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Text 138, 97 rader
Skriven 2005-06-19 21:42:19 av Ardith Hinton (1:153/716.0)
     Kommentar till en text av James Bradley (1:134/77.0)
Ärende: Rules...  1.
====================
Hi, James!  Recently you wrote in a message to Ardith Hinton:

AH>  Many linguists have a similar learning style....  :-)

JB>  Please tell me you're pulling my leg.


          No... but I'm trying to avoid resorting to "psychobabble".  Would it
help if I mentioned that Albert Einstein, who was thought to be a dunce in his
youth, probably did too?  It's important to distinguish between making "rules"
about what "should" happen with observing & reporting on what does happen.  In
this case I made a list, verified the spellings, and found some more examples.
Only then did I consult Fowler, who'd collected even more examples & organized
them neatly into categories.  I'm not just copying what some expert said.  I'm
telling you that Fowler's analysis is consistent with my own research....  :-)



JB>  I guess it was the "I before E except after C." that
JB>  took me a while to put into practise. Once there,
JB>  they started adding to the rules where I turned
JB>  frustrated.


          Uh-huh.  Looking at the situation from the other side of the desk...
that's where I often felt frustrated as a teacher too!  I'd have kids in grade
eight who figured they knew everything worth knowing about spelling & grammar,
because Miss Rule or their Dad or somebody else they worshipped when they were
in grade three had explained it *this* way.  I didn't see much alternative but
to say "Now that you're big boys & girls, you're ready to add to the concept."
What they'd been told may have worked fairly well as long as the material they
were using had a controlled vocabulary.  It doesn't work at secondary level...
therefore I had to find a patch which wouldn't offend anybody's sensibilities.



JB>  Maybe that's why I took to math, music, and solitary
JB>  sports. Even though the rules get more complicated,
JB>  they are only built upon the earlier rules, and don't
JB>  seem to be ones that change so someone can win, or
JB>  feel superior and giggle under their breath.


          Language changes over time, and what's appropriate in one particular
style may not be in another... but I could say the same about music!  I've met
plenty of musical snobs.  I didn't even realize I was interested in music when
the only contacts I had were with folks like my father... for whom it was just
another form of noise... or with those who made disparaging comments about the
error the French horn player made in the second bar of the third movement just
to prove they were aware of such things where the peasantry (like me) weren't.
What aroused my interest was the piano version of PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION...
it was unlike anything I'd heard before.  Later, when I had learned more about
music history, I understood that it was written during a time when the Russian
composers didn't really understand European conventions.  Okay... it's program
music.  But Moussorgsky spoke to me, maybe because he was unconventional.  :-)



JB>  OK, seriously, "I before E, unless after C, or when
JB>  it sounds like..."


          Yes, you've got the drift!  Now... I regard this as a generalization
about a language which has grown like Topsy.  If there are some irregularities
which as yet remain unaccounted for, please don't shoot the messenger....  ;-)

BTW...

          I think we're on more or less the same wave length as far as "rules"
are concerned.  You probably haven't seen my diatribe about the sign at Nora's
school saying "NO PICKUP OR DROPOFF OF STUDENTS IN THIS AREA".  The sign is in
the area where the school buses pick up & drop off handicapped students... and
when we complained, we were told everybody knows that's okay.  The taxi driver
who refused to drop Nora off there five years ago, because he assumed the sign
meant what it said, obviously didn't know.  But nothing has changed... (sigh).



JB>  She was recalling some irony or another from Romeo +
JB>  Juliet, when I felt the need to grass-roots things
JB>  with, "Like in [local] wrestling when the referee
JB>  doesn't know someone's cheating?" Did I mention I've
JB>  always been a bit of a brat?


          Did I mention that humour is a great teaching tool?  I had some kids
in learning assistance once who said "axed" in place of "asked".  No doubt the
purists would insist I was wrong to interfere with their dialect, but I made a
comparison using "Lizzy Borden took an axe" to show them the difference.  They
found this doggerel so amusing they recited it to everybody who would listen &
it wasn't necessary for me to say anything further about "asked"... [chuckle].




--- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
 * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver BC, CANADA [604-266-5271] (1:153/716)