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Active and passive case

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Re: Active and passive case

Postby thesaurus » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:31 pm

Essorant wrote:A language is a collaborative monument of many ages. When people long began a great artwork it is only due that you should respect how it stands before you and preserve it and even restore ut where possible, and also contribute to it. When you approach the work of many ages before you, it is a disgrace if you will put only your own one self and your own one age over the authorship and art established by many people and many ages of the past, without which you wouldn't have the age-cultivated language you speak let alone to try to give over only into the authority of only your own self and your own age and pretend the past doesn't count anymore. The past has more authority because it established the language much before and much more than the present .


I think it is fallacious to compare a language to artwork or any other human production. It's more like a living creature: something that develops naturally, without the need for conscious interference or effort on the part of anyone. Nobody every "began" English or any other language. They simply spoke the language they were raised with in more or less the same fashion their entire lives. Whatever changes the language experienced were generational mutations, not the result of craft and artistic ingenuity.

Est ratio fallax linguam arti quodam vel unicuique rei a hominibus fabricato. Lingua est similior animali vel alicui viventi, qui naturaliter crescit sine alicuius ingerentia vel negotio. Nemo umquam linguam Anglicam vel alias "incohat," homines autem linguis, quibus docti fuerunt, locuti erunt uno quasi in modo usque ad vitarum fines suarum. Si lingua per tempus mutabatur, hoc e generationibus hominum multis factum est, non quodam e homine callido artificeque.

It makes no more sense to give "respect" to a language than to respect a tree which grows well or a bat which has echo location. These natural phenomena are complex and interesting, and in that sense they deserve our respect. Language is the same way. It changes and continues on its merry way despite what this or that person may think of it. I think language is terribly fascinating, and this is why I took classes linguistics. However, the respect due to language is found in observation, documentation, and analysis. We study it, understand how it functions, and watch it in action. This approach applies equally to Anglo-Saxon English as well as its most diverse creoles today.

Haud magis rationale est "honorare" linguam quam arborem bene crescentem vel vespertilionem usu echi in bestiolas inveniendas fungentem. Haec omnia sunt intricata necnon mira et ita, ut admirationem nostram postulant. Sec est lingua. Mutat progrediturque laete sine cura istius vel illius hominis ipsam arbitrantis. Puto linguam ipsam iucundam esse, quamobrem scientiam linguisticam paululum didisci. At lingua observatione, documentatione, inquisitioneque honoranda est. Eam perscrutamur, illius mores intellegimus, et dum agit spectamus. Haec via pari passu cum in linguam Anglicam priscam, tum in eius diversissimas linguas conmixtas hodie.

it is a disgrace if you will put only your own one self and your own one age over the authorship and art established by many people and many ages of the past, without which you wouldn't have the age-cultivated language you speak let alone to try to give over only into the authority of only your own self and your own age and pretend the past doesn't count anymore.


Isn't "pretending the past doesn't count anymore" exactly what you are doing by criticizing the historical innovations in the English language that have lead to "the age-cultivated language you speak"? The fact is that if you insist on some historical form of the English language--say before 1066--you have to arbitrarily fix a point in time and declare it the Pure English. You then have to ignore changes made after that date, or devise some system of what counts as legitimate change and what doesn't.

Nonne tu ipse agis "adsimulare tempus actum non tibi curae esse," qui innovationes historicas linguae Anglicae incusas quae "hanc linguam tempore cultam qua loqueris" fecerunt? Vires mihi desunt...

Also, languages don't have authority--people do. People use languages. Languages only exist as a tool for communication between people. We may use them for artistic and other grand purposes, but they are still and always a communicative tool for humans. If the English Speaking Populace adopts a word into its universal lexicon, then that word is English. The Anglo-Saxons adopted plenty of words, too. Everyone has always done it. There is nothing disrespectful or disgraceful in facilitating communication by all means. I actually find it disrespectful to insist on forms of language that are less efficacious and prevent complete communication. We should be attempting to clarify rather than obfuscate our meaning, and this is done by availing ourselves of the common idiom.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby adrianus » Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:02 am

Essorant wrote:...and in doing so use the language better and stronglier.
Shouldn't you write "bet" rather than better, Essorant, since "bet" is already the comparative adverb in OE? (T.L. Kington Oliphant, The Old and Middle English, 1878, p.131)

You hope that by loving the past it won't deceive you because it is unchanging. The past, however, is gone. It can't be loved. You love instead the best guesses of unreliable, incomplete scholarship about past usage. It's not the fault of the scholarship. It's the nature of the evidence. You are chasing a dream. "What you see has died count as lost."

Nonnè "bet" (non "better" seu "bettere") sermone Anglo-Saxone scribitur, Essorant? Jam gradu comparativo illud adverbium.

Speras in praeteritis amandis fore ne fallaris quià inconstantia non sunt. Absentia autem praeterita. Amari non queunt. Magìs de consuetudinibus veteribus conjecturas scholasticas et incertas inconstabilesque atque imperfectas amas. Ne operam scholasticam potiùs naturam indiciorum culpes. Somnium consequeris. "Quod vides perisse perditum ducas."
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby NuclearWarhead » Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:30 pm

I must confess too that I don't understand this obsession.

Language do over time and geographically change. That is a fact that is hard to ignore. Sometimes I think it has something nationalistic over it, because I can't find other reasons. Many words which we know acknowledge as "English" aren't in fact English. When I first was deciding how to write this post, I wondered if I should make it sarcastic. What I came up with was this:
And let us find a new name for France and the French and the adjective frank, seeing that they are borrowings from French which in turn borrowed them from the language of the Franks which were a Germanic people ...
Originally, it started out with just France and French, but as I naturally did some checking, I found out that the adjective frank was of the same origin. I didn't know that, and most people don't either, but my point is that this word is technically also a borrowing even though we don't realise it and don't consider it a loan as it was borrowed a long time ago.

Anyway, my point is that if you only want to use words of pure English origin, you would have lessened you vocabulary more than you think. For instance, you would miss all the -ize suffixes as they ultimately are a borrowing from Greek -ιζειν (via Latin). It would simply be crazy.
Fiat iustitia et pereat mundus.
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby adrianus » Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:36 am

Sorry! I accidentally posted the same message twice.
Me excusetis! Bis eandem epistulam perperàm misi.
Last edited by adrianus on Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby adrianus » Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:38 am

NuclearWarhead wrote:Sometimes I think it has something nationalistic over it, because I can't find other reasons.

Nationalistic feelings play a part, I think, NuclearWarHead, but there can be other things.

Platonic philosophy presents knowing as rediscovering. Then Christian scholars imagined a hierarchy within the confusion of languages descended from Babel, with Hebrew at the top, Greek next, then Latin and more recent European tongues beneath (individually judged on their relationship to Latin until the emergence of modern Nation States). The myth of a Golden Age always has appeal, whether or not combined with the idea of the Fall. And there is the Western scholastic and Renaissance approach to textual analysis and the greater authority of more ancient texts,—resulting, eventually, in the debate about the Ancients and the Moderns. The notion of the perfect Ciceronian model in Latin promoted within the scholastic tradition itself tends to support the interpretation of linguistic change as degenerative. Finally, more individually, if you live long enough to witness the world changing around you and your role in it changing from engagement to irrelevance, you imagine it's the world around you which is degenerating and you fight to assert the importance of the past.

Certè, SpiculumNucleare, semper sunt sententiae amore patriae impulsae, sed exstant aliae res, dicam.

Philosophia Platonis scientiam ut repertum esse docet. Tunc academici Christiani ordinem hierarchicum intra confusum linguarum de Babel prognatarum vident,—Hebraicum in capite, tunc Graecum, dein Latinum, deniquè caetera labia recentioria (ê longinquitate â latino ordinata usquè ad ortum finum nationalum nostrorum). Semper placet fabula Aurei Aevi, utrum id notionem casûs Adam secutum sit annon. Est etiam â scolasticis occidentalibus, praesertim Aevo Litterarum Renascentiae, studium scriptorum antiquorum in quo maximam authoritatem habent scripta veterrima, quod demùm querellam de antiquis et modernis evenire fecit. Illa notio de optimo genere dicendi, quod istud Ciceronis esse nonnulli scholastici clamabant, in ipsâ mutationes sermonum per tempora ut degenerantem processus habet. Postremò, dicamus de omne qui satìs vivat ut is mundum mutatum esse vidisset et partem suam propriam et opem decessas. Ille homo magìs mundum circuitum degeneravisse credit, et ibi vehementiùs gravitatem praeteritorum asserit.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby Deudeditus » Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:32 am

I don't know. It all seems a little bit silly to me. Sure, we can't just use the language however we want to; "Me's footing at house at fay cupla waten gless fir mae brither," does not generally mean "I'm going home to get some glasses of water for my brothers." Sure, we can't just borrow at will from any language we like; "My father has light hair and blue eyes," couldn't really be said "Patri my á bàn haar und ixtin cicna." But that doesn't mean that languages can't change over time. (by processes including borrowing from other languages) So I guess nowadays people speak a language that sounds different from its linguistic ancestor after a millenium of mutations, changes and social upheavals... Anyway, isn't English an "impure" form of Indo-European ( or is it Proto-Indo-European? ) If that's true, then English is merely borrowing from another Indo-European dialect that has gone much astray from the original mother tongue. Tenuis? Thynne/thin? tanaí? þunnr? cienki? Just mumbled versions of *ténh₂us, right?

I guess that sounded sarcastic. Sorry.

By the way I happen to have a fondness for words like "thole," I just don't think words like "suffer" and "tolerate" should be expelled from Modern English. As a side note, I had always thought the word frith just meant peace, but i double checked it and found out that it's a variant for "firth/fjord" (related to port? probably not) and also means "a wood" or "enclosed field," among other shades of "peace, protection." I guess I was just borrowing it from Icelandic "friður," since I'd heard the word and I suppose connected the two... ( translation FAIL ) :)

PS: I decided to add some pizazz, so I redid it with some color
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby Essorant » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:39 pm

Adriane


Surely British doctors foreign-trained in medicine perform very skillfully. Similarly, practitioners just British-trained cure people quite effectively. Equally, take
different students getting university degrees,—imagine nursing, dentistry, literature, journalism, science, engineering subject areas.


Am I writing English when I avoid words of unique Anglo-Saxon origin? Do words of Anglo-Saxon origin stop being English in the plural, with a "French" -s?

Also, I know that the word doctor is a fully naturalized English word and no longer a Latin word because it obeys English laws, with a plural "doctors", and regular verb
form "to doctor" and an English adjective "doctorly". It belongs now to the English language.




I don't know what you mean by "french" s, since English uses its own -s. If a foreign inflection is put on an English word the word still remains English. If I say lovens mimicing latin amans, the word love is still English and the ending ens still latin. Likewise for foreign words among English. Dress it up in as many English prefixes and suffixes as you will, but doctor is still Latin. In doctoring, ing is english, doctor is Latin,. In doctors, the -s is English, doctor is latin. In doctorly -ly is English, doctor is Latin . In undoctorly, un- and -ly are English, doctor is latin, etc.



Actually, Essorant, I wouldn't worry about the number of foreign words in English diluting it's unique identity as a language. No matter how many new words are introduced, the really important words remain characteristically English. In the real world, who wants to write English by avoiding words of Old English origin when they are so centrally important?




I don't agree. The extent of foreign words and treating them all as "English" is resulting in native English words more and more being lost, belittled and unrecognized. People can't see the English words anymore through the accumulation and confusion with the foreign words. The most frequent words may still be English, but the majority of words people call "English" today are not English, but are french, Latin, Greek, Norse, etc. The foreign words outweigh the native by thousands and the native words in dictionaries are growing smaller and smaller almost every year as we try to make more room for more foreign words. The English language is not growing. Only the accumulation of foreign words is growing and the shadow of ignorance in which there is no distinction from them. The English language itself, as distinct from the foreign parts, is experiencing more and more of itself being lost or forgetten, buried or hidden by people using the language more and more ignorantly and recklessly. Loss of inflections and loss of distinguishing English from foreign isn't growth, progress, or successful contribution to the language, nor is accumulation of those new foreign words cultivation or learning or respect for them, for people are not learning or distinguishing anything about them for the most part but treating them ignorantly as one and the same and just as ignorantly using the word "English" to refer to anything and everything that comes among their mouths. It is an obvious deterioration and neglect to resist deterioration, the same way any artwork deteriorates more and more when its integrity and soundness are not conciously guarded and preserved enough by new generations.



Now, is it possible that the progression pos. -> comp. -> super. to the ear is single syllable -> two syllables -> two syllables, with the result that the words ner ->
nerrer -> nerrest in Middle English is a good way of ensuring orthographically that the extra syllable in preserved in a Kentish accent, while being consistent with the
regular terminal -r (the addition of "-or") in comparatives in OE? It shouldn't be equated with making a mistake like "better" and "betterer" or "more" and "morer".



No, not for English in general. People didn't for the most part have any confusion about nigh, near, and next in Premodern English on one hand because nigh continued to be used frequently and on the other because it often had an e- sound ( as is in the neigh of neighbour) as well and therefore corresponded in sound more with the comparative and superlative. Notice that we have neighbour, not nearbour. The lack of using nigh very often in Modern English and the bondage to spelling/pronouncing it as nigh unfamiliar with the word having an e, is probably a great part of why people today are not very familiar with the correct usage of nigh as the positive of near and next and near and next being correctly the comparitive and superlative of nigh. That is no excuse though for people today completely ignoring or denying their correct usages.
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby thesaurus » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:58 pm

Why don't you address some of my questions, Essorant? I think if you were to try, you'd have to rethink the arguments you're making here.

Cur ad quaestiones meas non respondes, Essorant? Si conaris, mea sententia, tibi oportet argumenta tua revisas.

I don't agree. The extent of foreign words and treating them all as "English" is resulting in native English words more and more being lost, belittled and unrecognized. People can't see the English words anymore through the accumulation and confusion with the foreign words. The most frequent words may still be English, but the majority of words people call "English" today are not English, but are french, Latin, Greek, Norse, etc. The foreign words outweigh the native by thousands and the native words in dictionaries are growing smaller and smaller almost every year as we try to make more room for more foreign words. The English language is not growing. Only the accumulation of foreign words is growing and the shadow of ignorance in which there is no distinction from them. The English language itself, as distinct from the foreign parts, is experiencing more and more of itself being lost or forgetten, buried or hidden by people using the language more and more ignorantly and recklessly. Loss of inflections and loss of distinguishing English from foreign isn't growth, progress, or successful contribution to the language, nor is accumulation of those new foreign words cultivation or learning or respect for them, for people are not learning or distinguishing anything about them for the most part but treating them ignorantly as one and the same and just as ignorantly using the word "English" to refer to anything and everything that comes among their mouths. It is an obvious deterioration and neglect to resist deterioration, the same way any artwork deteriorates more and more when its integrity and soundness are not conciously guarded and preserved enough by new generations.


But why does this bother you at all? You haven't established any reason why it is important or worthwhile to maintain the distinctions you're discussing. In fact, you choose to ignore the reality of language change in favor of some artificial distinction.

"Deterioriation" implies that you are discussing qualities and values. However, you have not established any grounds for understanding language aesthetically, but just keep insisting that things are a certain way, and they ought to be kept that way, all of which just appears to be stubborn myth-making.

Language change is not a moral issue, and I'm not sure why you're making it one.

At in primis cur hoc tibi molestiae est? Nullam rationem condidisti quae nos oportet videre discrimen tuum vel necessarium vel bonum esse. Revera, pertinaciter mutationi linguarum obstas ut nesciocui discrimini commenticio credere possis.

Cum verbum "degenerationem" adhibeas, quaestionem qualitatis aestimationisque infers. Fundamenta autem nulla condidisti quae nobis oportent linguam intellegere esse artem aliquam; immo, etiam atque etiam eadem argumenta profiteris, 'rem esse sic, et necesse esse semper idem mansurum.' Omne hoc mihi vanum videtur.

Mutatio linguarum res haud moralis est, nescio cur sic ponas.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby Essorant » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:25 pm

Why don't you address some of my questions, Essorant? I think if you were to try, you'd have to rethink the arguments you're making here.



The last comment I responded to came before yours therefore I responded to it before yours. I didn't ignore your questions, I just didn't get to them yet.
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby adrianus » Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:03 pm

I do think English is a beautiful language but it has it's ugly side, too, if you judge it historically, Essorant. What for you, Essorant, is a beautiful artwork can represent for many who are not native English an emblem of the extinction or dilution of their own native languages and cultures. The English language was sold to others in the past under the myth of cultural superiority, but on the back of military might and economic exploitation imposed in an excuse of civilizing the rest. Then certain select dialects of English were sold as superior packages used to bully and intimidate others with different dialects, who were beaten in schools in the past to force their dialects out of them. It seems the absurdity and the abuse continues, when one is told that only some select people speak correctly and all the rest speak recklessly, ignorantly, inexcusably, neglectfully. Such thoughts are truly better expressed in Anglo-Saxon because they will offend fewer people that way and their irony will be less obvious.

Sermones anglicos ut lingua bella certè habeo at faciem turpem semper habet, si historiam eius, Essorant, consideres. Quod tibi, Essorant, sit opus quàm pulcherrimum, caeteris nobis non anglicis signum jacturae vel exinanitionis linguarum propriarum immò etiam humanitatum videtur. Sunt qui aliis linguam anglicam ut humanitati superiori apta promovebant, potestatem militarem exercentes et bona aliorum cupientes, se autem salvatores qui mansuefaciunt clamantes. Tunc ab illis insultare coercereque volentibus quaedam dialecti in alienos imponebantur, qui alieni in scolis verberabantur ut dialectos suas proprias amittant. Absurditatem atque injuriam continuare videtur, si narratur tantùm pauca delecta qui benè loqui sciunt exstare, at omnes caeteros dementer, inscitè, indignè, negligenter blatterare. Verum dicere, tales sententiae meliùs anglo-saxone sonantur, quià sic in faciendo pauciores offendent, non minùs abscondita erit sua ironia inhaerens.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby adrianus » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:08 pm

thesaurus wrote:I think if you were to try, you'd have to rethink the arguments you're making here.

Your arguments are modern ones, Thesaure. Who would have argued so even two hundred years ago? Essorant's viewpoint seems an early, orthodox one, springing from a different source and different feelings about authority and values. You can't persuade across incommensurate viewpoints, though symbolic efforts may help.

Argumenta tua, thesaure, moderna sunt. Quis ante haec duo saecula sic arguebat? Sententiae de Essorant, ut mihi videtur, â fonte veto sed orthodoxo defluunt et existimationes alternativas de auctoritate moralitateque sonant. Cum aliquo qui approprinquare non audet non communicabis, nisi interdùm per operas symbolicas.

Essorant, why don't you demonstrate the advantage and appeal of your outlook by communicating only in words of true English origin and shunning all words of foreign origin? You will not be belittled, I promise you. Or I, at least, will not, I can promise. People will generally be persuaded by example. Surely they'll begin to realize that those foreign words can indeed be omitted from English dictionaries. Too difficult? My mind is open.

Cur, Essorant, nobis non demonstras quàm utilis et jocunda sit via tua? Tantùm verbis originis Anglicae utere. Verba barbara omitte, quaeso. Nemo te detractabit, polliceor. Ego saltem non detractabo, promitto. Numerus maximus solùm exemplorum gratiâ adducentur. Quod verba barbara in dictionariis anglicis benè delenda sunt, nonnè mox agnoscent? Nimìs difficile? Aperta mens mea.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby Essorant » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:41 am

Thesaurus,

(Sorry for being such a slow responder)

I think it is vital to understand that language is completely fluid, and that it is not reducable into discreet units



No offence, but it seems a manner that tries to accomodate and make everything out as equally legitimate and acceptable would come up with "fluid" to define language. Indeed language changes, but that doesn't mean that all and anything goes, nor that words and parts have no identity in respect to the language they belong to. Language changes shape, but it isn't equivelent to something without shape and strong structure. It has foundation and structure. Paragraphs may be broken down to words, words to syllables, prefixes, suffixes, inflexions, letters, etc. Therefore, I think "completely fluid" and "not reducable" very illchosen generalizations.


What is the difference between a language and a dialect?


I would say the difference is that a language includes variations of itself, but a dialect specifies one specific variation.


What is the "most English" dialect, and why is that the case?


West Saxon probably wins by far. I don't think any other dialect has such an extensive vocabulary of native words and parts, and comparatively so little amount of foreign.


Also, at what point is the English language born (i.e., when do other German languages become English, where is the point of separation)?


Unfortunately just as families of apes don't become humans anymore, nor do Germanic dialects become English. Certain times and conditions only happen once, from whence certain things in conjunction therewith happen. The condition that brought English was over 1500 years ago when the condition of the continent and Britain were much much different from today.

If I speak a dialect of English that for some reason uses p's instead of f's, or t's instead of th's, am I still speaking English?


Yes, for sure. If it is English it is English. But if it is Latin it is not.


What if I'm speaking a dialect of English that you can hardly understand (or is this a different language?)


Again, if it is English it is English. It doesn't matter if I understand it or not.

or what if you understand me perfectly, but I use a number of "unenglish" phonemes?


Yes, it would still be English (except for the phonemes, of course).

What if you're speaking what you consider to be pure English and the average educated American/Englishman etc. can't understand you? Or is communication incidental to language?


I say English is English, not pure. It doesn't need to be pure to be distinct from other languages anymore than you need to be "pure" to be distinct from me. It wouldn't make sense to go to the extreme of something that no one understands even a great deal of. But even though I say that, it doesn't mean I think we should limit ourselves only to what people know. For what people know itself also varies, and secondly, it would be locking us out of a great deal of the language. Limiting the language only to what is most common and familiar would be just as disappointing as limiting the language to an unfamiliar "pure".
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Re: Active and passive case

Postby Essorant » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:48 pm

I think it is fallacious to compare a language to artwork or any other human production. It's more like a living creature: something that develops naturally, without the need for conscious interference or effort on the part of anyone. Nobody every "began" English or any other language. They simply spoke the language they were raised with in more or less the same fashion their entire lives. Whatever changes the language experienced were generational mutations, not the result of craft and artistic ingenuity.

It makes no more sense to give "respect" to a language than to respect a tree which grows well or a bat which has echo location. These natural phenomena are complex and interesting, and in that sense they deserve our respect. Language is the same way. It changes and continues on its merry way despite what this or that person may think of it. I think language is terribly fascinating, and this is why I took classes linguistics. However, the respect due to language is found in observation, documentation, and analysis. We study it, understand how it functions, and watch it in action. This approach applies equally to Anglo-Saxon English as well as its most diverse creoles today.



I know how much treating the language as if it is a living thing is ingrained in people, even the most learned in languages. But this is not a more direct and literal description, but a less direct description and a metaphoric description. Languages don't literally "grow", anymore than clothes do. We aren't born with them, even though we are born with bodily means to make them. It is not that humans don't make them that is why they involve such an imitative manner, but that for later humans, as mentioned earlier, they are already made and ingrained by the past and used so much and collaberatively that they become mechanical and impulsive. However, many things among us may become that way, from one's diet, to a process at work, to driving a car, etc. There are mechanical and natural-like aspects involved in the usage of many things, but that doesn't mean that there isn't and shouldn't be any concious learning, understanding and concious choices about such things. The imitative and mechanical aspect doesn't remove a need for understanding and concious choices as well, anymore than machine doesn't need any maintenance and repairs. Everything in humanity includes going out of the way to help it where we may. And language is not and should not be an exception.



Isn't "pretending the past doesn't count anymore" exactly what you are doing by criticizing the historical innovations in the English language that have lead to "the age-cultivated language you speak"? The fact is that if you insist on some historical form of the English language--say before 1066--you have to arbitrarily fix a point in time and declare it the Pure English. You then have to ignore changes made after that date, or devise some system of what counts as legitimate change and what doesn't.



No, for being "the past" doesn't make something correct anymore than being "modern" does. The reason that the past in this case corresponds more with what is correct though is because that is when the language was far less (in the context of being English) besmitten by the smites of time that lead to loss of so many parts, lack of distinctions and little mistakes such as near, nearer, nearest, instead of nigh, near, next. It is not impossible that a language could get more grammatically sound after its earlier stages, but that is seldom. After the language is already well established, there is little more to do, unless it may and is preserved with a fairly steady effort and strength, than to deteriorate more and more in the later ages. And that is exactly what happened and is happening with English. If we want the language to continue to deteriorate more we can continue to do nothing to resist such deterioration, but if we want to resist the deterioration and even restore parts whereever possible, then there needs to be more learning, respect and going out of the way a bit to help improve the language.



Also, languages don't have authority--people do. People use languages. Languages only exist as a tool for communication between people. We may use them for artistic and other grand purposes, but they are still and always a communicative tool for humans. If the English Speaking Populace adopts a word into its universal lexicon, then that word is English. The Anglo-Saxons adopted plenty of words, too. Everyone has always done it. There is nothing disrespectful or disgraceful in facilitating communication by all means. I actually find it disrespectful to insist on forms of language that are less efficacious and prevent complete communication. We should be attempting to clarify rather than obfuscate our meaning, and this is done by availing ourselves of the common idiom.



I don't agree. As you said earlier language is greatly imitative. We greatly imitate what was already authored by the past, therefore it is the authors and language of the past that is the authority by which we must judge the present. None of this can happen perfectly. Obviously it is nigh impossible for the language not to deviate and errors to come about, and some errors to be so far that we have little choice but to give into them in one way or another. But none of that removes the fact that they are deviations, losses and errors, nor removes the fact that we can do something about it to prevent the extent of such things despite not being able (nor it being desirable) to try to to prevent them from happening at all. Loss of distinguishing English from foreign is a loss and it does result in further confusions and error and a lack of clearly understanding any of the languages well from confusing only bits and peices of all in a superficial confusion that is treated as all one and the same. Once you learn the languages distinctly or at least to make important distinctions between them, then you begin to understand their proper connections, relationships and meanings, and better use both English words and foreign words much more strongly and learnedly.
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