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Are these definitions of prescriptivism and descriptivism a good place to start for someone who wishes to know the differences in the two ways of thinking?

"Prescriptivism is based on the view that one variety of language is inherently superior to others and that this more highly valued variety should be imposed on the whole of a particular speech community."

"Descriptivism is based on the view that the assignment of a superior status to one variety of language is often arbitrary and is more likely to be the result of socio-economic factors than of intrinic linguistic factors."

From Keywords in Language and Literacy. By Ronald Carter
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Comments  (Page 2) 
No; I took it for a general statement; hence my "not necessarily".

MrP
Milky"Both (prescriptivist and descriptivists) agree that acqusition of the standard language is necessary but argue that different routes and procedures for its aquisition are necessary."
It's out! Ronald Carter is a secret prescriptivist sent in to infiltrate the ranks of "descriptivists".

I can't imagine a serious linguist referring to themself as a "descriptivist". The term fails to capture the essence of linguistics, and moreover trivialises the discipline by suggesting that the primary aim is to describe language.

(Does "themself" make me a non-"Standard English" speaker, make this text non-"Standard English", or is it only the word itself that is non-"Standard English"?)

/km
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<I can't imagine a serious linguist referring to themself as a "descriptivist". The term fails to capture the essence of linguistics, and moreover trivialises the discipline by suggesting that the primary aim is to describe language.>

Where has he described himself as a descriptivist?
Milky<I can't imagine a serious linguist referring to themself as a "descriptivist". The term fails to capture the essence of linguistics, and moreover trivialises the discipline by suggesting that the primary aim is to describe language.>
Where has he described himself as a descriptivist?

Nowhere I know of, and nowhere did I claim that he has. But isn't that a topic of this thread? And isn't that the usual, false dichotomy laypeople set up, descriptivists vs. prescriptivists?

/km
<And isn't that the usual, false dichotomy laypeople set up, descriptivists vs. prescriptivists?>

No one has stated that there is a dichtomy, I think. If you think Carter has done so, read what he says later in the same text:

Descriptivists and prescriptivists are often presented as being in opposition to each other, although they can be said to have more in common than is often understood. For example, they share interests in such matters as the intelligibility of language, and in acceptability for particular social and cultural purposes. Both also have an interest in models of language which illustrate the relationship between language and values, language and beliefs about social action, and language and ideology."

Keywords in Language and Literacy. By Ronald Carter. Pg 36.
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MilkyDescriptivists and prescriptivists are often presented as being in opposition to each other, although they can be said to have more in common than is often understood. For example, they share interests in such matters as the intelligibility of language, and in acceptability for particular social and cultural purposes. Both also have an interest in models of language which illustrate the relationship between language and values, language and beliefs about social action, and language and ideology."

Keywords in Language and Literacy. By Ronald Carter. Pg 36.

Who are these descriptivists??

/km
<Who are these descriptivists??>

Where are we going here, Kimm? I mean, what is it that you want to say?
Milky<Who are these descriptivists??>
Where are we going here, Kimm? I mean, what is it that you want to say?

I would like to know if descriptivists, as Ronald Carter describes them, really exist.

/km
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<I would like to know if descriptivists, as Ronald Carter describes them, really exist.>

Do descriptivists, as you would describe them, exist? I mean do you have an alternative, basic description, of a descriptivist?
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