Author Topic: Cato's Grammar Grumble  (Read 561953 times)

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Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #120 on: February 12, 2009, 08:42:47 PM »
I know that, but I cant think from where. Please put me out of my misery
I don't know where you first heard it, Ben.  For me I think it was a student skit at Boalt Hall comprising rapid-fire lawyer jokes punctuated by rimshots on a drumkit:
What's the difference between a dead skunk on the road and a dead lawyer on the road?  (pause)  No skidmarks for the lawyer.
Ba-da-boom!
What do you call a hundred lawyers in a deep hole at the bottom of the ocean?  (pause)  A good start.
Ba-da-boom!
And so on.
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #121 on: February 13, 2009, 06:02:02 AM »
Heard on the radio:

Quote
Just like a child misses their blanket.

The way our tenth-grade English teacher instructed us, there are two errors here.  What is the consensus here? Jail term, $25 fine, or verbal reprimand?

Offline Florestan

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #122 on: February 13, 2009, 06:13:01 AM »
Just like a child misses their blanket.

If you look attentively at the Who's Online layout you'll notice that

Someone [is] viewing unread replies since their last visit

or that

Someone [is] viewing their messages.

 :)



"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #123 on: February 13, 2009, 06:36:15 AM »
Just like a child misses their blanket.

If you look attentively at the Who's Online layout you'll notice that

Someone [is] viewing unread replies since their last visit

or that

Someone [is] viewing their messages.

 :)

That are right.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #124 on: February 13, 2009, 06:41:10 AM »
That are right.

How come? Should it not be "Someone is viewing his / her messages?"

And should it not be "Those are right?;D
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 06:44:31 AM by Florestan »
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #125 on: February 13, 2009, 06:51:04 AM »
 Florestan  06:50:26 AM Viewing Who's Online.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #126 on: February 13, 2009, 06:53:38 AM »
Florestan  06:50:26 AM Viewing Who's Online.

And your point is... ? :)
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #127 on: February 13, 2009, 06:54:07 AM »
It should be "someone is viewing his messages."  Ever since the successful sexist attack on English and the PC hegemony it ushered in, those unwilling to risk attack by ignorant bigots have been handicapped by a number of poor choices, one of which is to use the awkward his/her construction.  Common usage seems to have determined that plural impersonals like their seem less egregiously awkward than such constructions.  And their is sufficiently indeterminate that it should survive assaults on the language as heinously "anthrocentric" by the deranged PETA sorts when the idea occurs to them.
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #128 on: February 13, 2009, 06:55:09 AM »
And your point is... ? :)

I have to have a point to post here?

Damn.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #129 on: February 13, 2009, 07:03:55 AM »
It should be "someone is viewing his messages."  Ever since the successful sexist attack on English and the PC hegemony it ushered in, those unwilling to risk attack by ignorant bigots have been handicapped by a number of poor choices, one of which is to use the awkward his/her construction.  Common usage seems to have determined that plural impersonals like their seem less egregiously awkward than such constructions.  And their is sufficiently indeterminate that it should survive assaults on the language as heinously "anthrocentric" by the deranged PETA sorts when the idea occurs to them.

Thanks. I suspected something of the sort. But should we talk and write politically correct or gramatically correct?  ;D
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

Offline Florestan

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #130 on: February 13, 2009, 07:05:10 AM »
I have to have a point to post here?

Damn.

Should it not be "Do I have to have a point to post here?"  ;D
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #131 on: February 13, 2009, 07:08:16 AM »
How come?

I mean, right that if I look attentively at the Who's Online layout, I should notice it.  :)

Quote from: Andrei
And should it not be "Those are right?;D

No, those were both wrong, as you queried (someone is singular, but their is plural). But that quibble of yours is right  8)

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #132 on: February 13, 2009, 07:10:37 AM »
But should we talk and write politically correct or gramatically correct?  ;D
Neither.  We should keep our mouths shut and not presume to think for ourselves but just obey the dictates of those who appoint themselves our masters.
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #133 on: February 13, 2009, 07:11:22 AM »
Or mistresses.

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #134 on: February 13, 2009, 07:11:55 AM »
Should it not be "Do I have to have a point to post here?"  ;D

It should be whatever the Hell I wrote.

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #135 on: February 13, 2009, 07:12:27 AM »
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #136 on: February 13, 2009, 07:13:38 AM »
The mistresses of the sort I should like, don't seem to be appointing themselves, though.

And the self-appointresses, well, I just might pass.

Offline Novi

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #137 on: February 13, 2009, 07:30:09 AM »
It should be "someone is viewing his messages."  Ever since the successful sexist attack on English and the PC hegemony it ushered in, those unwilling to risk attack by ignorant bigots have been handicapped by a number of poor choices, one of which is to use the awkward his/her construction.  Common usage seems to have determined that plural impersonals like their seem less egregiously awkward than such constructions.  And their is sufficiently indeterminate that it should survive assaults on the language as heinously "anthrocentric" by the deranged PETA sorts when the idea occurs to them.

I recently filled in a form that had three categories for 'gender': male, female, and transgender. As far as I recall, this was the first time I'd come across this option :).

Re: the above - I agree that PETA is deranged, but don't have a problem with recognising the intrinsic biases underlying the English language and don't consider this recognition an example of 'PC hegemony' $:) <--PCPC? hehe
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den der heimlich lauschet.

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #138 on: February 13, 2009, 08:53:13 AM »
...recognising the intrinsic biases underlying the English language....
Are there "intrinsic [gender] biases underlying the English language?"  Assuming that one discerns a bias in the language, as you obviously have been taught to do, how are you to determine whether the bias, if intrinsic at all, is intrinsic to the language or intrinsic to the point of view of the discerner?  It seems to me that the language itself is gender-neutral.  If one is determined to project gender-bias onto the language, then one could just as easily claim that using his, he, and him as non-gender-specific personal pronouns indicates an "intrinsic bias" against males, since the specifically masculine pronouns share double duty with the non-gender-specific ones, suggesting that masculinity is not a sufficiently valuable personal characteristic to merit its own distinct set of pronouns akin to those femininity enjoys.

Language shapes thought, culture, achievement.  The success of the English-speaking peoples and their gifts to the world arguably stem from a characteristic relationship to the phenomenal world that is embedded in the language.  One of the most apparent distinguishing characteristics of English, especially compared to its European cousins both Latin and Germanic, is the streamlined and flexible grammar--an evolutionary development that may well have much to do with the fecundity of ideas sprouting in minds relatively unfettered by the constraints of rigid, cumbersome grammars.  PC proscriptions of language use might well prove regressive, rather than progressive as their advocates imagine.

Addendum:  On further thought, it strikes me as extraordinarily short-sighted and ironic to attack English speakers and their language as intrinsically sexist when no other culture has done so much to advance the rights of women. 
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 10:52:34 AM by DavidRoss »
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

Offline The Six

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #139 on: February 13, 2009, 10:22:36 AM »