Thursday, Sept. 25, 2003 - 3:28 p.m.
Today the elevators in my building smell like cheap, bad salsa. My two writing center clients have been nearly catatonic, and I have three more to go. My enormous presentation is tomorrow, but instead of working on it, I have been reading such sentences as the following:
"These are two contributing factors of artists' determination to strive for success and to exert intense work in all vicinities of their career."
"The religious views and mentioning, which in a time as they are in, would seem to have a major role, are barely there and when brought up, are quickly shot down with ignorance."
How is this journal turning into Files of a Language Nerd? I should make clear my positions on usage and linguistics:
I am not a grammar snob. I am, in fact, very snobby about grammar snobs. I recognize most prescriptive rules for the artificial, mundane by-products of privilege that they are. I often end sentences with prepositions. I am all for a conscious overthrow of Negative Polarity by Negative Concord.
And I recognize the mythology of Standard English as Proper English.
This is all basic linguistics stuff, and it is the closest thing I have to a religion . There is no such thing as Bad English produced by a native speaker.
Clear writing, on the other hand, is another matter. It does interact with language variety, but it mostly interacts with how much of his or her childhood someone spent reading.
So I try to teach writing, talk about writing, care about writing, all while maintaining my beliefs in a world of those who rant about "bad grammar". I want to hand out copies of The Language Instinct like New Testaments.
Shit, out of time. When next I write I will be DONE for the week.