IT IS astonishing to see from the two previous parts of this article that the typical stuff of grammarhead hectoring often all occur in a single session of almost any type of debate or argument about language or grammar, online or in real life that you’d care to name.
Perhaps even more remarkable is that the stuff should also occur in sequence.
Clearly, we can’t fault the grammarheads for any lack of discipline.
Now that we are suitably indoctrinated and ‘hip’ to the usual antics of grammarheads, let’s take a few reality checks about the English language.
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The real reason for the sinking state of English
Let’s assume just for the mental exercise that English is in some kind of decline.
Whichever way we analyse, deduce, examine critically or [choose the words you like best], eventually we come to the only possible reason for the deteriorating standard of English:—
We have been taught badly.
And a person taught badly develops a bad attitude to learning anything.
Not the other way round.
Look at the words taught badly.
You and I can easily work out for ourselves where in fancy Moses THAT responsibility lies for the lackadaisical attitude towards good grammar practice that everyone apparently is accused of having.
Education reform, perhaps? What kind, pray tell?
The current crop of education reformers are as uninterested as the old guard in teaching students to think. Both sets of educationists are interested only in teaching students to perform at a certain level on standardised tests — and using or generating all sorts of linguistic controversies to advance their own opportunities for teaching.
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The facts, marm, just the facts
It’s easy to become convinced that English is being ground into chunks and fed to the cat when we hear grammarheads spew out that bottomless list of usage mistakes (see Parts 1 and 2) that they go nuclear-warhead-stuck-in-the-anus angry over.
The English language is actually a state of mind.
More than any other language in the world, English imbibes and inculcates the person (speakers and learners alike) with a uniquely peculiar worldview.
That worldview engendered by knowing or speaking English is brought about and fuelled by, with and through a set of flexible words with adaptable meanings that inside them contain cultures from near and far, histories bloody and bloodless, and times remote and contemporary.
In other words, the multiplicity of sources and influences of English ultimately means we should have to take a realistic, relaxed, recognizant and reconnoitred view of what is really a recondite subject matter.
Time for some à la carte myth-busting.
Home truths that could make you shat bricks
© Learn English or Starve, 2012.