thought some of you might be interested in this
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December 5th, 2012, 08:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle area, Washington
Here's a particularly eloquently written blog post on a subject that's been debated here frequently in the past: the role that critiques of grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. should (or shouldn't) play in intellectual discussion:
Literacy Privilege: How I Learned to Check Mine Instead of Making Fun of People’s Grammar on the Internet « Painting the Grey Area
This author's position is essentially that strict adherence to 'standard' rules of grammar and syntax, and insistence on the use of those rules during the course of a debate, is just another tool for marginalizing the least privileged members of our society. Only she says it much better than I could. Here are a couple of quotes I found particularly compelling:
Judgements about what counts as “right”, “good” and “correct” in writing and grammar always – ALWAYS – align with characteristics of the dialects spoken by privileged, mostly wealthy, mostly white people. We make these judgements based on learned biases, as well as a certain emotional attachment to our own way of doing things. But when people study dialects in an objective, scientific way (which is what cunning linguists actually do), they find that low-prestige dialects, such as African-American Vernacular English or Cockney English, have fully-formed grammar rules of their own that make just as much sense as any others. They are perfectly valid and functional forms of communication used by millions of people. The only difference is that they don’t have people running around telling everyone else to do it their way.
Do I sound angry? That’s because I am. I’m angry that linguistic elitism is so deeply embedded in our social discourse with so little critical analysis. I’m angry that it took me four years of being slapped in the face with the daily realities of poor literacy skills before I finally relinquished my own prescriptive bayonet.
As a member of a marginalized group myself, I am hyperconscious of other, more well-recognized types of privilege – male privilege, white privilege, straight privilege, able-bodied privilege.
What do you all think? I realize that several of our formerly most vocal members on this particular subject are gone now, but I'm still curious to hear your opinions.
Thank you to the SSMC makers for my beautiful siggies!
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