I think it would not only be harder, it would lose history.  Grammar is the
way distinctions that can be made in the voice by tone, volume, pitch,
phrasing and timing, and also by body language, can be inscribed on the
page.  Moreover, grammar and spelling are the way we learn meanings.
Phonetic spelling would destroy that vast storehouse of words.

All languages, in any case, reproduce complex grammatical structures
even if they were lost in one form.  For example, an incredible number of
young people in Nicaragua are deaf because they had no antibiotics that
were not also dangerous in having deafness as a side effect.  The first
generation of signers used a kind of creole, but their children automatically
developed a complete and complex grammar.  That seems to be how
language acquisition works.  Judith Kegl, at my university, has worked in
Nicaragua on this.


Date sent:              Fri, 10 Jan 2003 08:22:08 +0000
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Mayne Russell <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Screw grammar / Hypercorrection
To:                     [log in to unmask]

it's worth considering if much grammar need correction at all.  I was (am)
terrible at grammar and spelling and was nearly labeled as dislexic (sp?)
however since become a language teacher and learning a more phoneticaly
written language and studying the history of our language, I wonder
whether it wasn't so much me but the language's fault.  I can correct my
students who say "he's more big than you" but not my friend who told me
"it's more rare,"  Or Shakespeare who used double superlatives.  I can
tell my students that after "going" and before a noun they need to use
"to" but not my father who tells me "I'm goin' London," it's all such a
mess really. Since Englishis the world langauge shouldn't there be some
kind of "world English" created, with it's own dictionary and
pronunciation?  Or perhaps we could use the phonic alphabet to spell,
wouldn't that be easier?


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