[links] Link salad sneers at style books

A reader reacts to Mainspring — My favorite bit: “The premise, though not completely original, managed to intrigue me”

“The Ghosts of Trees” — An open story, still in progress. Drop in and lay down some words.

Impostor Syndrome — Newly-minted urban fantasy author J.A. Pitts on what it means to arrive in publishing.

Searching 43 stylebooks — Some of you know my very dim view of style books, speaking as a fiction writer.

How English erased its roots to become the global tongue of the 21st century — At a linguistic level I am rather suspicious of this article’s premises, but it’s still fascinating. (Via Scrivener’s Error.)

Biomimetics Has Something For Everyone — I am really digging this new-to-me site, A Little Science in My Fiction.

Frank Frazetta 1928-2010 — In case you missed it yesterday.

Vintage boxes of crayons — art in and of themselves

Proud of Being Ignorant — Ta-Nehisi Coates schools Obama on his iPad/X-Box comments. Willful ignorance is not something I expect from this president.

Sex & Drugs & the Spill Yet antigovernment ideology remains all too prevalent, despite the havoc it has wrought. In fact, it has been making a comeback with the rise of the Tea Party movement. If there’s any silver lining to the disaster in the gulf, it is that it may serve as a wake-up call, a reminder that we need politicians who believe in good government, because there are some jobs only the government can do. And here I thought industry self-regulation was going to save us all.

More on Palin’s insistence that we should simply base laws on the Bible — Only someone who has never read either the law or the Bible could possibly believe this is a good idea.

?otD: What does it feel like to boldly split an infinitive? Kind of naughty, eh?


5/11/2010
Writing time yesterday: none (chemo)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.5 (poorly)
This morning’s weigh-in: 232.4
Yesterday’s chemo stress index: 7/10 (emotional stress, GI)
Currently (re)reading: The Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

3 thoughts on “[links] Link salad sneers at style books

  1. Cora says:

    I find the whole “Globish” concept incredibly condescending. And speaking as an accidental linguist, I am not surprised that the concept of “Globish” is pushed by a journalist and an IBM manager, neither of whom is a linguist. Because no linguist would ever subscribe to such a stupid concept.

    First of all, the English spoken in India or Singapore is not some form of “Globish”, it’s English, albeit an Indian or respectively Singaporean variant. English is one of several official languages in both India and Singapore. To claim that the English spoken by people in these countries is not proper English at all is as condescending and frankly incorrect as my old English teacher was when he claimed that American English was not proper English. There are regional differences and varieties within every language, let alone one spoken not just in different countries but on different continents. This does not mean that one variety is superior or somehow more real than the others. Besides, Singaporean English is perfectly comprehensible in spite of some regional specifics.

    And the claim that international speakers speak only a simplified form of English “without grammar” is an insult to non-native speakers of English everywhere. Are there a lot of international business people who speak bad English? Of course there are. In my work as a translator I run into those people every day. But McCrumb nonetheless gets the phenomenon completely wrong. People using English mainly for business interactions do not have a rudimentary vocabulary. Most of the time, they have a highly specified vocabulary tailored to the needs of their profession. I have met non-native speakers of English who could explain the functions of some very complicated machinery in detail but did not know such common words as “fairy” or “squirrel”, because they did not need those words to do their jobs. As for grammar, it really depends on the grammar instruction a non-native speaker received. Many of them have got a very good handle on grammar, some do not. And considering that particularly Americans are notoriously bad at identifying grammatical phenomenons (e.g. all of that confusion regarding what is and isn’t passive voice – Thank you, Strunk and White), native speakers aren’t necessarily better. They usually have the instincts acquired during language acquisition, but they are often worse at explaining the rules, because they never formally learned them. My 8th grade ESL students are often better at correctly identifying the passive voice than some adult native speakers, including published writers.

    Finally, this article is also a slap into the face of all of us non-native speakers who have invested a lot of time into studying the English language in all its varieties and subtleties and – if we are teachers – passing it on to our students. When I teach English, I take great care to teach not just vocabulary and grammar but also the history and culture behind the language. I consider it my job to teach the whole spectrum of English, not just some simplified “Globish”.

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