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View Diary: Me or I -- a quick tip on choosing (43 comments)

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  •  Language changes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in RI, Kayakbiker

    Language changes. Lexicographers do not determine definitions, but describe them. Grammarians do not legislate syntax, but describe it. Not even the style manuals we all had to conform to in college (er, to which we had to conform) have legal standing outside certain academic and publishing backwaters.

    Not even presidents can determine the meanings and usages of the language of the people they govern. (Thank heavens, or we'd have had to say "noo-ku-lar" for the past 7 years, 10 months, 12 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes!)

    That said, it's a disappointment to me when President Obama uses language that would've made his grade-school teachers cringe. People do measure one another's intelligence and authority and power based on their language usage. And people measure a nation's intelligence and authority based on the utterances of its leaders. I'm ready for the respect to be back.

    •  I code switch at times (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JMcDonald, sistersilverwolf, ABaker

      depending on my audience. The strict academic style would be perceived as pompous by blue-collar groups and academics would wonder about my competence as a scientist if I spoke more informally.  

      One can get into trouble code switching if it is perceived to be unnatural.  For instance, I had a professor from Texas at University of Hawaii who spoke Hawaiian English with a southern accent.  Ouch.

      Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

      by Kayakbiker on Sat Nov 08, 2008 at 06:43:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I tend to get in trouble not doing it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kayakbiker

        Like when my dad calls and says "Are you doing good?" And I answer "I'm doing well!" without thinking and there's a pause while he probably thinks I was correcting him....

        Oops.

        •  Yeah, sometimes it's just better (0+ / 0-)

          to, for example, answer the question "How are you doing?" by saying "Good" instead of "Well."

          But spoken English tends to be appropriately more informal than written English.

          "People who nourish themselves in the political life are in the game not to make history but to be diverted from the history that is being made." -- Mailer

          by Vico on Sat Nov 08, 2008 at 06:51:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  anecdote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kayakbiker

        A foreign friend of mine learned English while mingling with graduate students at Berkeley.

        Soon after she gave a talk at a fairly major convention and began by saying something to the effect "Professor Jones suggested some solutions to this last year, but he got it all fucked up."

        Pin drops in an audience of about 1,000 people.

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