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#206262 - 06/27/12 05:45 PM Re: Why they peeve [Re: BranShea]
gooofy Offline
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Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 37
No one is saying "grammar is not in written languages". What we're saying is that since all languages have grammar, and since most languages have no writing systems, it follows that writing is not intrinsic to grammar.

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#206263 - 06/27/12 06:08 PM Re: Why they peeve [Re: gooofy]
zmjezhd Offline
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Registered: 08/13/05
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Pullum says "But even if you ignore all the stupid stuff, the last two sentences really are genuinely ungrammatical for perfectly clear reasons." He's referring to sentences 7 and 8, which he says are ungrammatical because of punctuation. It seems to me that for Pullum, punctuation is grammar.

I guess you're right. I suppose one of us could ask him ...
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#206264 - 06/27/12 06:10 PM Re: Why they parse [Re: BranShea]
zmjezhd Offline
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I fully entrust you your own (to me incomprehensible) idea of what grammar žs, but there's no need to mystify what everyone can plainly read in this article.

I'm not sure who this is addressed to, but I gave my definition of grammar in the opening post of this thread. Do you find that incomprehensible?
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#206266 - 06/28/12 05:00 AM Re: Why they parse [Re: zmjezhd]
BranShea Offline
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Registered: 06/23/06
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Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
It was also adressed to you although your first post is fully understandable. What confuses me are the contradictory comments about this grammar stuff.

This is one from Goofy (Barzun thread):

"If you don't think it reads well, that's fair enough, but it has nothing to do with the grammar of standard English. "

This is you:

"think of grammar as a set of rules for using a particular language. For me grammar consists of various sub-fields of study: phonology (the sounds used by a language), morphology (the basic units of meaning, which can be lexical items, i.e., words, or smaller bits, e.g., affixes), and syntax (how the various units of meaning are put together to form grammatical phrases or sentences). I do not think of orthography as a part of grammar. That is spelling and punctuation, which should be taught, are just not a part of grammar for me or most linguists I have talked with or read."

You both seem (Fladage too I think)to exclude orthography from grammar. Yet these little next to nothings decide (to me) whether I choke on a text or not. Apparently in British English they count orthography in, as seen in Pummel's comments.
- "ungrammatical because of punctuation again: the final period has been carelessly omitted" -

Quote:
Scientists have counted approx. 6500 languages, half of which are, however, threatened to die off soon, as they are no longer passed on. Not counted in above figure are pure sign-languages or computer-languages. Non-linguists are often confused- as they consider the written language as the more important side of any language. However, the opposite is true amongst language-specialists: true linguists - masters in their trade - consider the sound of a language as the important part and treat its written representation with nonchalance.


Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Approximately_how_many_
languages_are_spoken_worldwide


Edited by BranShea (06/28/12 05:02 AM)

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#206267 - 06/28/12 07:04 AM Re: Why they parse [Re: BranShea]
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Originally Posted By: BranShea


You both seem (Fladage too I think)to exclude orthography from grammar. Yet these little next to nothings decide (to me) whether I choke on a text or not. Apparently in British English they count orthography in, as seen in Pummel's comments.
- "ungrammatical because of punctuation again: the final period has been carelessly omitted" -


Again, this is Pullum using the QES's mistaken definition of grammar against them. He's saying that regardless of the validity of the rules they proclaim they are violating them.

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#206269 - 06/28/12 09:00 AM Re: Why they parse [Re: BranShea]
gooofy Offline
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Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 37
Punctuation is important, but my knowledge of punctuation is not the same sort of thing as my knowledge of how to produce and comprehend utterances - that is, my knowledge that tells me that "I explained the problem to him" is an English sentence, and "*explained problem the him I to" is not.

If "grammar" simply means "that which causes you to choke on a text", then you have to conclude that languages with no writing system have no grammar. Don't you?

Originally Posted By: BranShea

Apparently in British English they count orthography in, as seen in Pummel's comments.


Pullum is American. It's not about regional dialects, it's that different linguists use different definitions.


Edited by gooofy (06/28/12 09:07 AM)

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#206270 - 06/28/12 10:00 AM Re: Why they parse [Re: gooofy]
zmjezhd Offline
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Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
Pullum is American. It's not about regional dialects, it's that different linguists use different definitions.

Although he has taught and lived in the States for years (recently he returned to Scotland to work), he is British. I've spoken with him face to face and his accent is not American.
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Ceci n'est pas un seing.

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#206271 - 06/28/12 10:11 AM Re: Why nits [Re: BranShea]
zmjezhd Offline
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Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
What confuses me are the contradictory comments about this grammar stuff.

I am not sure what Pullum is up to in the final part of his essay. Most linguists I know, do not count punctuation as a part of grammar, and I agree with them. That you exclude something from grammar does not mean it is unimportant. I do not see orthography (basically punctuation and spelling) as a part of grammar, I see it as a part of how to commit a text in a language to some kind of permanence (that is how to write).

Likewise, I do not see usage and style to be a part of grammar. If you're going to be a writer though, they are very important topics to study and master.

Linguistics is an academic field, and as such, not all linguists agree with one another. Having read Pullum's piece, I notice that it kind of peters out towards the end. He may have just gotten confused about channeling his inner peever and not mentioned a caveat that this is not how he thinks, or he may believe that some punctuation is part of grammar. We'll never know short of asking him to clarify himself. Anyway we look at it, part (or all?) of a text are not exactly comprehensible at least to a couple of its readers. Again, I say that it has bugger all to do with grammar. I can find no solecisms in Pullum's piece. It has to do with how his argument (thesis) holds together as he writes about it. I know it has nothing to do with orthography even. It might be subsumed under usage, if one includes rhetoric and logic there.
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Ceci n'est pas un seing.

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#206275 - 06/28/12 12:59 PM Re: Why they parse [Re: zmjezhd]
gooofy Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 37
Originally Posted By: zmjezhd


Although he has taught and lived in the States for years (recently he returned to Scotland to work), he is British. I've spoken with him face to face and his accent is not American.


Oops, my mistake.

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#206276 - 06/28/12 03:30 PM Re: Why they parse [Re: Faldage]
BranShea Offline
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Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Originally Posted By: Faldage


Again, this is Pullum using the QES's mistaken definition of grammar against them. He's saying that regardless of the validity of the rules they proclaim they are violating them.


Yes, yes, you said it before. Quote Pullum: "(and keep in mind here that in some!! cases I am applying what prescriptive authorities generally say, not endorsing it)" You do know the difference between some and all no doubt. This opens the way to ambiguity.


Edited by BranShea (06/28/12 03:31 PM)

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