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Re: [ontolog-forum] Artificial languages becoming "natural"

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John A. Bateman" <bateman@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2007 16:30:09 +0100
Message-id: <45F02C01.6020403@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
With the risk of falling in SUO-List generalities, I have to
correct the following:    (01)

> In the general field of linguistics, there is 1) prescriptive (English
> teacher's "you must ...") and 2) descriptive (the science of
> linguistics) views. Then there is 3) normative usage as gauged by
> lexicographers. Typically (2) tries to describe and explain (3), but
> (3) captures current usage.    (02)

Replace with:    (03)

There is:    (04)

(1) prescriptive (something this is not part of linguistics
but is seen in angry letters that people write to newspapers about
degenerate language use and in bestsellers that try and make people
feel good about knowing that they were right about that use
of the past perfect in double negative sentences that their children
don't seem to know about any more after all....) Can be addressed
linguistically under *sociolinguistics* and language attitudes.    (05)

(2) descriptive (linguistic: data collection and organisation)    (06)

(2') explanatory (linguistic: trying to come up with models and
      theories about (ii)    (07)

(3) normative usage as gauged by lexicographers (sometimes
      linguistic; sometimes not -- depends on the lexicographers).
      Used in dictionaries.    (08)

Importantly: (2') tries to explain (2). Nothing tries to
explain (3) apart from lexicographers! :-) Explanatory
linguistics tries to explain how people use language
(via corpora, etc.) *not* how lexicographers think
that people use language. Only (2) covers current
usage. (3) can lag somewhere behind this depending
on how much it relies on (2).    (09)

John B.    (010)

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