Grammar deconstructed according to grammarkillaz

Posted on Thu 21 Oct 2010 @ 1.52pm UTC



GRAMMAR has never been adequately defined by anyone. Everyone seems to have their own definition of what constitutes grammar.

Broadly speaking, it is safe to generalise that grammar is:

The hard rules and loose guidelines used for combining words together in a certain order in order to form meaning within a given language.

In other words, grammar refers to universally accepted forms (note plural forms) of speaking or writing that conveys a person’s thought so that others may understand it.

Most of us see no problem with having proper grammar in our writing or speaking. Truth is, only small people like grammarfags (q.v.) and assorted cattle who find sexual release through academic wankery (q.v.) would find a knowledge of grammar beyond the usual noun/verb/noun structure a deeply rewarding pursuit.

For the grammatically unwashed, grammar is something that makes people around you think you’re a stuck-up bastard/bitch.

For those who have at least a working knowledge of grammar, it’s an opportunity for Chomsky to yet again shove dualism down our throats till it sticks out of our arses (BrE) / asses (AmE) / pìgu 屁股 (Mandarin/Putonghua) / si fut 屎忽 (Cantonese: si2 fut1) / shiri 尻 (Jap.) / asal (Irish) /culo (It., Sp.) / asinus (Latin).

Truth is, what most grammarians and grammar nazis completely fail to realise is this: Everything has its own grammar. To wit, grammar is something that cannot be removed from sentences, whatever their quality. Example:

i dun liek u becoz u sux (1)

Sentence (1) is grammatically correct, despite spelling shortcuts and the lack of capitalisation or punctuation. These are mechanical/technical errors.

She go to house red last Saturday. (2)

Despite perfect mechanics, sentence (2) is ungrammatical. There is a tense mismatch (needs to be past tense: went), a verb misinflection (‘she goes’), a missing article (‘the/a house), and an adjective-noun word-order reversal (red house).

Grammar is implicit (i.e. potentially contained) in every form of communication, from billboard hoardings to the way you wear your hair, pubic or otherwise. Such as:

Bad grammare n spelung aint not impotrent in a essay.

OMGZORZ!!!!! TIZ IS THE BEST CHATR00M EVAR LAWLZORZ!!!!!!!!!

That one thing that don’t get used properly or nothing like that. Many peoples do badly at grammaring. Its how sentences are supposed to sound but it isnt usually. Grammar no me. Derp.

But requirements for proper grammar go far, far beyond what is necessary. It just leads to hypercorrection, which comes full circle to being wrong. Like the English novelist Kingsley Amis (1922-95) said, “desire to be posher than posh.”

In this toilet bowl Asia, English grammar is a big preoccupation in school and in life generally. The grammar of their own language nowhere compares. This a sign that there is some deep-seated, internal psychological hang-up (frustration) in the people here. People in Asia spend literally years studying, reciting, dictating, learning, regurgitating, elaborating, amplifying, choose the words you like best, every minutiae of grammar in school. At the end of that abortion of a process called education, people still can’t string together two sentences without making half a dozen elementary grammatical mistakes. To say nothing about their vocabulary, as well.

The linguists (as in the perverse field of study called linguistics, not as in people who are fluent in multiple languages) are often in a bigger toss (BrE) / masturbation (AmE) about grammar. This is because of their highly theoretical theorising that distracts them from noticing one simple fact:

Grammar is something ridiculously stupid and useless because pretty much every time someone uses bad grammar or spelling, you can still understand what they are saying.

* * *

Bottom line, grammar is big, big business. The more complicated the stuff of grammar to learn, the longer you stretch out the learning process, the more distractions you put into the game — you’re looking at a gravy train to bleed people dry in tuition fees.

Let’s take the example of my own volunteering work for an NGO. It charges people HK$350 (US$45) for four sessions, each one hour long. My volunteering work is to help ‘students’ (who are not actually students) practise conversational English with an English native speaker (me) in an informal atmosphere. Forty-five bucks American might not sound a lot for four hours, but then, it’s an NGO and I’m volunteering. I’m big of heart and often overrun the time limit to two or even three hours per session. These people are no pouting, nubile teenyboppers that I could hit on; they’re regular working mums and blokes.

For a capitalistic commercial undertaking like a crammer (BrE) / tuition school (StdE), the going rate in Hong Kong is around HK$250 an hour. Timetable at the very least two hours a session for two sessions a week (four hours in all), and you’re looking at a cracking HK$1,000 a week. Get four oafs enrollees to buy into this Chinesisches Roulette (“Chinese roulette”) and it’s HK$4,000 (US$515) a week in gross earnings. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. Crammers in Hong Kong also have a nasty habit of splitting different parts of English-language studies into separate courses.

* * *

We digress. Grammar is often exploited to royally pwn (q.v.) someone because you know more than they do on a subject. And you have proof, you do so eloquently. Often, it results in kudos from other people, if you really are right about something.

For aficionados of dictionary definitions and those in the if-it-ain’t-in-the dictionary-it-doesn’t-exist camp, the word grammar itself has a very, very native-speaker meaning in English. You won’t find it in any dictionary. It’s this whole dating/girl-and-guy-liking-each-other scenario, as in:

There was so much grammar goin’ on at the dance!

People using bad grammar are a lot less annoying than those who go around correcting it. As one person puts it:

Grammar sucks … gram3r suxxxxx … both mean the same thing so SHUT DA F*CK UP!

© Learn English or Starve, 2010.

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