- 章节名：descriptive&prescriptive grammars
- 页码：第37页 2014-01-25 22:21:15
一字一字看 再一字一字敲 tired but happyThere is a difference between having the knowledge necessary to produce sentences of a language, and applying this knowledge. For example, very long sentences are theoretically possible, but they are highly improbable. It is a difference between what you know, which is your Linguistic Competence, and how you use this knowledge in actual speech production and comprehension, which is your Linguistic Performance.For the most part, linguistic knowledge is not conscious knowledge. The linguistic system — the sounds, structures, meanings, words, and rules for putting them all together — is learned subconsciously with no awareness that rules are being learned. Just as we may not be conscious of the principles that allow us to stand or walk, we are unaware of the rules of language. Our ability to speak and understand, and to make judgments about the grammaticality of sentences, reveals our knowledge of the rules of our language. This knowledge represents a complex cognitive system. The nature of this system is what this book is all about. To the extent that the linguist's description is a true model of the speakers' linguistic capacity, it is a successful description of the grammar and of the language itself. Such a model is called descriptive grammar. It does not tell you how you should speak; it describes your basic linguistic knowledge. It explains how it is possible for you to speak and understand and it tells what you know about the sounds, words, phrases, and sentences of your language. We have used the word grammar in two ways: the first in reference to the mental grammar speakers have in their brains: the second as the model or description of this internalized grammar. When we say that a sentence is grammatical, we mean that it conforms to the rules of both grammars; conversely, an ungrammatical sentence deviates in some way from these rules.From ancient times until the present, purists have believed that language change is corruption, and that there are certain correct forms that all educated people should use in speaking and writing. They wished to prescribe rather than describe the rules of grammar, which gave rise to the writing of prescriptive grammars. Prescriptivists are bound to fail. Language is vigorous, dynamic, and constantly changing. All languages and dialects are expressive, complete, and logical. If sentences are muddled, it is not because of the language but because of the speakers. Prescriptivists should be more concerned about the thinking of the speakers than about the language they use. Hopefully, this book convinced me of this.
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