Linguistics Prescriptivism& Descriptivism

topic: Prescriptivism, Descriptivism, and how to approach a science of human language. In addition to re-reading the short sections on prescriptive grammar and descriptive grammar in the Yule reading for today, please also read this 4 page reading. You are to do both of these things before approaching the following two questions for this week’s blog:

Question 1: Prescriptive rules are generally based on value-judgments. That is, they are subjective—more about manners, and what is “proper”. Descriptive rules are based on observations about how people actually speak (and sign) and comprehend. That is, they are objective–based on actual facts about language use, not our opinions about how language use “should” be. Please describe why a descriptive approach is more appropriate for a scientific study of language (and explain why a prescriptive approach is inappropriate).

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Question 2: Let’s think about the idea of prescriptive rules for a minute. These are subjective, and based on someone’s opinion about what is (and is not) “proper”. But this begs the question–who gets to decide what is “proper”?? Please discuss where you think prescriptive rules usually come from, and whether this is fair and justified. You can probably think of some prescriptive rules you’ve been taught (or, more likely, some things you’ve been told to “stop saying”).

Easy vocabulary. No need for citations. No plagiarism. Answers should at least be 3-4 sentences. I will be attaching readings.

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