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Thread: where did the rules of written english come from

  1. #1
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    Default where did the rules of written english come from

    I heard a rather fascinating interview with lexicographer and grammarian Kory Stamper yesterday. the rules of written English that we all 'live' within now were laid down a couple centuries ago by the elite classically educated Londoners, who were all well versed in Latin. For example, in Latin there is no such thing as a split infinitive, but there's actually no reason that one can't exist in English. But we don't write formally today using split infinitives because of the influence of the Latin trained scholars. Similarly, ending a sentence with a preposition, can't be done in Latin, so that was just transferred to the formal rules of written English and grammar.

    Y'all may enjoy the following.



    http://www.npr.org/2017/04/19/524618...p-with-english
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    A college love was majoring in linguistics and went on to be a lexicographer. Fascinating mind. Her habit of keeping word counts in university committee meetings could be alarming: "Did you notice that in eight minutes Prof X used the terms "academic standards" and "professional standards" synonymously but "academic standards" he used thrice and "professional standards" he used seven times?"

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Paul, are you training up to replace Donn? You should realise that you have to be fluent in Snark
    Somewhere between Murder and Suicide, there is a place called Merseyside.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    i am the anti-donn

    i kind of view the forum as a place for 'conversational english or conversational dialogue'
    and to expect and/or enforce proper written english and grammar here would be asinine for me to do
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 04-21-2017 at 08:21 AM.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    There are rules of grammar that we all obey, but that we wot not of.

    Here is quite a well known one, which we all adhere to scrupulously:

    Generally, the adjective order in English is:

    • Quantity or number.
    • Quality or opinion.
    • Size.
    • Age.
    • Shape.
    • Color.
    • Proper adjective (often nationality, other place of origin, or material)
    • Purpose or qualifier.


    Ten nice small old round grey American lead pistol bullets is fine

    Grey ten lead American small nice pistol round bullets is gibberish.

    More here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...nce-dictionary
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    ha!
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    There are places where rigid discipline and authority in language are required. Surgery comes to mind. Air traffic control. War.

    The legitimacy of the authority may be in question but not the need for authority.

    In common speech the authority is peer pressure, which is every bit as arbitrary as any would-be usurper.
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
    America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama. -- Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey
    It wasn't racism, it was an attack on Christianity. -- Fox News
    This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Never thought about that, but you're right. Interesting.

    "Blind three mice."

    What also is seldom considered is that English as we recognize it didn't exist until the 1400s -- Chaucer's time. It took that long after the Conquest, for Saxon (which is old Frisian-German) to merge with Norman French.

    That hybridization process resulted in large changes, such as doing away with genders of words, which exist in both parent languages.

    If spelling-norms had been established just a bit later we would now spell "night" as "nite", but at the time there were still people pronouncing it the German way, "nicht" (and this lingered to the present day in Scotland).

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    There are rules of grammar that we all obey, but that we wot not of.

    Here is quite a well known one, which we all adhere to scrupulously:

    Generally, the adjective order in English is:

    • Quantity or number.
    • Quality or opinion.
    • Size.
    • Age.
    • Shape.
    • Color.
    • Proper adjective (often nationality, other place of origin, or material)
    • Purpose or qualifier.


    Ten nice small old round grey American lead pistol bullets is fine

    Grey ten lead American small nice pistol round bullets is gibberish.

    More here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...nce-dictionary
    When I worked on American army bases in Germany, their cases of supplies would read ..

    'Biscuits brown oaty hard multi oregon serving breakfast 123667435 twenty'.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    multi oregon?

    all that really matters in ordering the adjectives is that you place quantity first. . .
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    "The Big Bad Wolf" breaks the rule ( it should be the Bad Big Wolf!) but only in order to comply with another rule, the vowels must be "i", then "a" then "o" then "u".
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    When I worked on American army bases in Germany, their cases of supplies would read ..

    'Biscuits brown oaty hard multi oregon serving breakfast 123667435 twenty'.
    There is a logic to that. If you are searching the stores you want the item type first, then sub set, only when you have found the exact goods is package quantity relevant.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    There are rules of grammar that we all obey, but that we wot not of.

    Here is quite a well known one, which we all adhere to scrupulously:
    Yeah !
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
    America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama. -- Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey
    It wasn't racism, it was an attack on Christianity. -- Fox News
    This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    I think they put most pertinent adjective first, so you dont gotta read 12 words to find out the box contains biscuits, when you really need bullets, in a hurry.


    Clearly not Latin cogniscenti.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    I found that interesting, and it brings to mind a question I have had: how does the Internet work and who pays for it? Can one really "break" the Internet? In the beginning ( DARPANET ) it was all actually wired, and it was paid for by the military. Now?
    Gerard>
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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    i am the anti-donn

    i kind of view the forum as a place for 'conversational english or conversational dialogue'
    and to expect and/or enforce proper written english and grammar here would be asinine for me to do
    So you could say you are here to casually converse, if you were inclined to use split infinitives?
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    There are rules of grammar that we all obey, but that we wot not of.

    Here is quite a well known one, which we all adhere to scrupulously:

    Generally, the adjective order in English is:

    • Quantity or number.
    • Quality or opinion.
    • Size.
    • Age.
    • Shape.
    • Color.
    • Proper adjective (often nationality, other place of origin, or material)
    • Purpose or qualifier.


    Ten nice small old round grey American lead pistol bullets is fine

    Grey ten lead American small nice pistol round bullets is gibberish.

    More here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...nce-dictionary
    Tell it to Shakespeare <G>
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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Has anyone been to Tangiers Island here? Granted, it's language, the language spoken there, is changing as the kids go to school on the mainland and the language has been modernized but, the older generations still speak English as used in the 1600's.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    There's another theory that the way Americans say "R", actually saying the letter, is the way they pronounced it in England 3 centuries ago; and the current pronunciation there, where they substitute "Ah" for "R", evolved in the 17 and 1800s.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Mars.

    That's my guess.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    A college love was majoring in linguistics and went on to be a lexicographer. Fascinating mind. Her habit of keeping word counts in university committee meetings could be alarming: "Did you notice that in eight minutes Prof X used the terms "academic standards" and "professional standards" synonymously but "academic standards" he used thrice and "professional standards" he used seven times?"
    Try that with Trump the next time you hear him speak.
    It's a clue to the mind of the man, and it's feeble...

    We should note of course, that he is trying to appeaal to his base.

    "The grammar used by Donald Trump in his speeches as he campaigned to become the Republican presidential candidate corresponds to that used by students aged 11 and under."

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    I study the queens english and sider my self Sorta a leader to clean up the lingo..

    whttswitsum a youse that get wrapped up in voibs and advantages so much anyways..

    English is ever changing like a women's mind.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddm View Post
    I found that interesting, and it brings to mind a question I have had: how does the Internet work and who pays for it? Can one really "break" the Internet? In the beginning ( DARPANET ) it was all actually wired, and it was paid for by the military. Now?
    If you wish to establish your own website, you have to find a access provider and pay for the access and (>mostly) for the use of a part of his webserver.

    If you are just a user, you will pay with your data, you deliver partly voluntary and mostly unnoticed to the web monsters. E. g. Google knows everything about you and this is a form of money for them.
    Gruß, Günter

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    I just want to know who the heck decided that the number 4 should be spelled "four" but the number 40 should be spelled "forty" , 44 should be spelled "forty-four" and 444 should be spelled "four hundred forty-four"

    With a language as irrational as that, It a wonder we've managed to survive this long.

    What's so funny about peace love & understanding?

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    I'm in favor of any language construct that can be clearly understood by the listener

    "Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it."
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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Strict adherence to the rules of language is akin to clocking screw heads when building a boat. It doesn't necessarily make for a better product in, and of, itself, but can help result in overall excellence by ensuring the user is focused on the task.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    As native speaker of a very distinct Swedish dialect with roots stretching back to early medieval times I consider English rather creolic in it's structure and barely old enough to be called a language and not a slang

    For some reason I have always found the dialects from the Scotish border region less exotic than standard English.
    Amateur living on the western coast of Finland

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Never thought about that, but you're right. Interesting.

    "That hybridization process resulted in large changes, such as doing away with genders of words, which exist in both parent languages..
    You don't know how lucky you are with no genders of words.

    I don't know how people can learn French where:

    a computer is male, a tablet female, a schooner is female, but cutter, ketch, sloop, yawl are male.
    A car is female, but a vehicle is male, a knife male, a fork, female.
    An organ is male but two of them are female.
    Same for love, one is male, more than one female.
    And so on...
    and all adjectives have to adapt to the gender and to singular or plural.

    A lot of fun
    Gerard.
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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    I have the impression - purely as an amateur in these matters - that the more a language is used, the simpler its grammar becomes.

    One contender for having a very evolved and simplified grammar is Putonghwa (Mandarin) Chinese. The pronunciation is not simple and the writing is fiendishly hard, but the grammar has had most of the corners knocked off. No masculine or feminine words, and no tenses in the verbs either - "I went to the station" becomes "I go to the station (in the past)" and so on. Its last little complication is in the "measure words" - a group of plates has a different word to a group of spanners, and so on. But otherwise it is as simple as can be.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianY View Post
    I just want to know who the heck decided that the number 4 should be spelled "four" but the number 40 should be spelled "forty" , 44 should be spelled "forty-four" and 444 should be spelled "four hundred forty-four"

    With a language as irrational as that, It a wonder we've managed to survive this long.
    Four hundred and forty-four, this side of the pond.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    An interesting sidelight is that computers have forced us to deal with the actual rules, rather than the academic notions that date back a couple hundred years. It turns out that getting a computer to parse language requires a lot more rules than were written down, and they aren't the same ones you learned in school.

    Wittgenstein, who tried to use language analysis in philosophy as a young man, concluded later in life that meanings of words are constantly being negotiated. Rather than a tool for logically constructing the truth, language turns out to be in constant flux.

  32. #32

    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    In Catholic school pretty sure we learned that the Jesuits invented it, or atleast we're the guardians of it.

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    There are rules of grammar that we all obey, but that we wot not of.

    Here is quite a well known one, which we all adhere to scrupulously:

    Generally, the adjective order in English is:

    • Quantity or number.
    • Quality or opinion.
    • Size.
    • Age.
    • Shape.
    • Color.
    • Proper adjective (often nationality, other place of origin, or material)
    • Purpose or qualifier.


    Ten nice small old round grey American lead pistol bullets is fine

    Grey ten lead American small nice pistol round bullets is gibberish.

    More here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...nce-dictionary
    Hmm......used but never realised . Thanks.
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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    Quote Originally Posted by birlinn View Post
    Four hundred and forty-four, this side of the pond.
    That dropped ''and'' is annoying to an Anglo English speaker.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: where did the rules of written english come from

    'Different to' annoys me because I was taught that things are 'similar to' and 'different from', we wont even mention 'different than'. Oops, I just did!
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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