January 14, 2011

Happy Friday. -20 at the airport. -1 here. Better to be here.

Yokelly we watched a couple of linguini lectures on description versus prescription in usage. Think of Bryan Garner as the ultimate prescriptivist. He wants you to know how wrong you are to use the incorrect preposition or form of a word. Meanwhile, millions of speakers and writers of the language go merrily on their way slinging it however they like, whatever comes to mind. Many people actually think SP uses the language especially well. Read online comments about news articles and it becomes clear why. Regardless, language always changes, day by day. No two people speak the same way, pronouncing some words differently and using them in ways others don’t. If enough people start saying something a certain way, it might just become the standard—for awhile, until some other way of saying it becomes the norm. It used to be that writing was a conservative force in maintaining standards of language use, but our current culture is basically oral (TV and videos), many schools suck, and Garner’s distinctions between disinterested and uninterested go unnoticed by most. Witness inflammable (combustible) and the recently coined word flammable. People decided in their wisdom despite etymology that inflammable meant unflammable, so the form meaning combustible became flammable, hence the sign on the back of fuel trucks. This is painful to those of us who paid attention to good teachers, learned proper usage, and notice the lack of it, but what we think doesn’t matter, it will all change anyway. I seen it befor, and we wull be seen it agin.

In local news, there is more about our favorite citizens, JM and SP. I just can’t get enough of those guys. I mean, their so grate.

The big story here is

Fairbanks lowers fluoride in its drinking water

We have known since the 1950s that fluoride in the water is a Communist plot, and some people have been fighting to have the practice stopped. I am with them. After all, 3 out of 4 dentists chew gum and smoke.

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