2010-05-03

Elements of Style in English

2010-05-02

• Elements of Style in English
http://xahlee.org/Periodic_dosage_dir/bangu/elements_of_style.html

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.lisp/browse_frm/thread/cab47c7322ae9bfe#

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you see Raffael, your reply is not atypical of pedantic idiots. There are a sea of them.

But is there a way to resolve our argument in a definitive way?

Yes. One simple way, is to ask expert writers, say, those who are widely recognized as expert writers, make a judgment of my writings. Say, my very little essay here, or others on my website. Ask them, is these writings, clear, conveys the writer's thoughts well, fluent, creative, and in short, rather expertly done?

You see, we can even carry this out. The question, of whether my writings are above average among professional writers, is absolutely a question that can be answered with a definitive yes or no. But the question is, as with most arguments in online forums, there is no incentive to actually resolve arguments. In the past years, i've suggested concrete and practical ways to raise funds by both parties to resolve questions about computer language debates. Wrote at least twice with some 500 or so words on this that describes how this can be done. (search google group of my post with terms paypal, argument, expert, you'll probably find them) The closest case is someone paid me $20 usd to resolve a argument i had with another guy. (documented here: http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/Mathematica_optimization.html )

So, what am i gonna do with u? what CAN i do with another online netizen who i barely know? do i, honestly, spend the next 4 hours digging my heart out with sincerity about a proposal to resolve a argument, that i know, will result in nothing other than another bout of word fight? And consider you as a person, do i really, want to go to all this trouble that effectively in the end makes you look bad? hum? y'know, my persona, isn't the type to be kind with words about matters of truth or the size of my cock.

Xah
∑ http://xahlee.org/



On May 2, 7:31 pm, Raffael Cavallaro wrote:
> On 2010-05-02 18:57:21 -0400, Xah Lee said:
>
> > What you don't seem to realize, as with most pedants, is that writing
> > serves a purpose, a purpose of communication, and when a piece of
> > writing, communicated exactly what the writer wants the reader to
> > feel, understand, with no hiccups in the reading process, that writing
> > is successful.
>
> To the ear of a native speaker, your writing is filled with hiccups.
> You don't realize this because you haven't internalized english grammar
> and usage sufficiently to hear it. You think you're communicating in an
> unimpeded flow, but a native speaker cringes when reading your posts
> because of the numerous gaffes, errors that one would never hear from a
> native speaker.
>
> If you don't want to adhere to english grammar because it's too much of
> an effort for you to learn its byzantine norms (and they are in large
> part arbitrary and irregular), fine. There are thousands of posters on
> the internet whose english is far from perfect.
>
> > would any in the audience have problem understanding the above
> > perfectly and fluently? In particular, when the "pigs fly" part hits
> > them?
>
> It isn't at all clear what you mean. "When pigs fly" means "that will
> never happen." Do you mean that essays and novels will never happen? Do
> you mean that poetic license makes the impossible happen? Your usage of
> the phrase makes no sense in the context in which you use it. You can't
> repurpose long accepted idioms and expect that readers will magically
> read your mind and intuit your intended meaning. We don't live in your
> head.
>
> One problem with english being widespread is that it is a language in
> which is easy to attain understandability, but very difficult to attain
> comprehensive mastery of the huge laundry list of often arbitrary
> grammatical and usage norms. As a result, non-native speakers often
> fall into the trap of believing that it is easy to master. It is not.
> Such people my go for years repeating errors without realizing it
> because native speakers will understand their intended meaning, but not
> correct their grammar and/or usage.
>
> Please stop trumpeting your broken english as some sort of stylistic
> choice. It's not. It's obvious to native speakers that it's not. You
> don't *choose* to write "punctuations" instead of "punctuation," or
> write sentences with two verbs and no relative pronoun. You just don't
> know any better.
>
> Spanish is a language with relatively few phonemes. As a result,
> spanish speakers often speak other languages that have phonemes absent
> from spanish with a quite noticeable accent. My brother was acquainted
> with a spanish diplomat who, because of his profession, needed to be
> proficient in a number of languages. He once told my brother "I espeak
> eseven languages - all of them in espanish!"
>
> There is no shame in not having mastered english grammar and usage (or
> pronunciation) - I speak some spanish, french and german, but I would
> never claim to have mastery of the grammar and usage of any of these.
> At the same time, I don't write screeds condemning the authorities on
> the standard grammar and usage of these languages.
>
> Just be yourself without apology. At the same time, stop trying to
> denigrate accepted, widely used, english grammar and style just because
> you haven't mastered it. It just makes you look foolish.
>
> warmest regards,
>
> Ralph
>
> --
> Raffael Cavallaro

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