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#101 Northern Sol

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:47 PM

It can't be incorrect if it can be understood.


"I play football yesterday" can be easily understood but it's still an example of an incorrect sentence. On the other hand, you could form a grammatically correct sentence that was difficult to understand.

#102 Wolford6

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:57 PM

On the other hand, you could form a grammatically correct sentence that was difficult to understand.


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#103 gingerjon

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:38 PM

"I play football yesterday" can be easily understood but it's still an example of an incorrect sentence. On the other hand, you could form a grammatically correct sentence that was difficult to understand.


The purpose of language is to be understood. It might not follow the rules but if the meaning is clear it can't be wrong.
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#104 Methven Hornet

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:49 PM

I think you're confusing it with "somefink"


My former boss' wife was a junior school headmistress. She once got a letter from a parent saying that a child had been absent for the past few days with a sore froat


I once received a sickness self-certification form from a school employee stating that she was off with a sore trout.
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#105 longboard

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:09 PM

I once received a sickness self-certification form from a school employee stating that she was off with a sore trout.


Somefin wrong with that. :)

#106 marklaspalmas

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:26 PM

It can't be incorrect if it can be understood.


It can.

There are rules.







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#107 Northern Sol

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:39 PM

The purpose of language is to be understood. It might not follow the rules but if the meaning is clear it can't be wrong.


One purpose of language is to be understood. Another is the impression that you create.

And there are rules.

If there were no rules then "My aunt is sitting outside" could be identical in meaning to "Bradford Bulls are over-rated" or "David Cameron is such a nice man" since any one interpretation would be as good as another.

Edited by Northern Sol, 01 October 2012 - 10:23 PM.


#108 gingerjon

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:17 AM

It can.

There are rules.


If they were really rules they would precede the development of a language(*).

They don't. They follow as observations of how it works and best practice.


(* organic development, not brainaches like esperanto).
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#109 Northern Sol

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:01 AM

If they were really rules they would precede the development of a language(*).


Indeed. See Chomsky's Universal Grammar for a desciption of this. Grammatical rules would seem to be an inbuilt human characteristic.

They don't. They follow as observations of how it works and best practice.


(* organic development, not brainaches like esperanto).


No, they are observations of what is accepted and in what context but you argument that rules come after speech proves that rules don't exist is bizarre. I could argue that my kids don't exist because I was born before they were.

#110 gingerjon

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:11 AM

I knew I'd read something about Chomsky the other day. I'll leave it to the experts to determine the value of this: http://chronicle.com...-in-the/131260/

I won't argue the rest. We disagree but I think we'll be going round and round in circles until everyone else hates us.
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#111 Northern Sol

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:31 AM

I knew I'd read something about Chomsky the other day. I'll leave it to the experts to determine the value of this: http://chronicle.com...-in-the/131260/


Chomsky says it's inbuilt and he has good reasons for this. He has many major figures who agree with him e.g. Steven Pinker. Where is the detractor's evidence?

I won't argue the rest. We disagree but I think we'll be going round and round in circles until everyone else hates us.


I said why you are wrong and you've run out of arguments. You disagree solely because you can't admit that you are wrong.

#112 JohnM

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:35 AM

Chomsky is up his own ######. Meanwhile, in the real non-taxpayer funded world where people earn a living from communicating without the need for the
Chomsky–Schützenberger theorem and where Shakespeare, Kerouac, Dickens and Twain rub shoulders ignorant of the arrogant tosser, things are going pretty well with English, everyone's' second language.

#113 gingerjon

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:54 AM

Oh go on then ...

One purpose of language is to be understood. Another is the impression that you create.

And there are rules.

If there were no rules then "My aunt is sitting outside" could be identical in meaning to "Bradford Bulls are over-rated" or "David Cameron is such a nice man" since any one interpretation would be as good as another.


Words change meaning. Dictionaries then have to catch up. The rules follow the change.

Grammar changes. English used to have genders, now it doesn't. The rules of English followed the change.

In your examples now they are clearly different but whilst it would be highly unlikely there's nothing to say that the words used in each example might move closer to each other in the future.


Indeed. See Chomsky's Universal Grammar for a desciption of this. Grammatical rules would seem to be an inbuilt human characteristic.



No, they are observations of what is accepted and in what context but you argument that rules come after speech proves that rules don't exist is bizarre. I could argue that my kids don't exist because I was born before they were.


The universe, unlike language, has fixed rules although we don't know them all yet. Your children cannot be born before you. The rules that govern existence don't allow it.

A person could break every rule laid down for language and still be understood and make an impression.


Chomsky says it's inbuilt and he has good reasons for this. He has many major figures who agree with him e.g. Steven Pinker. Where is the detractor's evidence?



I said why you are wrong and you've run out of arguments. You disagree solely because you can't admit that you are wrong.


If you'd read the link you'd see that the detractor has evidence. He's even presented it. In, like a proper scientific way and everything.

Your second bit is tedious. I disagree with you because I think you're wrong and I'm right - nothing grander or deeper than that. The way the conversation was going it looked like all we were going to do was say the same things in different ways as there was nothing to move either position.

Edited by gingerjon, 02 October 2012 - 09:56 AM.

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#114 marklaspalmas

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:40 AM

If they were really rules they would precede the development of a language(*).

They don't. They follow as observations of how it works and best practice.


Well, for people born after we lived in caves, we do follow the development of language. Hence, rules. Doesn't mean to say rules can't be modified, fall into disuse or be outright broken where considered necessary by the users.

Im staying out of Chomsky as I know so little about him. My shaky idea was that he advocated that all humans have a 'Language Acquisistion Device' which sets us apart from animals. How that affects grammar rules, I don't know. Now I'll read your link.

 

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#115 gingerjon

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:36 PM

Well, for people born after we lived in caves, we do follow the development of language. Hence, rules. Doesn't mean to say rules can't be modified, fall into disuse or be outright broken where considered necessary by the users.


I think this is where I struggle then. If rules can be broken, modified or changed without any problem then they're not really rules. It's consensus and the rule writers follow with their notepads observing the changes and occasionally going, "Mmm, okay then ..."
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#116 Northern Sol

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:16 PM

Oh go on then ...



Words change meaning. Dictionaries then have to catch up. The rules follow the change.

Grammar changes. English used to have genders, now it doesn't. The rules of English followed the change.

In your examples now they are clearly different but whilst it would be highly unlikely there's nothing to say that the words used in each example might move closer to each other in the future.


So having argued that rules are modelled on language production (which I agree with) proves that rules don't exist (nonsense) you thought it worth arguing that rules change (agreed) which proves they don't exist (nonsense).

Rules are in a state of flux but they still exist.

The universe, unlike language, has fixed rules although we don't know them all yet. Your children cannot be born before you. The rules that govern existence don't allow it.

A person could break every rule laid down for language and still be understood and make an impression.


Indeed but they wouldn't be right. Said person would have an audience of people who no doubt would notice that the "rules" that the person used differed from the native speaker model which defines what is correct.

If you'd read the link you'd see that the detractor has evidence. He's even presented it. In, like a proper scientific way and everything.

Your second bit is tedious. I disagree with you because I think you're wrong and I'm right - nothing grander or deeper than that. The way the conversation was going it looked like all we were going to do was say the same things in different ways as there was nothing to move either position.


I read it, his evidence amounted to "this language which no other expert speaks has a surprising feature". To which Chomskysaid "meh" on the reasonable grounds that a surprising feature in no way invalidates his theory of universal grammar, it just means that at worst there was one extra "switch" that he hadn't considered.

Secondly other people seemed to think that the surprising feature didn't really exist when the evidence was examined more closely.

Edited by Northern Sol, 02 October 2012 - 05:31 PM.


#117 Northern Sol

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:23 PM

I think this is where I struggle then. If rules can be broken, modified or changed without any problem then they're not really rules. It's consensus and the rule writers follow with their notepads observing the changes and occasionally going, "Mmm, okay then ..."


That's because you haven't read up on how the changes occur.

Rules do not suddenly change overnight, there are parallel structures such as "I like dancing" and "I like to dance" which differ in sociolinguist nuances e.g. the latter form was considered an Americanism until recently unless it was qualified along the lines of "I like to dance (in the evening)". Then as people who used the first form die off then the second form gradually takes over, at some point no-one will say "like dancing" and it will be considered archaic. However there are still rules since "I like for dance" would be considered wrong by everybody.

I noticed that my kids do not ever use the word "many" and replace it with "much" in ways that sound ungrammatical to me. I suspect that "many" will eventually die out. It's probably a generational thing. Their rules are not my rules but they still have rules that govern their utterances.

#118 Northern Sol

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:27 PM

Well, for people born after we lived in caves, we do follow the development of language. Hence, rules. Doesn't mean to say rules can't be modified, fall into disuse or be outright broken where considered necessary by the users.

Im staying out of Chomsky as I know so little about him. My shaky idea was that he advocated that all humans have a 'Language Acquisistion Device' which sets us apart from animals. How that affects grammar rules, I don't know. Now I'll read your link.


Chomsky came along when Skinnerism was in vogue. At the time language was argued to be a reflex, some language is correct and gets reinforced and other language is wrong and does not. The teaching methodology of the time was audiolingualism (essentially listen and repeat key phrases).

Chomsky pointed out that language is much more creative than this since we could all create bizarre sentences that are unique in that nobody has ever said them before. He postulated that we have an inbuilt ability to learn the grammar of our first language, his metaphor is that we have a train set in our brains and we just need to learn how to set the various switches. There is evidence to back this up but it's a bit complex.

The communicative methodology is based around Chomsky's ideas (among others). We teach grammar and lexis in a way that allows for student creativity and independence.

#119 Northern Sol

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:30 PM

Chomsky is up his own ######. Meanwhile, in the real non-taxpayer funded world where people earn a living from communicating without the need for the
Chomsky–Schützenberger theorem and where Shakespeare, Kerouac, Dickens and Twain rub shoulders ignorant of the arrogant tosser, things are going pretty well with English, everyone's' second language.


Chomsky is a twot when it comes to politics / economics. He is simply an ignorant troll who seeks to be nothing but an ignorant troll.

But he is a genius when it comes to linguistics. He is one of the most cited academics of all time.

#120 JohnM

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:34 PM

But he is a genius when it comes to linguistics. He is one of the most cited academics of all time.


now you've done it! :lol:




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