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Thus spake Raymond S. Wise:

(Snip)
It has been three days since John Lawler wrote the above. In the past, I have made the analogy between ... the past for having expressed similar sentiments has seen fit to criticize John Lawler for his take on the matter!

I, who have criticised you before, have nothing to criticise John Lawler for. He treated a specific example, provided historical context, and showed the development of linguistics out of the demonstrable error.
He did not call prescriptivists horrible names; he did not classify them together with spiritists, acupuncturists, and alchemists; nor did he claim that prescribing descriptivists may escape the prescriptivist epithet by means of their track records.

Simon R. Hughes
Yeah, and we don't call them "parts of speech" any longer, they're "word classes".

A lot classier, though.
All this nonsense is simply the linguists creating a market for their wares. It's like the fashion business with its new seasons.

I really can't agree with you. Although linguists, like most 'social scientists' do produce a lot of gibberish, amongst which there is a fair bit of arrant nonsense, on the whole they are producing something useful and usable. That is quite different from the aims of the fashion industry.

Perhaps you could compare it to computers: an expensive item that is unlikely to last you long, is out of date when you get it and will require constant updates.

Rob Bannister
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Thus spake Robert Bannister:

Examples, please, of the useful and usable products of linguistics. Stuff that has not been produced before, that is.

A new grammar in which the only new thing is the terminology for which no justification has been presented,(!) is nothing more substantial than a pair of trousers that, this season, is made of canvas, instead of last season's denim.
It could be there is a good reason to start calling "parts of speech" "word classes", but I doubt it.
Perhaps you could compare it to computers: an expensive item that is unlikely to last you long, is out of date when you get it and will require constant updates.

I fail to see how a common noun can go out of date. Let's start calling electrons whizzers.

Simon R. Hughes
Thus spake Robert Bannister:

I really can't agree with you. Although linguists, like most ... is quite different from the aims of the fashion industry.

Examples, please, of the useful and usable products of linguistics. Stuff that has not been produced before, that is. A ... It could be there is a good reason to start calling "parts of speech" "word classes", but I doubt it.

I'm not sufficiently familiar with the term to know why they did this.
Perhaps you could compare it to computers: an expensive item ... date when you get it and will require constant updates.

I fail to see how a common noun can go out of date. Let's start calling electrons whizzers.

As has been pointed out, Latin grammarians did not include the adjective in their parts of speech: they called them nouns. Now, we have people like Eric who want to group articles and other determiners under 'adjective'. I suppose it's simply a way of looking at things, but the names have certainly changed or, as I would say, gone out of date.

Rob Bannister
Thus spake Raymond S. Wise:

(Snip)

It has been three days since John Lawler wrote the ... to criticize John Lawler for his take on the matter!

I, who have criticised you before, have nothing to criticise John Lawler for. He treated a specific example, provided historical context, and showed the development of linguistics out of the demonstrable error.

"Demonstrable error"? If you are talking about their way of classing adjectives as nouns, it made perfect sense in their language. Some of us think that grouping articles under 'adjective' is an error too, but really it is just a (possibly better) way of looking at things.
Rob Bannister
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Well, I personally found the term 'determiner' useful in my teaching. It differentiated a particular set of words in a way I could not do without using whole paragraphs.

I was brought up on the 8 parts of speech stuff. I can't remember clearly, but I think the articles got two whole parts to themselves! This was daft. Function is what matters. 'Determiner' sounds good to me. The wife thinks so too, as it brings Arnie to mind. How am I supposed to compete with that?
Is there a term for functionless words?

Paul
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Thus spake Robert Bannister:
Thus spake Raymond S. Wise: (Snip) I, who have criticised ... showed the development of linguistics out of the demonstrable error.

"Demonstrable error"? If you are talking about their way of classing adjectives as nouns, it made perfect sense in their ... articles under 'adjective' is an error too, but really it is just a (possibly better) way of looking at things.

I was talking about the imposition of Latin grammar on English.
Simon R. Hughes
Thus spake Paul Rooney:
Well, I personally found the term 'determiner' useful in my ... a way I could not do without using whole paragraphs.

I was brought up on the 8 parts of speech stuff. I can't remember clearly, but I think the articles ... it brings Arnie to mind. How am I supposed to compete with that? Is there a term for functionless words?

Adverbs. That's what I was taught: if you don't know what it is, or what it does, it's an adverb.

Simon R. Hughes
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Thus spake Paul Rooney:

I was brought up on the 8 parts of speech ... compete with that? Is there a term for functionless words?

Adverbs. That's what I was taught: if you don't know what it is, or what it does, it's an adverb.

Ha ha! That's what I was taught too. I had some difficulties trying to understand how some 'adverbs' could be said to qualify verbs.

Paul
My Lake District walking site (updated 29th September 2003): http://paulrooney.netfirms.com
Please sponsor me for the London Marathon at:
http://www.justgiving.com/london2004
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