Updated 11 Nov 2012
“English … a language like no other in the world.”
— George Mikes, How to be an Alien (London: Andre Deutsch, 1946; Penguin, 1973)
THE POINTS BELOW are the basic premise of this website.
After all, we are focusing on the English language, full as it is with despicable exceptions and illogical observances.
It’s English, so we do the best we can with it.
If you —
- either are consumed with greed
- or enjoy a permanent sense of superiority
- or are incompetent
- or suffer from Acute Controlling Syndrome
- or think ethics are for wusses
- or have never created anything worthwhile in your life
- or regard your books as gospel to be followed religiously
— then you’re most likely to be holding some position or involved in management, politics, education, the media, law, tax, investment banking or finance, or multinational business (or ‘multilevel,’ which comes to the same thing).
I’m involved in all of the same, so it takes one to know one.
You’re the reason the world is falling apart. You’re probably a psychopath — delusional for sure, to the point of thinking all that you know is very big bananas worth every penny to have a near-monopoly on knowledgeability and greatness on everything as if it’s the law of gravity that holds the planets together.
In other words, you’re an influential idiot dedicated in your much too much free time to pauperising everyone else except the make-belief élite. This makes you talk bollocks (BrE) / horseshit (AmE) / les conneries (Fr) / der Bockmist (Ger) all the time about everything.
You mostly get away with that overweening attitude because you parade your academic calfskin indiscriminately to rest your laurels on. But most probably because the rest of us are too busy with a real life, too tired from wild sex parties, or just plain too thick to bother analysing the sewage of deception and distortion that dribbles from the corners of your mouth in a never-ending testicular/vaginal stream.
Be grateful that LEOS is only concentrating on your bollocks related to the English language, not on why your mother gave birth to an abortion of a human being like you.
I’m a prescriptivist … and I know you’re worse than one
1. If as a prescriptivist I am easygoing and not fussy about English-language usage (especially in a real-life setting), then those who claim (or lie) that they are descriptivists (or, at any rate, non-prescriptivists) ought to reassess their position and involvement with the English language — to say nothing about their attitude to other people’s use of English.
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It’s not what you think it means
2. A native English speaker has to grow up in an authentic English-speaking country to be one.
Corollary: At any rate, you’ve got to spend a significant (even substantial) amount of time in an English-speaking environment during your formative years to be a native English speaker.
3. Native English speaking does not (and cannot) come from studying.
* * *
You don’t even understand what it means
4. Adults (including nominal adults) who say they want to learn to speak English “to a native standard” need to go back to elementary school and relearn the meaning of the word native from the standpoint of geography, history, philosophy, language, linguistics, politics and common sense.
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Reality check about ‘those’ people
5. Grammar sticklers are the weakest English speakers and writers.
6. Grammar sticklers are also dead slow learners.
7. We all know from daily life that the weak and dull of mind are apt to be defensive, single-minded and obstinate (and probably also violent — it’s no mistake we call them grammar nazis). Most importantly, they are indiscriminate about applying every single rule they have ever learnt whilst absolutely rejecting even the mere possibility that there are exceptions to any rule.
Corollary: To hear these people speak and prognosticate on English usage is like listening to them prattling on as if their knowledge is the law of gravity that holds the planets together, and takes an effort of will to believe they are sincere and helpful.
* * *
Reality check about (any) language
8. Language (any language) is for expressing and communication, not for shameless displays of egotism or disparagement of others in speech and writing.
9. The rules about English that we learnt (or drummed into believing) are mostly wrong (or inconclusive at best) but suitably degraded for school teaching to make life easy for the teacher. Foreign learners, you have been warned.
Rider: It is perfectly possible to speak and write like a native English speaker (and even outgun the native) in any and all respects given enough time and practice. But the time and practice have to be in a substantially English-speaking setting (years continuously, not just a couple of hours a day).
Additional rider: Broadly but bluntly speaking, 99% of English learners will never achieve what linguists (as in linguistics) call native fluency. The quicker you get over this obsessive insanity, the quicker in fact your fluency will improve. They feed you this insane shit just to slow you down so that you take endless courses and they milk you for the expensive tuition fees. Understand now?
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A simple comparison between two camps
10. Good editors are surprisingly unknowledgeable about the technicalities of grammar, but they know and write good, solid, crisp language because it is in the nature of their jobs to read very widely. Editors in the main are far more well-read than academics.
Rider: To cut a long story short, many of the very best writers know jack shit about grammar other than the basic noun, verb, adjective, adverb and conjunction. I personally know many such great writers are unsure about prepositions. But they turn out great writing and brilliant speeches in spite of that supposed defect.
Rider 2: Ask yourself, how well do you know the grammar of your mother tongue? How does your knowledge of English grammar compare with that? Is your English better or worse than your mother tongue? Know what I’m saying now?
11. Most academics are phenomenally bad and slow writers. Their reading diet is quite narrow too. The net amortised effect of that is their writing is stuck in one fixed structure — not exactly a paragon of effective communication for learners to follow. Attend their class, but disregard their teachings for your own personal and especially professional use.
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The ultimate reality check for your own self
12. Asking who speaks better English (when you yourself don’t speak it well) automatically puts you in the idiot category. To put it bluntly, you are not (and won’t be) in a position to judge who actually speaks or writes better even if you are told the answer.
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Stop crying your vagina to pieces
13. Self-explanatory. Grammarfreaks love to spar with others. If you’re like that, do it in a gym. It’s like public nudity, pornography and religion, please don’t shove your linguistic dick in other people’s mouths or wangle them around in front of little children. Every time you see someone making a minor, inconsequential, insignificant grammatical mistake, you fly off in a rage and cry your vagina to pieces every night in front of everybody. Please, your vagina smells. Clean it with mouthwash.
[More to come]
© Learn English or Starve, 2010-2012.
Updated 21 Oct 2010
Updated 15 May 2012
Updated 11 Nov 2012