Prescriptivism

An Appeal to Everyone: Please Stop Pronouncing “Pokémon” Wrong

A HowToGeek contributor's plea: Neither Japanese nor Americans "pronounce it po-KEE-mon. The true pronunciation is po-KAY-mon, or po-KAH-mon, both propagated by the cartoon, which is available on Netflix just in case you need a refresher."

Posted by Hrishee Shastri on May 7, 2019

Tags:
Standard Language Ideology;
Prescriptivism

The War on Grammar

Found on r/badlinguistics. An "explanation" for why the singular use of 'they' is wrong. Includes the line, "Ideally we’d still use “thou” as the familiar for an individual." [Published on 10-08-2016]

Posted by Jacob Goldsmith on April 25, 2019

Tags:
Prescriptivism

The Anglish Moot

This fandom page is dedicated to the Anglish movement, a form of English linguistic purism. Followers of this movement speak English only using Germanic-based words, purposefully omitting words with Latin or Greek roots. They do this either because they think it's fun and historically interesting, because they think that's how the language was "meant" to be, or because they think it simplifies the language, therefore making it easier to speak. This is a really informative site, but can be kind of difficult to navigate due to the Anglish terms. For a more concise but thorough explanation, I will also link the following YouTube video. Here he explains more of the linguistic aspects rather than the movement itself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIo-17SIkws Additionally, here is a Reddit page devoted to Anglish and opinions about it (but not written in Anglish, so easier to read): https://www.reddit.com/r/anglish/ I found this fascinating because this is an idea that has allegedly been about since the 1100s. [Published on 03-10-2019]

Posted by Maria Panopoulos on March 10, 2019

Tags:
English;
German;
Prescriptivism

The Anglish Moot

This fandom article contains information about the Anglish movement, its principles, and its community. The Anglish movement is a form of English linguistic purism; followers of this movement either wish to make every word in the English language based on German roots, or just speak it as such. They purposefully omit any words of the English language that have Latin or Greek roots, either because they think this is how English was "meant" to be, because they think it's cool and historically interesting, or because they think it's easier. This site has a lot of information for anyone who wants to learn about how the idea came about or how it's used, but it's pretty difficult to navigate. This video explains the linguistic aspects thoroughly but concisely and has examples of what it would sound like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIo-17SIkws Here is also a Reddit page dedicated to followers of Anglish: https://www.reddit.com/r/anglish/ [Published on 03-10-2019]

Posted by Maria Panopoulos on March 10, 2019

Tags:
English;
German;
Borrowing;
Prescriptivism

Rethinking Grammar: How We Talk

We as people judge the way that others speak, we assume intelligence based on the way that people speak. African American Vernacular tends to be associated with not being very smart [Published on 10-21-2015]

Grammar gripes: why do we love to complain about language?

This article discusses the nature of prescriptivism and how modern technologies are contributing to language change [Published on 03-11-2018]

Posted by Liv Johnson on March 19, 2018

Tags:
Change;
Internet Language;
Prescriptivism

The Cost of Code Switching

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This is a 10 minute TedX video addressing the complexities of style shifting/code switching in America, specifically AAE speakers being expected to conform to "standard forms" to survive in America. This talk addresses issues of police brutality, racism, and expectations of who is expected to style shift/code switch and why.

Nigerian Pidgin Speakers Struggle to Translate a Phrase Into "Proper English"

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This video shows speakers of Nigerian Pidgin English struggling to translate the phrase “This Ogbono soup too draw” into “proper English.” The video itself is a good example of how pidgin languages can have a majority of lexical features from one language, but cannot be directly translated due to the uniqueness of the created pidgin. The use of the phrase “proper English” in the title also shows the prescriptive ideology of language that the creator of the video possesses by labeling one way of speaking English as the “proper” way.

Asterisk*

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Asterisk* is a spoken word poem written and performed by Oliver Renee Schminkey. This piece first appeared as the closing act of The Naked I: Insides Out produced by 20% Theater Company in Minneapolis, MN. The artist, who identifies as gender queer, eloquently and powerfully describes what it is like to live in a world that neither affirms nor denies their gender identity. It exemplifies how prescriptive language that is set in ideology can be limiting and discriminatory.

Posted by Kendra Ogdon on July 24, 2017

Tags:
Ideology;
Gender;
Gender Binary;
gender non-conforming;
Prescriptivism

Weird Ways People Talk

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This video entitled, "Weird Ways People Talk," attempts at humor by mocking several different North American dialects of English. In so much that he can faithfully articulate English off the standard variant, he creates a divide between certain mocked groups and raises the so-called standard on a pedestal. In a similar light to mock-Spanish, these variants he mimics can be the origins of stereotypically thought.

Posted by McKale Wiley on May 11, 2017

Tags:
Performativity;
Standard Language Ideology;
Prescriptivism

Romani ite domum - Monty Python's Life of Brian

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lru4dJ4J6g In an act of rebellion against the Roman occupation of Judea, Brian writes in Latin "Romans go home". He is caught by a Roman soldier played by John Cleese who, instead of punishing Brian for vandalism, corrects Brian's grammar and forces him to conjugate his "grafitti"

Posted by Amy Galliher on May 9, 2017

Tags:
Prescriptivism

Troy and Abed Being Normal Scene from Community

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In this scene Troy and Abed, who typically behave far from socially acceptable, try to be "normal" so they do not embarrass their friend Shirley at her wedding. They each change their voice to diminish any distinctive characteristics and accents as well choosing words and using grammar that supports what might be considered a "standard" form of English. They do their best not to be sarcastic and to talk to others in a way that follows social norms.

What’s the big deal about mocking someone’s accent?

A discussion of prejudice against certain accents from the perspective of someone in the UK. This mirrors many of the things we have seen about the US -- people less willing to rent apartments, more willing to think someone's guilty of a crime, etc. if they speak in a different accent. It also talks about the "politics of transcription" in the way 'non-standard' accents are transcribed, for example, in subtitles, and suggests that mocking people's accents is seen as a more socially acceptable form of prejudice since it's "not a big deal."

Fry & Laurie comedy sketch

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Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie perform a comedy sketch satirizing attitudes about language change.

Posted by Lucas Fagen on March 27, 2017

Tags:
Prescriptivism;
Ideology

Chelsea's grammar on not to use the word irregardless.

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In the video, Chelsea explains how using the word "irregardless" and double negatives is improper. As speaker's of English, most would understand what someone means when they say this word. She is viewing the use of "irregardless" through the monoglot ideology by applying the hegemony of the "standard" English.

Posted by Autumn McGovern on July 21, 2016

Tags:
Standard Language Ideology;
Prescriptivism

People obsessed with grammar aren't as nice as everybody else, study says

A report on a study that relates personality to prescriptivism, finding among other things that more "agreeable" readers are less harsh towards grammatical and typographical errors. [Published on 04-22-2016]

Posted by Kara Becker on April 26, 2016

Tags:
Prescriptivism

Professional Educator: Grades, Showing Up On Time Are A Form Of White Supremacy

This education consultant takes issue with values that are taught in schools as beneficial for success but which she says are selected to favor white people, including language-related expectations of students. She suggests some unusual methods to "move away from all these aspects of white privilege in education." [Published on 04-16-2016]

Posted by Shannon Pearson on April 17, 2016

Tags:
whiteness;
Education;
Multilingualism;
Prescriptivism;
Stigma

Family Guy Stereotypes

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This video is a combination of stereotypes that have aired on family guy over the years. Many of these stereotypes have to do with race and language in society today.

Tense Present: Democracy, English and the Wars Over Usage

David Foster Wallace reviews 'A Dictionary of Modern American Usage'. In so doing, Wallace explores how language rules are developed and on what authority they are created. Near the end he tells a story about trying to convince students to write in what he calls SWE "Standard Written English" or "Standard White English". [Published on 04-01-2001]

Altering Chris Rock's Oscars monologue to conform to "standard" english

88th Academy Awards host Chris Rock used his opening monologue to hit on a number of important issues facing people of color in the film industry. Time included a transcript of Rock's speech to go along with a clip, and, interestingly, they have taken his words and "corrected" his grammar. For instance, in the video, Rock jokes, "in the 'in memoriam' section, it's going to be black people that was shot by the cops on their way to the movies." However, his words are transcribed as "...were shot by the cops on their way to the movies." Rock's leveling of verb forms is seen as "non-standard," and "corrected" for publication. [Published on 02-28-2016]

Should dictionaries do more to confront sexism?

A New Yorker article about the recent criticism of the Oxford English Dictionary for sexist examples entires for words like "rabid" and "bossy," touching on issues of prescriptivism and descriptivism. [Published on 02-24-2016]

Posted by Kara Becker on February 26, 2016

Tags:
Gender;
Prescriptivism;
Sexism

My Fair Lady "Why Can't the English Learn to Speak?"

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This scene from My Fair Lady shows prescriptivism in action. Higgins clearly states that there is a "right way" and a "wrong way" to speak. Also, he claims that it is Eliza's improper speech that restricts her to a low place in society.

Posted by Willis Jenks on February 19, 2016

Tags:
Standard Language Ideology;
Prescriptivism

Wheel of Fortune: Seven swans a swimmin'

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A contestant on Wheel of Fortune in 2012 solved a puzzle with "Seven swans a swimmin'," and lost the prize money after judges on the show rejected her alveolar pronunciation.

Posted by Kara Becker on January 28, 2016

Tags:
Southern English;
Prescriptivism;
ING

Washington Post accepts singular they

The Washington Post's style guide now accepts singular they. [Published on 12-10-2015]

Posted by Kara Becker on December 14, 2015

Tags:
Change;
Gender;
Prescriptivism

"Like Totally Whatever"

A poem detailing the ideologies related to some features of young women's language, and the effect this sort of policing can have on young women.

Posted by Gregor McGee on November 24, 2015

Tags:
Ideology;
Womens Language;
Prescriptivism

Mandarin Dialects

This seems relevant to what we're studying right now in class - we're looking at beijing hua (北京话)and the way words are rhotacized. This is interesting to me because it speaks to the idea we talked about at the beginning of the semester that prescriptivists seem to hold an idea that people who don't speak in the standard manner don't have the language at all. [Published on 09-23-2014]

Toward the end of the obnoxiously prescriptivist académie française?

The current French minister of culture and the French language holds a very progressist discourse about fluidity of language, its constant change and the ever growing richness of it. [Published on 03-12-2015]

Posted by Lucas Dazin on March 18, 2015

Tags:
French;
Prescriptivism

xkcd: Quotative Like

The webcomic xkcd offers a humorous take on language change and the use of "like" as a quotative complementizer.

Posted by Abby Mosing on March 12, 2015

Tags:
Change;
Youth;
Prescriptivism

What makes a word "real"?

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A TED talk about the change and creation of words in the English language and how they eventually get added into the dictionaries.

Posted by Clark Chang on February 18, 2015

Tags:
Change;
Prescriptivism

Time Magazine's "Which Words Should We Ban?"

The banned word poll consists mainly of slang found in youth culture and in AAE, and while the article suggests the words in question are new and over-exposed, the lexical items in AAE have long been in use. The descriptions for the words and slang mock those who use them, heavily targeting African American youth. [Published on 11-12-2014]

Posted by Amelia Wolf on November 17, 2014

Tags:
African American English;
Youth;
Prescriptivism;
Slang;
Lexicon

Nefertiti Menoe: Speaking White

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A video by artist Nefertiti Menoe on the criticism of minority speakers as 'speaking white.' She disagrees with this characterization, saying "having proper diction doesn't belong to the Caucasian race." The video sparked the long-time debate over accusations of speaking 'white' in the U.S.

25 Questions for Teaching with "Word Crimes"

Lauren Squires provides a linguist's perspective on Weird Al's spoof "Word Crimes," with practical suggestions for how teachers might use the video to teach important lessons about prescriptivism. [Published on 07-17-2014]

Posted by Kara Becker on July 18, 2014

Tags:
American English;
Internet Language;
Prescriptivism

Word Crimes - Weird Al Yankovic

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Weird Al Yankovic promotes prescriptivism online in his cover of the pop song Blurred Lines.

Posted by Kara Becker on July 16, 2014

Tags:
Internet Language;
Prescriptivism

Password Plus: Don't Piss Marcia Off

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On this episode of the game show Password Plus, Marcia Wallace used "furry" to prompt her partner to say "Harry" (or for her, the homonym "hairy.") The judges rejected this, pointing out the "Harry" and "hairy" have different pronunciations. But not for Marcia, who is from the midwest, as she correctly points out.

Posted by Kara Becker on November 4, 2013

Tags:
Merger;
Prescriptivism

XKCD: Cautionary Ghost

An XKCD comic on prescriptivism and the use of "literally" to mean "figuratively."

Posted by Kara Becker on August 27, 2013

Tags:
Prescriptivism

A Short Class in Manglish: 88, 3Q

Mandarin Chinese written internet-slang is becoming more popular; however, there is also growing opposition to the inclusion of English words and phrases into the Chinese language. By Patti Waldmeir.

Prescription and African American English

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A 2006 Fox News Chicago story about Garrard McClendon and his visits to classrooms with African American students where he highlights their grammatical "mistakes."

R Grammar Gaffes Ruining the Language? Maybe Not

Improper grammar usage is becoming more and more prevalent in the world, yet it may not necessarily be a bad thing.

Posted on August 27, 2012

Tags:
English;
Prescriptivism;
Change

Fastidious Spelling Snobs Pushed Over the Edge

A 2009 article on prescriptivism in American English.

Posted on August 26, 2012

Tags:
Prescriptivism;
English

How New Words Are Added to Dictionaries

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Posted on August 26, 2012

Tags:
Prescriptivism;
Lexicon