Thursday, May 04, 2006

Style Summary 2

Lesson 2: Correctness

According to Joseph M. Williams, rules of grammar dictate our writing and speech. These rules can be complex or easy, but there are indeed many of them. Williams identifies two responses tot he rules of grammar: The view that grammar is nothing more than a set of tricks to stigmatize language--to keep it restricted to the upper-crust. Alternatively, there is the view that grammar is based on a sound set of traditions, wisdom passed down through the ages.

According to the book, grammar is a historical accident--a set of borrowed rules and common usages that became tradition. Regional dialects came to be accepted as rules, and when influential speakers spoke with them, they became widely accepted. Further factors such as geography and economic power of areas helped to set what became "grammatical" and what became "incorrect."

3 kinds of origins dominate the rules of grammar. Real Rules come naturally to native speakers. Rules of Standard English distinguish standard dialect from non-standard. Folklore are the rules that grammaticians think we "should" observe.

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