Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Is Perfect English Discriminatory? Bob Costas & Russian Anti-Gay Laws

Is Perfect English Discriminatory?

I often argue with Tony about how I prefer common usage, as language evolves, as opposed to what's considered "perfect" grammar. And if someone says "I feel badly," instead of "I feel bad," I don't mind at all but he often cringes. That's just a very basic example of how language evolves and it goes much deeper than this. The fact is that certain things that would not have been acceptable fifty years ago are now things we don't think twice about...pardon that pun...and many of us don't even know it. At one time it would have been blasphemous to end a sentence with a preposition and I doubt most people these days even know that...and rightly so.

In any event, this article is one of the best I've read so far on the topic of how to speak English. It even gets into whether or not we're discriminating at times with regard to common usage.

That few people have heard of the Proto-Indo-Europeans, or know about language evolution, children's language acquisition or the current process of language extinction, seems to me to be a crying shame. But the insights of linguistics are of social and political as well as intellectual importance.

The modern study of language has shown that all native speakers are experts in their language. Almost all judgments about someone's language – the laziness of a glottal stop, the slowness of rural speech, the supposed ugliness of a particular urban accent – have no linguistic justification and reflect only the prejudice of the judger. However, very few people are aware of these basic findings.

You can read more here. It's absolutely fascinating. The next time I hear something that doesn't sound perfect I won't be so quick to judge.

Bob Costas & Russian Anti-Gay Laws

When I post and link to articles this way I'm always trying to condense things for readers who don't have the time to follow everything that's happening, and also talk about things the mainstream media often ignores. In this particular case, with regard to Gays, Anti-Gay Russian Laws, and the Winter Olympics I have yet to hear anything on local or national news on television. I don't expect it either. This evening a local newscaster reported a story about a new hospice center opening in the Philadelphia area and she smiled so much and spoke with such a jovial tone you would have thought she was talking about a new exhibit at Disney World. Evidently, she's never had to deal with hospice, or what happens in hospice centers. And with this small blog I try to put "things" out there people normally wouldn't hear from the buffoons who work in broadcast TV, and get paid millions of dollar to blow smoke up everyone's butt.

In any event, this article talks about Bob Costas and how he stated he's not going to comment on Russia's anti-gay laws, but would rather interview Vladimir Putin instead. I think he has about as much a chance of doing this as E.L. James has of winning the Pulitzer Prize. But what do I know?

The sportscaster's comment did not go unnoticed. Many felt that in saying this Costas wanted to avoid the topic altogether.

But he's claiming that's not so:

“If Putin doesn’t drag his butt into the studio, then we’ll talk about it without him,” Costas said during an Olympics press preview. “But if he shows up, we’d rather talk to him. Wouldn’t you rather hear it from the horse’s mouth? I would. That’s what I was trying to say.”

Personally, even if he does get the interview with Putin I'll never know. I'm still for a full boycott based on the anti-gay laws in Russia and I won't be watching or supporting anything Olympic oriented this year. If this had been any other minority in the US and Russia had laws against them we wouldn't even consider going there this year.

My prediction is that Costas and NBC and everyone else pushing for the Olympics will get by unscathed and after the Olympics are over Putin will do whatever he wants with gays. And so will other Russian figures who hate gays. I just hope six million people don't have to die again at the hands of a maniac before someone starts taking this seriously.

2 comments:

Shelagh said...

I think, in the UK, people are more forgiving of less than perfect spoken English because regional accents are so varied. A lot of people, myself included, write English very well but have strong regional accents. Grammar and local words can vary a lot, even within a small area. Pronunciation can also vary a lot, eg, in this corner of Yorkshire water is pronounced to rhyme with 'matter' and father rhymes with 'gather'. I lived in Sheffield for many years and Sheffielders are known as 'Dee-Das' which reflects how they pronounce thee and tha (thy or thou) both of which are still commonly used. This link gives you a good idea of how badly we mangle spoken English around here http://www.networking-consultancy.com/index_files/Humour/Yorkshirisms%20with%20Translations.pdf All but 3 of those are how we say things in my corner of Yorkshire.

Don't show this to Tony, he might need to lie down afterwards ;)

ryan field said...

Thanks for commenting, and for the link. I was hoping someone from the UK would. Tony and I watch MANY of films from the UK and I never have any issues with understanding the different accents. But Tony often does and he asks me to translate.