The Grammar Thread

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by jbcarioca, Mar 25, 2013.  |  Print Topic

?

Is proper grammar important

  1. Seriously underrated, needs more attention

    100.0%
  2. It's just fine, the languages we use are living like us

    100.0%
  3. My grammar is healthy and happy, so don't bother I or her.

    100.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    A few of us have from time to time engaged in repartee regarding the importance of grammar or lack thereof. While entertaining for some of us the discussions have been fairly clearly off-topic to the threads in question.

    So, here is a thread for that subject.
     
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  2. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Grammar and punctuation are very important in certain circumstances.
    A friend who is a lawyer specialized in redaction of legal texts. He likes to tell the story of a comma that cost a corporation millions of USD. The comma changed the meaning of a sentence in a contract. It went to court and many English language expert university professors were called to testify.....
     
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  3. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    Not the same thing, but there is an old story about a NASA craft that was lost due to a misplaced comma in a line of FORTRAN. It may or may not be true. There is a brief discussion in the Risks Digest, e.g., Volume 5 Issue 66.
     
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  4. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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  5. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    "I've been told the same thing by colleagues for whom English is a second language. The first time a friend from Russia told me that using English was much harder for social aspects than for technical work, I was surprised, as I had assumed that social and casual language would be easier to learn than technical material."

    I think I know why. I did undergraduate linguistics and psychology majors (I had a few majors) and was from time to time part of experiments regarding comprehension. Later working experience made me think.

    Formal speech and writing typically follows rules and conventions very closely. In sociological terms such speech is "normal". It is by design intended to convey information precisely and accurately to people who do not, or may not have, a social bond

    Colloquial speech and slang have the opposite intent. They exist as much to exclude non-members as they do to include. Thus they are intended to be unintelligible to the uninitiated.

    So, social situations are uncomfortable or unintelligible to outsiders. Formal ones are not.

    BTW, I have a short attention span so I have studied too many things and tried too many careers and countries. So whatever I think should be accepted with liberal applications of salt.
     
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  6. anabolism
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    I'm sure this is part of it. As my friend explained it, he knew the context much better in technical areas, with a smaller range of possible interpretations of what someone else said or what he wanted to say.
     
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