Stir up trouble!

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grant
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Stir up trouble!

Postby grant » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:39 pm

It's nearly spring!

Life abounds and the internet is ripe for the picking!

It's Grammar Fascist season!

I hereby dare every member of this forum to start a game of Grammar Fascist on some other forum. Link to it here, and we can discuss scoring, strategy and gameplay in this thread.

Go now and do, you brilliant pedants and feisty ironists! This is your occasion to shine!

Harvey Winters
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Postby Harvey Winters » Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:00 pm

Jeezum Crow...
You're probably missing tonight's episode of "House",
or "Smallville"...

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chelsea
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Postby chelsea » Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:46 pm

this sounds fabulous! i'll look in to it further in the very near future.

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grant
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Postby grant » Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:03 pm

Dog dare.

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BladeRunner
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Postby BladeRunner » Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:41 pm

you want this bad, I take it?

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Fi
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Postby Fi » Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:04 am

What beautiful irony - they've misspelt Britney Spears. God bless double standards.

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grant
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Postby grant » Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:02 am

That's scorable! That's scorable!

Actually, I think that marks the end of a round.

Oh, and just because it's nearly autumn for you, Fi, don't think you're exempted from the dare.

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Postby galleta » Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:41 am

Can spaniards play too? Is it convenient for advanced learners of English to take part in this conspiracy? Or will they make a mess of it all?

(Spaniards love to point at other people's mistakes so please, please, let me in!!)

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Postby Liesbeth » Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:23 pm

In short, it's a game for people like me. (With the possible exception of the bit about eight year-old Brittney Spears fans).

Besides misspelling Brittney, the full stop should also be inside the parentheses. Or so I've been taught. There is another example of this in the 4th last paragraph. However, just below the long example post of 57 errors, there's a paragraph between parentheses which does have the full stop inside brackets.

God, what a wonderful nitpicking game this is.
It takes too much time though, I don't know all these grammar terms, I even had to look up the word full stop (yes, you Americans may prefer period, but I'm from Europe).

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Postby Betty Felon » Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:11 pm

Liesbeth wrote:
In short, it's a game for people like me. (With the possible exception of the bit about eight year-old Brittney Spears fans).

Besides misspelling Brittney, the full stop should also be inside the parentheses. Or so I've been taught.


I've never felt comfortable with the period inside the parentheses. Even if it's technically correct, and I believe that's debatable, it breaks up the flow of reading for me. And ease of reading is the point of punctuation, is it not?

Also, not that it's relevent to the grammar police instructions writer, but I am more comfortable with the Harvard comma. I think not putting a comma between the last two items in a list creates misleading alligences.

I guess this all brings up the issue that grammar is essentially a set of conventions and determining what is "correct" is pedantic and sometimes a little ridiculous, given some of our greatest classical writers were "granted" the privledge of unorthodox grammar...posthumously.

It's also a bit futile given that the internet is a new medium in which the audience is reading for maxium speed and information and the language is bound to evolve. LOL.

Not that I think just anyone should be allowed to go around mispelling "Britney" or anything.

And in conclusion, I can't remember hearing anyone use the words "full stop" instead of "period" but I really like it. I reminds of watching old movies with characters reading telegraph messages outloud.

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:44 am

Wow, Betty can be such a blathering jerk sometimes. I don't think she means it though.

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Postby John » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:07 pm

Periods go outside of parentheses and quotation marks- I can´t think of a single convincing rationale for putting them inside, unless the paranthetical comment or quote has a full stop in it but the sentence containing it continues on- and the "Harvard comma" is pure poppycock. Incidentally, "full stop" is a favorite Sean Nelsonism.

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Fi
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Postby Fi » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:36 pm

it's full stops, down here in the Antipodes.

and here's something from the archives:http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=12084

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Postby Betty Felon » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:54 pm

I still support you Harvard comma! Someday they will see!

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Postby Liesbeth » Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:48 am

Actually, with a bit of creativity full sentences in parentheses can be avoided altogether and we don't have to split hairs over where the full stops should go. I am however of the opinion that if you choose one rule, stick to that and don't change your mind along the way. Especially when you are writing a call for a grammar police competition.

I can see your point about the use of the Internet, Betty, but I must say I often feel like correcting people's e-mail messages at work. Because English is around everywhere on the Internet, a lot of Dutch people are increasingly using anglicisms, such as spaces when words should be joined, and putting in commas before the word 'and', which is totally uncommon in Dutch.

Language may be developing and all, but those sort of mistakes aren't very professional in official texts, and guess who can correct those... the secretary (and that's me).

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grant
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Postby grant » Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:15 pm

Funny, we've been calling them "Oxford commas" both in my other online haunts and at the English lab where I tutor.

The period goes inside the parentheses because it's a parenthetical sentence.

The "full stop" thing I'm pretty sure comes from dictation -- we use it all the time in the newsroom. Perhaps it's from telegraphy, which relied on dictation, and made it into journalism (ha!) that way.

(The "Ha!" being directed at the idea of calling what I do "journalism.")

(In England, that would be "journalism".)

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:50 pm

I understand your plight Liesbeth, and hell, I don't even agree with me 100% but someone has to play devil's advocate, right?

(Well, that and I have an learned reaction behavior due to a stodgy old grammaticaster who ruined English class by, among other things, making us endlessly diagram sentences. I will most likely go to hell for many years of unapologetic, violent thoughts involving a copy of Fowler's Modern English and a nun.)

But aaaaaanyway, here is a fantasticly hilarious article by DFW on what he calls 'the last remaining kind of truly elitist nerd':

...listening to most people's English feels like watching somebody use a Stradivarius to pound nails. We are the Few, the Proud, the Appalled at Everyone Else.

BTW- don't we have linguist on this board somewhere? dchris, what say you?

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Postby dchris » Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:40 pm

Oh, dear. I've been called out.

I'm going to address some things in that gigantic DFW article. I wish I could lj-cut my message board posts.

Your DFW quoted Pinker, and I said to my monitor, "right on!" Then, he started criticizing the descriptivist tradition, and I sighed. The idea of a descriptivist approach isn't a pedagogical one. Prescriptivism is for teaching, but descriptivism is really intended to be analytical. I know he addressed all this, but he hasn't convinced me. The idea that linguists just go around telling people "Ignore what you learned in school. Say whatever you want, whenever you want," is one I have to defend myself against all the time.

What we say is that all languages/dialects are intrinsically equal. It's pretty obvious that many (most, really) dialects are stigmatized. Descriptivists are concerned with what rules govern the variant, how the changes came about, how the language operates, etc. We're just observers. Just as equally, though, we know that speakers of nonstandard dialects will benefit from learning the standard. There's no reason that DFW's approach to his students who wrote in what he called (quite oddly) Standard Black English could not be a descriptivist approach. Actually, scratch that. It exactly is a descriptivist approach.

I really like the things he says about nonstandard dialects on the whole, actually.

Now, let me put my prescriptivist shoes on and talk about the SCN article.
Its is not an exception to the possessive apostrophe! When do possessive pronouns or adjectives ever have apostrophes?

And, now, to the discussion at hand. Periods and commas? I've always had a British approach to the quotation marks (on a logical basis) as well as a Felon/Oxford/Harvard approach to commas (on the basis of that's what I learned when I was nine).

Now since I've already gone and typed the longest post I've ever written on this board (which isn't really even that long), let me say something on an entirely unrelated note. Betty, I only recently realized that Felon is probably the same word as "one who commits a felony," and not the made-up last name that I have been pronouncing in my head for the past two (three?) years with the stress on the second syllable.

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:56 am

Ah yes, the article is a bit on the incredibly long side. But its very good stuff. When I read it I take everything with a grain of salt because he admits right away that he's trained from birth to be biased.

So are you firmly in the Descriptivist camp or is there a Prescriptivist in there as well? Seems like they should have no trouble coexisting. What do you think of bad SWE on the internet?

Yes, Felon does indeed refer to the "one who commits a felony" type, though I quite like the other pronunciation as well. If you feel you need to hear a new catchy pop song, I suggest "Living in Paradise" by Elvis Costello.

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Postby dchris » Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:23 am

Descriptivism is far more interesting, and less disappointing, I'd say. What I ultimately want to do is TESL, which requires a hefty mix of both approaches. I think I have a good perspective on each. Bad writing on the internet only bothers me from people who I think should know better. Otherwise, I've pretty much just come to expect it.

If you feel you need to hear a new catchy pop song, I suggest "Living in Paradise" by Elvis Costello.

My first reaction was that I really ought to pay more attention to lyrics. Then, I did a bit of reasearch and noticed that the only version of the song I own is from the My Aim is True best of CD, which has an "early version" of the song with completely different lyrics!


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