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Re: He/She/?

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Sunday, January 9, 2000, 14:52
> Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2000 18:04:34 -0600 > From: Tom Wier <artabanos@...> > > Nik Taylor wrote: > > Impossible to define more exactly than that, since it's a matter of > > other people's perception. But, some things can be stated pretty > > clearly, using "ain't" or a double negative isn't "sounding educated", > > gives people the impression of "being uneducated".
Nik is right that people do choose to adopt that interpretation, but the ability to avoid those features really has nothing to do with education, only training. Any eight year old who sets their mind to it should be able to learn to follow such rules well enough to transport any Victorian schoolmaster into paroxysms of joy[1].
> I think if there's anything to "sounding educated" at all, it has > little to do with grammatical features of syntax or morphology and > much more to do with lexical breadth -- people who use "paroxysm" or > "prolix" would do a lot more to make people think their educated, or > even pretentious, even if they regularly use plural "there's" or > singular "they".
It's a question of awareness of register and style, I think. The true mark of a well-educated language user is the command of all the styles and registers that they need to communicate in any context without attracting attention to their language. And features like no number concord in 'there's,' singular 'they,' and so on, just do not attract the attention they used to except in the eyes of well-trained rules followers. Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <thorinn@...> (Humour NOT marked) ____________________ [1] To wit, make him come in his trews.