word strangely shunned by most English people". We take the implication to be that English people should not shun this word, since the writer (who is English) does not. But we are inclined to ask what grounds there could be for saying that whom is "necessary" if most English people (or speakers of the English language) would avoid it.
The same book objects to centre (a)round, calling it incorrect, although "probably more frequently used than the correct centre on". Again, we wonder how centre (a)round can be determined to be incorrect in English if it is indeed more commonly used by English speakers than what is allegedly correct. The boundary  would appear to have been drawn in the wrong place.
 Prescriptive works instantiating this kind of aesthetic authoritarianism provide no answer to such obvious questions. They simply assert that grammar dictates things, without supporting their claim from evidence. The basis for the recommendations offered appears to lie in the writer's taste: the writer quoted above simply does not like to see who used where it is understood as the object of a preposition, and personally hates the expression centre around. What is going on here is a universalising of one person's taste, a demand that everyone should agree with it and conform to it.
 The descriptivist view would be that when most speakers use a form that our grammar says in incorrect, there is at least a prima facie case that it is the grammar that is wrong, not the speakers. And indeed, even in the work just quoted we find the remark that "Alright is common, and may in time become normal", an acknowledgment that the language may change over time, and what begins as an isolated variant on a pattern may eventually become a new pattern. The descriptive grammarian will always adopt a stance of something more like this sort, thus making evidence relevant to the matter at hand. If what is involved were a matter of taste, all evidence would be beside the point. But under the descriptive viewpoint, grammar is not a matter of taste, nor of aesthetics.
This is not to say that the expression of personal aesthetic judgements is without utility. The writer of a book on usage might be someone famous for brilliant use of the language, someone eminently worthy of being followed in matters of taste and literary style. It might be very useful to have a compendium of such a person's preferences and recommendations, and very sensible for a less expert writer to follow the recommendations of an acknowledged master of the writer's craft. (assuming such recommendations do reliably accord with the master's practice). All we are pointing out is that where the author of an authoritarian usage manual departs from recommendations that agree with the way most people use the language, prescriptivist and descriptivist accounts will necessarily disagree. The authoritarian prescriptivist whose recommendations are out of step with the usage of others is at liberty to declare that they are in error and should change their ways; the descriptivist under the same circumstances will assume that it is precisely the constant features in the usage of the overwhelming majority that define what is grammatical in the contemporary language, and will judge the prescriptivist to be expressing an idiosyncratic opinion concerning how the language ought to be.

U sledećim poglavljima "Confusing informal style with ungrammaticality" i "Spurious external justifications" daje se dalja argumentacija na temu deskriptivizam vs preskriptivizam u nauci o jeziku. Prevešću ovaj dio koji sam citirao kad nadjem vremena.