0919: "Tween Bromance"

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Scott Auld
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby Scott Auld » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:12 pm UTC

MonkeyBoy wrote:The good news: in another 30 years, no one will be saying "irregardless" anymore. The bad news: the reason is because by then, common-use English will have deteriorated to the point where most people don't use or understand words with more than three syllables.


I agri w/u irgrdlss.

Sioni
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby Sioni » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:15 pm UTC

wisnij wrote:
Sioni wrote:3) Too many undeserving collections of letters are somehow admitted to respected dictionaries of American English. Whoever's in charge needs to be smacked upside the head for being unintelligent and for lacking discernment.
[...]
7) Wide usage and understanding doesn't (or shouldn't) make something a word. I don't know what the full and exact criteria are, but people's stupidity and laziness shouldn't be an excuse to put something in the dictionary. Terms like "jargon" and "slang" are capable of describing the type of terms to which the last sentence was referring.

Dictionaries record usage, not correctness (whatever that means). Typically they will list whether a given entry is 'nonstandard' or otherwise unusual. There is no official regulating body for the English language like some other languages have, such as French or Icelandic. "Informal" or "nonstandard" do not necessarily mean "incorrect", only that there are certain contexts in which a word may be more or less appropriate.

More generally, there's no such thing as something "being a word" or not, unless you're using that as a shorthand for "a word I approve of". I wish people wouldn't say irregardless either, but they do anyway, so tough for us.


Unfortunately, this argument could go on for a really long time. The problem, as you've pointed out, is that there's no regulating body for American English, and there's no way to define which collections of letter qualify as "words" (whatever that means) and which ones don't. I admit to being a prescriptivist, but I maintain that individuals should learn to speak properly rather than expecting their interlocutors to be familiar with jargon and slang (unless that jargon is necessary to communicate the correct ideas as it might be between mechanics or software developers or something).

ExplodingHat wrote:
Sioni wrote:12) As far as semantics and/or syntax a "sentence" constructed as "Just because...doesn't mean..." is a "sentence" without a subject. Read it carefully. There's nothing there to do the action. There's no subject of the sentence.
I would argue that "Just because X.." is a noun phrase, inasmuch as the overall form of the sentence is "A does not imply B." The correctness of that phrase, however, is another debate entirely.


Actually, no. "Just because I went to the beach..." is essentially the same as saying "because I went to the beach..." (the only difference is that the first bit implies that the person's going to the beach is the only thing that's important as far as the rest of the sentence). A noun phrase is a phrase that functions as a noun. "The fact that I went to the beach..." or "my going to the beach..." would be a noun phrase. These are things that can function as subjects and can, consequently, do something.
Now, you could say something like "Just because I went to the beach you think I don't like hiking". In this case the sentence reduces to "you think" with modifiers. "Just because I went to the beach" isn't a noun phrase or the subject of the sentence here. You might say "the fact that I went to the beach doesn't mean that I don't like hiking". In this case the sentence reduces to "fact doesn't mean" with modifiers.
"Just because I went to the beach doesn't mean I don't like hiking" has no subject (as I've pointed out already). There's nothing present to do the "doesn't mean"-ing. What do you think should be used? Neither "I" nor "beach" will work as the subject of the sentence (and there is nothing implied that might function as the subject as there would be in the sentence "go cut the lawn"). Neither "I" nor "beach" is the thing that "doesn't mean" something else.
The overall form of "just because...doesn't mean..." is not "A does not imply B". Using noun phrases for A and B in that construction would make for a proper sentence. It would reduce to "(noun) does not imply" with modifiers.

TankerMan
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby TankerMan » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:41 pm UTC

randall munroe: "well, it seems that most of my readers are people who get easily annoyed by specific words, so i'll create a comic that endorses that position"

+1 career get


randall munroe never ceases to amaze me with his humor. keep on trucking!

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby GeorgeH » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:41 pm UTC

Blaisorblade wrote:So irregardless is just stupid.

You have made an incorrect statement of opinion! Hold my calls and bring me my typing machine!

I agree that regardless is better as a written word – as you pointed out we often tned to raed hte wolhe owrd at once and I don’t see the ir as adding any meaning, just fluff that’s a little ugly. As a spoken word, though, I think irregardless has its place and is often superior to regardless. In speech the initial ir can be combined with a tone that transmits dismissal and negation almost instantly. With regardless you almost have to wait for the whole word to obtain any meaning and its syllables don't lend themselves to dismissive tones nearly as well.

If you're one of those "people" that thinks that written and spoken words should always be the same, I have but one argument to make:
Spoiler:
Phbbbt!

:P

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:12 am UTC

Sioni wrote:7) Wide usage and understanding doesn't (or shouldn't) make something a word.
And why the hell not? Dictionaries describe usage, and so if something is used enough it belongs in a dictionary.

12) As far as semantics and/or syntax a "sentence" constructed as "Just because...doesn't mean..." is a "sentence" without a subject. Read it carefully. There's nothing there to do the action. There's no subject of the sentence.
And? Does that make it necessarily ungrammatical? If I say, "Want to go?", am I speaking improperly, or am I simply omitting a subject and auxiliary verb that are understood by both of us?

18) I don't think anyone's arguing that English isn't an awful language with too many exceptions and poor constructions (in a lot of cases). The poor quality of modern American English isn't an excuse to speak it poorly and make it worse.
If a language is successfully used to communicate by hundreds of millions of people, you'll have to be a tad more specific about what made-up criteria you're using to describe it as "poor".

Sioni wrote:individuals should learn to speak properly rather than expecting their interlocutors to be familiar with jargon and slang
Except that, at least with a lot of slang, the fact that some people don't understand it is precisely the point, and ever has been. (After all, it's not like people alive today were the first to invent loads of slang. The first to have so much of it stored as text, maybe, but definitely not to invent it.)
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NonSequitur
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby NonSequitur » Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:31 am UTC

The upside of this comic is that "yiff" is now the #1 google autocomplete for "yi" surely at least partly due to the XKCD effect.
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dendodge
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby dendodge » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:06 am UTC

SteevyT wrote:Can someone please translate? I know it is a train wreck of the English language, but I would like to know what he is attempting to say.

I took it to mean that he walked in on her cleaning up after, um, enjoying herself over some yiff.

"I guess you enjoyed that furry porn so much your vaginal juices stained your panties."

But I have a dirty mind, so maybe I'm reading too much into it.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby ExplodingHat » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:31 am UTC

Sioni wrote: "Just because I went to the beach..." is essentially the same as saying "because I went to the beach..." (the only difference is that the first bit implies that the person's going to the beach is the only thing that's important as far as the rest of the sentence). A noun phrase is a phrase that functions as a noun. "The fact that I went to the beach..." or "my going to the beach..." would be a noun phrase. These are things that can function as subjects and can, consequently, do something.
Now, you could say something like "Just because I went to the beach you think I don't like hiking". In this case the sentence reduces to "you think" with modifiers. "Just because I went to the beach" isn't a noun phrase or the subject of the sentence here. You might say "the fact that I went to the beach doesn't mean that I don't like hiking". In this case the sentence reduces to "fact doesn't mean" with modifiers.
"Just because I went to the beach doesn't mean I don't like hiking" has no subject (as I've pointed out already). There's nothing present to do the "doesn't mean"-ing. What do you think should be used? Neither "I" nor "beach" will work as the subject of the sentence (and there is nothing implied that might function as the subject as there would be in the sentence "go cut the lawn"). Neither "I" nor "beach" is the thing that "doesn't mean" something else.
The overall form of "just because...doesn't mean..." is not "A does not imply B". Using noun phrases for A and B in that construction would make for a proper sentence. It would reduce to "(noun) does not imply" with modifiers.
The problem is the use of the word "because". I would imagine this is an attempt at countering statements of the form "Because A (is true), B." "(The fact) that A (is true) does not imply B" is, as you noted, the correct form. I would say that "because" is therefore acting as "that"(whose "the fact" is implied), and "just" further emphasizes the condition of insufficiency (so "fact" would be the noun). Hence I believe the issue is in whether or not "because" deserves to be able to unconventionally substitute for "that" like that. Irregardless( :wink: ) of correctness, the construct effectively indicates that the second proposition cannot be soundly inferred from the first.
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby perakojot » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:47 am UTC

wisnij wrote:Dictionaries record usage, not correctness (whatever that means).


this!

such a nice, simple, elegant, memorable and quotable summary of the whole thread!

+1

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MonkeyBoy
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby MonkeyBoy » Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:11 am UTC

perakojot wrote:
wisnij wrote:Dictionaries record usage, not correctness (whatever that means).


this!

such a nice, simple, elegant, memorable and quotable summary of the whole thread!


The problem is that most people don't realize that, and grant dictionaries a position of authori-tahhh.

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Werewolf
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby Werewolf » Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:55 am UTC

Yiff yiff, murr

:3

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby Sioni » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:52 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Sioni wrote:7) Wide usage and understanding doesn't (or shouldn't) make something a word.
And why the hell not? Dictionaries describe usage, and so if something is used enough it belongs in a dictionary.


You must have missed the part where I admitted to being a prescriptivist, and I admitted that the argument can't be won by either party. See the paragraph at the bottom of this post.

gmalivuk wrote:
12) As far as semantics and/or syntax a "sentence" constructed as "Just because...doesn't mean..." is a "sentence" without a subject. Read it carefully. There's nothing there to do the action. There's no subject of the sentence.
And? Does that make it necessarily ungrammatical? If I say, "Want to go?", am I speaking improperly, or am I simply omitting a subject and auxiliary verb that are understood by both of us?


Yes. That does make it ungrammatical. If you say "Want to go?" then yes, you are speaking improperly; you're doing so as far as American English is concerned. Before you argue please read the statement I've included all the way at the bottom of this post.

gmalivuk wrote:
18) I don't think anyone's arguing that English isn't an awful language with too many exceptions and poor constructions (in a lot of cases). The poor quality of modern American English isn't an excuse to speak it poorly and make it worse.
If a language is successfully used to communicate by hundreds of millions of people, you'll have to be a tad more specific about what made-up criteria you're using to describe it as "poor".


Careful. I haven't insulted anyone. There's no call for that sort of attack.
I don't think that you can draw the conclusion that you want to draw here without knowing intimately how nonnative speakers communicate across language boundaries through the use of American English. Every person I've met for whom American English is not a first language (there are more nonnative speakers than just Mexicans out there) is more interested in knowing proper (read: standard) grammar, syntax, and vocabulary than he is in learning nonstandard American English. I'd venture that nonstandard American English (with or without jargon and/or slang) is not what is used by people who can't otherwise communicate.
I'm also fairly sure (though I don't claim to be completely certain) that American English is widely considered to be tremendously difficult to learn. It has too many exceptions to its rules regarding things like grammar, syntax, and spelling.

gmalivuk wrote:
Sioni wrote:individuals should learn to speak properly rather than expecting their interlocutors to be familiar with jargon and slang
Except that, at least with a lot of slang, the fact that some people don't understand it is precisely the point, and ever has been. (After all, it's not like people alive today were the first to invent loads of slang. The first to have so much of it stored as text, maybe, but definitely not to invent it.)


I didn't say slang was wrong. I just think that people should be capable of communicating in a specific manner without it.

GeorgeH wrote:
Blaisorblade wrote:So irregardless is just stupid.

You have made an incorrect statement of opinion! Hold my calls and bring me my typing machine!

I agree that regardless is better as a written word – as you pointed out we often tned to raed hte wolhe owrd at once and I don’t see the ir as adding any meaning, just fluff that’s a little ugly. As a spoken word, though, I think irregardless has its place and is often superior to regardless. In speech the initial ir can be combined with a tone that transmits dismissal and negation almost instantly. With regardless you almost have to wait for the whole word to obtain any meaning and its syllables don't lend themselves to dismissive tones nearly as well.

If you're one of those "people" that thinks that written and spoken words should always be the same, I have but one argument to make:
Spoiler:
Phbbbt!

:P


As a person who finds himself far too often translating his own first language as people say it or as I read it I heavily disagree with you. I also think you meant '"those" people' rather than 'those "people"'. I suppose you could have meant that responders who don't agree with you aren't people. That would seem appropriate in this kind of thread (we appear to be at the point of people boiling over very easily).

ExplodingHat wrote:
Sioni wrote: "Just because I went to the beach..." is essentially the same as saying "because I went to the beach..." (the only difference is that the first bit implies that the person's going to the beach is the only thing that's important as far as the rest of the sentence). A noun phrase is a phrase that functions as a noun. "The fact that I went to the beach..." or "my going to the beach..." would be a noun phrase. These are things that can function as subjects and can, consequently, do something.
Now, you could say something like "Just because I went to the beach you think I don't like hiking". In this case the sentence reduces to "you think" with modifiers. "Just because I went to the beach" isn't a noun phrase or the subject of the sentence here. You might say "the fact that I went to the beach doesn't mean that I don't like hiking". In this case the sentence reduces to "fact doesn't mean" with modifiers.
"Just because I went to the beach doesn't mean I don't like hiking" has no subject (as I've pointed out already). There's nothing present to do the "doesn't mean"-ing. What do you think should be used? Neither "I" nor "beach" will work as the subject of the sentence (and there is nothing implied that might function as the subject as there would be in the sentence "go cut the lawn"). Neither "I" nor "beach" is the thing that "doesn't mean" something else.
The overall form of "just because...doesn't mean..." is not "A does not imply B". Using noun phrases for A and B in that construction would make for a proper sentence. It would reduce to "(noun) does not imply" with modifiers.
The problem is the use of the word "because". I would imagine this is an attempt at countering statements of the form "Because A (is true), B." "(The fact) that A (is true) does not imply B" is, as you noted, the correct form. I would say that "because" is therefore acting as "that"(whose "the fact" is implied), and "just" further emphasizes the condition of insufficiency (so "fact" would be the noun). Hence I believe the issue is in whether or not "because" deserves to be able to unconventionally substitute for "that" like that. Irregardless( :wink: ) of correctness, the construct effectively indicates that the second proposition cannot be soundly inferred from the first.


"That A does not imply B" would not be a correct or full sentence, though. It doesn't make any sense without the words you've parenthesized; "(The fact) that A (is true) does not imply B" makes sense only with those words in parentheses included. I would venture that "because" can't act as "that" (and "the fact" cannot be logically implied) for the reason that American English uses "because" in a different syntactic way (usually, and especially in these types of situations). It makes sense to say "Because the bag was clear plastic we couldn't see it in the ocean". In this case the sentence reduces to "we could not see" with modifiers, and "because the bag was clear plastic" serves as an explanation/reason for the rest of the sentence. My answer to your last sentence is below, and it applies to almost everything that's been going on so far.

I think, ultimately, that what we're arguing about is how the fact that meaning is the ultimate goal of communication affects word usage. Some believe that that means that any statement whose meaning is unambiguously understood by both parties need not conform to the specifics of a language as long as the communicated idea is clear. The other side believes that people should speak (or at least be capable of speaking) the language with proper words, grammar, and syntax. Both sides clearly have different ways of looking at this issue, and if I were a betting man I'd bet that neither side will be able to argue the other to its own point of view.
Last edited by Sioni on Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:12 am UTC, edited 4 times in total.

Goplat
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby Goplat » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:03 am UTC

lewax00 wrote:
zephalis wrote:I'm not sure where you get your information about "grammar, spelling, pronunciation, letters..." but most of those have not noticeably changed over the last 200-300 years
I disagree, into the 1800s "f" and "s" were fairly interchangeable in words, for example, "Auguft" was a common spelling of "August".

Thoſe weren't "f"s, they were "ſ"s. Juſt a different form of the letter s, uſed before the end of words.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby doggitydogs » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:34 am UTC

Ridcully wrote:
SteevyT wrote:Can someone please translate? I know it is a train wreck of the English language, but I would like to know what he is attempting to say.


Red is generally grammar/ spelling errors, blue is tense problems and confusing structure. They tend to mingle. A lot.

(Indention) I actually enjoy speaking this way. I spent eighteen years (unnecessary ‘growing up’) in a small town in Colorado, where speech like mine is incredibly common (explain). Although to a lesser extent than I use it today (unnecessary). I subsequently (to what?) moved from Colorado to Long Island, right next to The City, which I had to learn meant NYC (irrelevant, improper use of comma, confusing). I use folksy terms because it's part of my personal heritage. It's my culture (no comma) in many ways. Plus, I'd bet most people on this forum like Firefly... And Malcolm's folk way (needs to be a adjective) of talking. (improper use of ellipses, improper capitalization, does not make sense.)

(Indention) I'm noticing (unclear tense shift) that people on this thread who claim that certain words are worse (compared to?) love to dance around on their points; (improper semi colon) (possession cluster fuck). One minute they claim, (whatever the forums do ect)

And then (those same users?) say,

(Indention) (It seems to me that y'all (do I need to say anything?) are just looking for excuses to discriminate against those words they (needs to be ‘you’) think are "bad", but don't want to take a personal stand. (Use period) They hide behind claims that other people are the ones responsible; (stop using semi colons!) either the people who make dictionaries or "THE MAN" (no capitals needed) trying to dictate what are good new words and what are not (confusing). I mean, (no reason for this to be here) I agree that a lot of those words (be specific) are pretty frickin (not a word) stupid. But where do you get off telling other people they can't use them (confusing tense shift)? If someone wants to use a specific set of slang terms, nonstandard language, and correctly understood, (comma here) misused (use a different word, ‘misused’ conveys faultiness) words, then that's pretty much their (unclear tense) choice. If you want to make a, “List of words that should be banned” then (don’t need this) who would have the power to dictate (already used once in this paragraph, use something else) what words are or are not allowed? Maybe he, she or they (that's unfortunately the correct construction (unnecessary, incorrect, confusing)) will decide that the word "dictate" sounds too much like "dick" and this forum post will be a misdemeanor. Or maybe, we should just accept that people are going to talk the way they want and a bunch of Internet Etymology (no capitals) Nazis (near cousins of the more common grammar Nazis) really can't do jack shit about it.

Hope that helped out :)


1. Agreed.
2. Uh... "actually." Adverb. "Enjoy." Verb. I don't see the problem.
3. "This" being a determiner, referring to the current method of speech. Antecedent is clear, no problem here.
4. How would we know that he was growing up during those eighteen years? Maybe he moved there at 40, out at 57.
5. Where: antecedent = small town in Colorado. Speech like mine is a simile...
6. Significantly more common than in other places...
7. Okay, how the hell would someone be able to imply that statement?
8. Subsequently to the eighteen years spent in Colorado.
9. This seems right to me, but I can't tell why.
10. Agreed. Also prevalent in "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" when written that way. Ridiculously irritating.
11. [url="http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/folk#Adjective"]Folk = adjective AND noun[/url]
12. Agreed, but would make sense if grammar was correct (remove ellipses, lowercase "a").
13. see 1
14. Improper, but still "clear" and easily inferrable.
15. Antecedent is unclear, but can be inferred. Agreed, however.
16-17. ...
18. That should be ", etc.," not "ect," on your part. ect doesn't stand for anything.
19. Same as above...
20. see 1
21. No. No, you don't. At least the apostrophe is in the proper location; I have a classmate who insists on "ya'll." Drives me nuts.
22. Actually, should be they AND 21 should be they. Why are we suddenly in second-person?
(If you're not an American, you can be forgiven for missing comma outside quotation marks. We Americans insist on it being on the inside for whatever bizarre region. I don't like it, but that's how it is.)
23. Yeah, use a period
24. But... but a semicolon is correct here. It separates two separate clauses as part of the same point. Could, indeed, have been written to be read more smoothly, however.
25. Agreed.
26. see 15
27. Agreed.
28. There is no tense shift here... it's all present-tense...
(You missed that "and correctly understood" should be "and be correctly understood.")
29. I'm pretty sure the purpose here is to convey faultiness...
30. Present tense again!
31. Agreed. Move comma to after "banned."
32. Agreed, but it is correctly used.
33. Meh.
34. To bug you even more, add the serial comma. Also, I'm [url="http://xkcd.com/145/"]uppity[/url] about the use of "they" as a third-person singular genderless pronoun.
35. Yet you insist on capitalization of 37.
36. Correct (the parenthetical statement is not a separate clause from its parent sentence, as I am demonstrating here with a particularly lengthy yet well-formed example of a non-capitalized compound sentence enclosed within parentheses).

Hope that helped out, too :)

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:46 am UTC

Sioni wrote:I don't think that you can draw the conclusion that you want to draw here without knowing intimately how nonnative speakers communicate across language boundaries through the use of American English.
Perhaps. But seeing as I have been teaching English to just such people for years, I'm safe.

Every person I've met for whom American English is not a first language is more interested in knowing proper (read: standard) grammar, syntax, and vocabulary than he is in learning nonstandard American English.
Well most of the ones I've met and taught want to be able to understand and communicate effectively with native speakers. When this involves learning both standard *and* nonstandard usage, in my experience they are perfectly happy to be told about both.

I didn't say slang was wrong. I just think that people should be capable of communicating in a specific manner without it.
Sorry, was anyone in this thread saying that everyone must use slang all the time? Of course it's fine for people to be capable of communicating in words that nearly everyone who speaks their language can understand, but that's not the same as saying they should always or even mostly speak this way. (Nor is it the same as saying it's always or even mostly *possible* to speak this way, in any language that has any kind of significant dialectical variation.)

"That A does not imply B" would not be a correct or full sentence, though.
Yes it would, if A is itself a clause. Which it would be, if it can go after "just because". For example, the sentence, "That I am American does not imply that I only speak English," is grammatical.

I would venture that "because" can't act as "that" (and "the fact" cannot be logically implied) for the reason that American English uses "because" in a different syntactic way
Does it? Or did it up until people started using American English to say things like, "Just because ... doesn't mean ..."?

The other side believes that people should speak (or at least be capable of speaking) the language with proper words, grammar, and syntax.
The problem with this side is the very notion that one proper grammar exists in the first place.

Every language ever has had differing registers. And every language ever has had varieties which would be frowned upon if used in academic or otherwise formal social settings. And yes, there is something to be said for adjusting your language use to fit your intended audience, and perhaps that even carries the weight of "should". At least in a conditional sense.

Which is to say, if you want to communicate with group X in such a way as to effectively convey your meaning and also not be thought of poorly by members of that group, then you should conform to Y set of rules for lexicon, morphology, syntax, and so on.

But the thing most prescriptivists seem unable or unwilling to comprehend is that "group X" can mean quite a lot more than "stuffy prescriptivists".
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby Werewolf » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:04 am UTC

NonSequitur wrote:The upside of this comic is that "yiff" is now the #1 google autocomplete for "yi" surely at least partly due to the XKCD effect.

What are you talking about, sir?

Yiff is furry sex, to be blunt. It's pretty popular without xkcd's help

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:08 am UTC

Yeah, given that no xkcd page has yet broken the top 10 Google results, I doubt its popularity there has anything to do with this comic.
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby Sioni » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:22 am UTC

It's clear that there's not going to be a consensus here. There are two camps. I'm clearly in one of them, and gmalivuk, you're clearly in the other. Neither camp has a high opinion of the other's position, and I can't see either being argued to the other side (as I've said before). I'm done here. You're welcome, gmalivuk, to the last word if you want it.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby wisnij » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:39 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Sioni wrote:The other side believes that people should speak (or at least be capable of speaking) the language with proper words, grammar, and syntax.
The problem with this side is the very notion that one proper grammar exists in the first place.

Every language ever has had differing registers. And every language ever has had varieties which would be frowned upon if used in academic or otherwise formal social settings. And yes, there is something to be said for adjusting your language use to fit your intended audience, and perhaps that even carries the weight of "should". At least in a conditional sense.

Which is to say, if you want to communicate with group X in such a way as to effectively convey your meaning and also not be thought of poorly by members of that group, then you should conform to Y set of rules for lexicon, morphology, syntax, and so on.

But the thing most prescriptivists seem unable or unwilling to comprehend is that "group X" can mean quite a lot more than "stuffy prescriptivists".

This, a thousand times this.

It's a common mistake to assume formal speech or writing is somehow inherently more correct than other forms, when really it's just one variation out of many. Determining which one to use is a matter of context, audience, and intended effect.
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby TimeSpaceMage » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:25 am UTC

So I take it I'm the only one that thought of Brawl in the Family from this strip...

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby mojo-chan » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:29 am UTC

I must admit I enjoy trolling people when they say the opposite of what they mean.

Irregardless is a double negative so means "regarding" or "taking into account".

"I could care less" means you do care about it.

Some people also pronounce "solder" without the L sound which means "to perform anal sex".

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:18 am UTC

Bit of 169 there. Just hope no one cuts off your arm, I guess.

With solder, especially, given that the L wasn't even there when the word first entered English.
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby neoliminal » Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:56 pm UTC

jltc wrote:"utilize"

There is NEVER a situation in which "use" wouldn't work just as well.


"Hey Fred, what's the new password for the server?"

"It's utilize."

"Can you spell utilize for me?"

"U-T-I-L-I-Z-E"

"Oh, I see what's wrong. I was spelling it U-S-E."

Never is such an unfortunate choice of word.
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby jackal » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:26 pm UTC

Waladil wrote:Plus, I'd bet most people on this forum like Firefly... And Malcolm's folk way of talking.

Actually, that was one of the few things about that show that grated on me and turns me off about Nathan Fillion. It sounded too contrived. Someone who speaks that way naturally (say, someone from the South) can be pleasing to the ear, but throwing an occasional "ain't" into a sentence without a little twang just sounds dumb.

My boss says "irregardless" as well as a few other nonstandard words and malapropisms ("orientated," "happening to" = "having to," etc.). Irregardless of whether or not such verbiage utilization is right or wrong, I wish I could snap my fingers and odomatically fix it...

( :shock: My iPhone just autocorrected my mis-typed "irregardless." Now that is truly Odo-magic!)

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby GeorgeH » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:41 pm UTC

Sioni wrote:
Spoiler:
GeorgeH wrote:
Blaisorblade wrote:So irregardless is just stupid.

You have made an incorrect statement of opinion! Hold my calls and bring me my typing machine!

I agree that regardless is better as a written word – as you pointed out we often tned to raed hte wolhe owrd at once and I don’t see the ir as adding any meaning, just fluff that’s a little ugly. As a spoken word, though, I think irregardless has its place and is often superior to regardless. In speech the initial ir can be combined with a tone that transmits dismissal and negation almost instantly. With regardless you almost have to wait for the whole word to obtain any meaning and its syllables don't lend themselves to dismissive tones nearly as well.

If you're one of those "people" that thinks that written and spoken words should always be the same, I have but one argument to make:
Phbbbt! :P

As a person who finds himself far too often translating his own first language as people say it or as I read it I heavily disagree with you. I also think you meant '"those" people' rather than 'those "people"'. I suppose you could have meant that responders who don't agree with you aren't people. That would seem appropriate in this kind of thread (we appear to be at the point of people boiling over very easily).

This time I actually meant what I wrote, namely that people that disagree with me aren't quite people. They seem to want dogmatic rules both to follow for themselves and to imperialistically enforce on others so that they can fulfill their lifelong dream of being robot overlords (if you haven't noticed by this point, let me also clearly state that serious thread isn't nearly as serious to me as it might be to others.) :wink:

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Spoiler:
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby ManaUser » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:47 pm UTC

SteevyT wrote:Can someone please translate? I know it is a train wreck of the English language, but I would like to know what he is attempting to say.

My attempt:

Title: Close Friendship Between Preadolescent Boys*

"By my low-confidence estimate, my rival fucked** so hard her damp perineum made her underwear pregnant***."

*No apparent connection with the content of the strip.
**Specifically fucked in the manner of, or perhaps with, an anthropomorphic animal.
***No, it' doesn't make sense.

Mouseover: Words, vagina, regardless.
Last edited by ManaUser on Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:50 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby tmesis » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:30 pm UTC

Ridcully wrote:Red is generally grammar/ spelling errors, blue is tense problems and confusing structure. They tend to mingle. A lot.

(Indention) I actually enjoy speaking this way.


You don't need to indent paragraphs on the internet. "Actually, I enjoy speaking that way" is every bit as grammatical and comprehensible as your suggested rewrite.

Ridcully wrote:I spent eighteen years (unnecessary ‘growing up’) in a small town in Colorado


Not unnecessary: "growing up" specifies that he grew up there...!

Ridcully wrote:I subsequently (to what?) moved from Colorado to Long Island


Subsequently to living in Colorado.

Ridcully wrote:It's my culture (no comma) in many ways.


This is a style issue. Commas can grammatically indicate a pause.

Ridcully wrote:Plus, I'd bet most people on this forum like Firefly... And Malcolm's folk way (needs to be a adjective) of talking. (improper use of ellipses, improper capitalization, does not make sense.)


When you fix up the punctuation it makes sense.

Ridcully wrote:(Indention) (It seems to me that y'all (do I need to say anything?)


Nope: "y'all" is widely understood.

Ridcully wrote:If you want to make a, “List of words that should be banned” then (don’t need this)


Silliness.

Ridcully wrote:cousins of the more common grammar Nazis) really can't do jack shit about it.


No. He meant Grammar Nazis as a proper name.

This is why I dislike editors. :p

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby SANTARII » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:43 pm UTC

Azkyroth wrote:And, "irregardless" strikes me as a word that could be useful - for emphatically correcting someone who claims something doesn't matter: "well, regardless of that..." "no, irregardless."

Wouldn't "regardful" be better?
Insert witty comment.

Such a cliché.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby Anubis » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:56 pm UTC

mojo-chan wrote:I must admit I enjoy trolling people when they say the opposite of what they mean.

Irregardless is a double negative so means "regarding" or "taking into account".

"I could care less" means you do care about it.

Some people also pronounce "solder" without the L sound which means "to perform anal sex".


No, the accepted American English pronunciation of solder does not include a "L" sound, much like salmon.

On a side note, I actually pronounce salmon with an "L" because the proper version is one of those words that sounds gross to me.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:59 pm UTC

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby kmellis » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:05 pm UTC

I understand every word, but not the comic itself.sherlip

wisnij is apparently the only person who is aware of the context of this cartoon. Unfortunately, he was slightly coy in explaining it. And it's not clear that Randall is familiar with the particular discussions wisnij linked to; but he's certainly aware of the general topic of those links.

To wit, the words used in the sentence are among the most reported disliked English words. Unfortunately, Randall conflates two different types of disliked words and this is what is confusing people here, I think. One type of words—irregardless, for example—are commonly disliked as "incorrect"; usually by those with both a prescriptivist and a "peevish" bent. The second type of words are disliked on less intellectual and more visceral grounds—in short, they're often "icky". For example, women in particular seem to object to moist. (We can imagine why many women might object to moist; but it seems that pretty much all individuals have words that they just plain don't like at a gut level, often inexplicably so, even when they are otherwise considered entirely "correct" and are in widespread usage.)

Removing the forum link is justified if for no other reason that this comic was guaranteed to inspire an orgy of peeving along with an instance of the never-ending prescriptivism/descriptivism debate. I desperately want to avoid this train-wreck, but my own personal vice is that I peeve about prescriptivist peeves. Some statements such as:
The last major change in letters and spelling change was during the shift from Old English to Middle English; the last major pronunciation change was the slow creation of United States, Australian, and Indian English; the last grammar change was the Anglo-Saxon shift.

and
Those arguing that neologisms offer nuances, shades of meaning, and connotation not otherwise found in the English language should learn Ancient Greek. I've heard rumors that it allowed a speaker to be very specific about connotation.

...just to pick two out of numerous candidates in this thread. Prescriptivist peeves have a regrettable tendency to assert factual claims authoritatively which are false. Both these claims include some qualifiers that allow a bit of wiggle room but their intended assertions are clear and those intended assertions are false.

In the former example, "major" is the weasel word but the assertion is intended to give the less-knowledgeable reader the impression that English letterforms, orthography, and pronunciation have all not changed almost at all since the shift to Middle English. This is false. Anyone who's read books and manuſcripts (either the originals or faithful reproductions) from the 1500s to the 1800s knows that both orthography and ſpelling have changed, the latter a great deal. Indeed, anyone who knows about the hiſtory of the English language at all knows that there was eſſentially no ſuch thing as regularized ſpelling until Noah Webſter's dictionary and his advocacy of ſpelling reforms in the early 1800s. Prior to this time, it was extremely common to find various different ſpellings of the ſame word within the ſame manuſcript.(*)

Pronunciation, of course, changes all the time and this is trivial to research on the web. However, the poster also seems to think that such changes occur primarily or exclusively during mass migrations. He/she also seems to think that the source location necessarily retains the "correct" pronunciation while it's in the destinations that the pronunciation changes. This is false. Indeed, for a good while the inverse was often thought (by some) to be true: that language changes more rapidly in its geographical core and less rapidly in its fringes. The proponents of both sides of this debate had ulterior motives for asserting it: they were attempts to rationalize notions that their native dialect was "more correct" than the other. Anyway, in truth, both things can and do happen and it's not really possible to strongly generalize about this. (It should be mentioned, however, that a great many supposedly non-standard regional American usages are actually "archaic" usages that were native and correct within the areas of ethnic origination within the British Isles at the time period of emigration to the US.)

All I will say about the claim in the latter quote—that "ancient" Greek was somehow more powerful in denoting explicitly what is merely ambiguous connotation in English—as someone who studied academically Homeric, Attic, and Koine Greek, I can confidently assert that this is false. And the underlying notion—that some languages are more powerfully and/or efficiently expressive—is also quite false; though a very, very common sort of apparent "wisdom" about comparative linguistics which doesn't withstand actual rigorous scrutiny.

A not-infrequent irony about the prescriptivist vs descriptivist debate is that many of us on the descriptivist side are temperamentally at least as peevish and as much pedantic, arrogant jerks as are the prescriptivists. That is to say, what bothers me most about almost all presciptivists is that almost all of their claims and arguments are factually wrong and scientifically ignorant. They tend to wrongly assume that language is like a designed formal system, like math. They tend (or, at least, back in the days of widespread education in Greek and Latin) to misapply Latin grammatical rules to English. And, worst of all, they tend to externalize their own idiosyncratic usage likes and dislikes onto some poorly-rationalized absolutist notion of what English "really" is (or should be). And they rarely ever bother to research the claims they're inclined to make in order to ascertain if they are, in fact, true.

And this is because, ultimately, for peevish prescriptivists, this is really not an empirical argument or even, ultimately, an argument about authority. It's fundamentally an argument about taste. And all such arguments about taste (including, notably, arguments like "Your Favorite Band Sucks"), while they usually involve various positions that seek credibility on empirical and authoritative grounds, are ultimately often acrimonious and unresolvable.

There's really no point in this thread being a re-hash of the presciptivism/descriptivism wars. What would be much, much more interesting is discussion and speculation about a) why some words more than others tend to elicit peeved reactions from people; and b) particularly why words like "moist" tend to elicit visceral reactions that aren't even intellectualized.

(*) Yeah, so I didn't feel like going to the trouble to find variant spellings of words in this paragpraph to make a similar point.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby MonkeyBoy » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:11 pm UTC

jltc wrote:"utilize"

There is NEVER a situation in which "use" wouldn't work just as well.


To linguistic snobs who would feudalize
the words people say, and then brutalize
Those who rebel,
I say go to hell
By any route you'd care to use.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby thewhiteraven » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:31 pm UTC

MonkeyBoy wrote:To linguistic snobs who would feudalize
the words people say, and then brutalize
Those who rebel,
I say go to hell
By any route you'd care to use.


Lol.

Irregardless of what prescriptivists think, language is not logical. It doesn't need to be. Language is not all function, it's also about our personal likes and dislikes. So I might use a word like irregardless just because I LIKE it or because I think it does a better job than 'regardless'. And I'd sooner respect prescrptivists if they honestly admitted that their problem with new words is that they don't LIKE them, on some aesthetic level, rather than pseudo-logical arguments.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby markfiend » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:05 pm UTC

I haven't read the whole thread sorry. I didn't know what yiff meant.

I looked it up.

I now hate the world.

That is all.
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby YttriumOx » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:09 pm UTC

My wife's English is relatively poor (however her native German is quite excellent) while I myself am a native English speaker (from Southern New Zealand - a region with a relatively strong dialect and unusual accent, however after many years of world travel, I tend to speak a fairly neutral "flat" English these days).

The word "moist" being a word that people may take offense to however took me by surprise. I've always considered it the "nicer variant" of "damp". A "moist chocolate cake" sounds much more appealing than a "damp chocolate cake"; "moist grass" sounds much nicer to lie on than "damp grass"; and indeed in the context of female anatomy, I'd rather picture my wife's vagina as being moist as opposed to damp.

Describing a vagina as a "taint" however does indeed strike me as pretty horrid. German isn't much better though in STANDARD language, with the labia being referred to as "shame lips", public hair is "shame hair" and so on... (note that there are generally terms from the Latin roots that closely match the English, such as "die Labien" however you're unlikely to hear it outside of a medical text).

Regarding the general concept of language as being "okay to do what you want, as long as both parties understand" - I agree, however disagree that this allows you to do what you want to the language. It may be that you understand the people around you and they understand you, but if you continue to use incorrect speech, you'll find a dialect forms to the point that after some time no-one outside of your group can really follow you. In these modern days of simple, mass, worldwide communication it is significantly less likely for a dialect to form as people do tend to get exposed to a world community of English (with a possible end effect of all dialects mixing to form a "standard English" which has never existed in history thus far) and indeed expose their own language back to that mix. However, not everyone is online, and there definitely are still dialects forming and changing. This happens most in larger isolated communities as far as I can see - the kinds of places where people (generally speaking) have less communication with outsiders than those in their own group.
Interestingly, this doesn't necessarily mean "small town hicks" - while I have no problems with most dialects of English including some of the ones that are also associated with heavy and strong accents such as the Scottish, Welsh and my native Southern New Zealand, I nevertheless have extraordinary difficulty with the New York City dialect. The accent is something I find a little grating, but quite clear, so it's not that I can't pick up the words - it's simply that I can't parse what I'm hearing in to any kind of coherent sentence a great deal of the time. I've really only ever had this problem in New York City and I won't say it's "all New Yorkers" or exclusively delimited to that city, however I definitely had problems there that I never had in New England, the mid-west or any of the Southern states. Other English speaking countries have never been a problem for me (South African English took a little getting used to, mostly because of the many loanwords from other languages such as Afrikaans, however it wasn't too difficult since I also speak Dutch so the Afrikaans loanwords weren't totally foreign to me).
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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby kmellis » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:57 pm UTC

The word "moist" being a word that people may take offense to however took me by surprise.

"Offense" isn't quite the right word to use. The linguists at Language Log and elsewhere have termed this variety of word dislike "word aversion". It's not that these words are offensive, really, it's that they just evoke a negative visceral response. In some cases it may well be because of unconscious associations, including entirely idiosyncratic personal experience. In other cases, it's hard to guess what is driving this response. But word aversion is distinct from other kinds of dislike, such as what LL and others call "word rage" (which is about assumed "incorrectness") or that the word is inherently or contextually offensive, such as words expressing bigotry or which are obscene or profane.

As far as your comments on prescriptivism, you're right, of course. What you're describing is, essentially, language register. One uses appropriate register according to social context. As far as dialects go, they of course arise and change...this is how languages evolve. Indeed, one of the things which presciptivists don't seem to understand is that language evolution is remarkably similar to biological evolution (enough, in fact, that some of the same analytical tools are fruitfully used for both) and there is no single moment in which one language becomes another language and therefore there is no moment in time when a language could be, or should be, considered to be in its "platonic" state.

As a native teutophone, you're naturally much more aware of the nuances of dialect than are anglophones. Indeed, I'd expect (or hope) that you'd be more aware that the distinction between language and a dialect is ambiguous. In many places, what are referred to as "dialects" would be understood as distinct languages elsewhere...and vice-versa. On the other hand, the choice of what to say is a language and what is a dialect is in many areas an extremely contentious and emotionally-charged issue because it involves ethnicity and nationalism and almost always choosing one dialect over others as the official representative of the language. This is the case for both Italy and Germany, for example.

What's really interesting is that word rage related to prescriptivist peeving is, as far as can be determined to date, far more prevalent in the anglophone world than elsewhere.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:31 pm UTC

I think it's bullshit when english dictionaries even include the "slang" or "nonstandard" disclaimer. There is no standard dialect of American English. There is a prestige dialect, and in some situations it is very useful to be fluent in it, but the prestige dialect didn't gain its status because of some inherent linguistic "correctness," or because it's the most effective form of communication, but because of its association with power. It's a social thing, and a political thing, and linguistically it's a pretty arbitrary thing. A simple example is the fact that non-rhotic speech has prestige in British English, whereas rhotic speech has prestige in American English. The non-rhotic New England accents tend to be associated with blue-collar labor and unintelligence, whereas that same feature in British English is considered proper.

It's hard to be a prescriptivist from a linguistic perspective, because the more you study linguistics the more you realize how arbitrary standards are. There is no linguistic standard for "correctness" outside of use, and nonstandard english is clearly used and understood by millions of people, so you can't make a prescriptivist claim without having some non-linguistic motivation. Language is so heavily linked with social factors that choosing the prestige dialect and enforcing it feels almost aristocratic. And a lot of rules like "don't end sentences with prepositions," "don't start sentences with conjunctions," and "don't split infinitives" were invented by prescriptivists who thought they were good ideas, and have never reflected how English is actually spoken.

Basically, I think we should teach the prestige dialect of English, since it's a useful thing to know, but I don't think we should be teaching it as the standard that all other English should be held to, and it's not hard to have multiple modes of speech to switch between. I don't write papers or take job interviews the same way I talk with friends, and changing my casual speech to be more formal would make me less efficient at communicating.

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby hexalm » Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:30 pm UTC

pucksr wrote:Why all the hate for the word "irregardless"?
I constantly have people telling me it isn't a real word. The two arguments are that it is redundant(irregardless=regardless) or that the prefix ir- negates the following term, so by definition of ir- it means the opposite of regardless.

Neither of these make sense.
no one complains that inflammable and flammable exist. They both mean the EXACT same thing. Also, in- typically is a negating prefix.
So, if we are going to strike irregardless from the dictionary then we need to strike inflammable as well.


Maybe not very loudly, but I'm sure at least Dr. Nick had this complaint when setting inflammable things on fire.

FWIW, inflammable and flammable both came to be via different pathways: inflammable from inflame, already in English via Latin (inflame+able), vs flammable directly from Latin flammare/flamma. (Flammable is the newer form as well, by a good 400 years). On the other hand, irrespective is a pretty blatant corruption/conflation of regardless+irrespective. So I don't think it's a very good parallel.

"Irregardless" is new though, so of course people complain about it more. I'm not big on prescriptivism, but it does strike me as silly when people use it instead of regardless. But what can you do about it? Not much, besides complain (which won't change whether people use it, just makes you look like a language snob).

lewax00 wrote:
zephalis wrote:I'm not sure where you get your information about "grammar, spelling, pronunciation, letters..." but most of those have not noticeably changed over the last 200-300 years
I disagree, into the 1800s "f" and "s" were fairly interchangeable in words, for example, "Auguft" was a common spelling of "August".

That's um, not quite the case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_s

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby kmellis » Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:28 am UTC

That's um, not quite the case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_s

I won't speak for the poster to whom you are responding, but when I implicitly made this point I was referring to the OP's claim that letterforms hadn't changed. The OP specified both "letters" and "spelling".

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Re: 0919: "Tween Bromance"

Postby jfriesne » Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:01 am UTC

pucksr wrote:no one complains that inflammable and flammable exist. They both mean the EXACT same thing.


Clearly an oversight. The fact that flammable and inflammable mean approximately the same thing(*) is a travesty, and probably also a safety hazard for smokers and fireworks vendors who aren't aware of the issue. People need to complain more about this.

(*) IIRC inflammable actually means "extremely flammable"


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