Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Rules" rule, OK?

For those of you doing A2 English Language, the big debate between prescriptivist and descriptivist attitudes to language is a central plank of the course. The terms themselves are a little problematic, as you'll no doubt see for yourselves as the course goes on, but in this article from the New York Times last week, two writers from opposing sides - Robert Lane Greene and Bryan A. Garner - slug it out, arguing about the "rules" of English and how we should  talk about usage. Can a native speaker ever really be "wrong", or should the "rules" always reflect the usage?

It's a well-argued piece, on both sides, and offers plenty of ammunition for those of you putting together Language Interventions for coursework, and material for discussion in class as we move into ENGA3 exam topics later in the year.