Bill Frankeless info
|visits||member for||11 months|
|seen||1 hour ago|
I'm a contentious, confrontational old coot with strong opinions about (American) English usage: They're all my own and I don't care whether you adopt them or disagree with them, but if the latter, I'd like reasons and references -- I sometimes change my mind. Taught writing & ESL at two universities in the US (11 years) and writing & EFL at 10 universities & high schools in Japan (10 years) & Taiwan (16 years). Have an old MA in theoretical linguistics (I'm a lapsed amateur linguist). Technical writer & biomedical editor for the past 16 years. Most usage questions are about style (aesthetics & personal preferences, both of which require subjective judgments), idiomaticity, & clarity, not about grammar. What's best is what works best in any given context. Ambiguity, lack of clarity, verbosity, & outlandishness are all bad. Good = "what I like"; bad = "what I don't like": in most cases & for most native speakers. No one has all the answers; no one's always right. English has a basic grammar that all but the addled have acquired: Grammar is trivial in most instances, unless it confuses the listener/reader. English has few hard & fast rules: The old ones were mostly wrong & silly; the new ones are mostly wrong & silly -- almost nobody follows the rules because there are no enforcers (language police), so why should they? Culture is primarily language-based; everyone makes judgments about the language that speakers and writers use and about how they use it; ergo, social commentary is sometimes necessary to explain the sociolinguistic value of some usages. If you don't like my commentary, ignore it -- you don't have to agree with me: don't try to silence me, or patronize me, and we'll get along even if we disagree. If I'm persuaded that I'm wrong, I'll admit it: we all make mistakes, so why shouldn't I? Words matter: How you say it is usually more important than what you say. My chief concern is formal written English: I edit technical articles every day. Native Anglophones will say anything. Why not? Human language is natural language. Programming languages are artificial & irrelevant to English usage. I don't use the chat room; I don't social network, but I'm guilty of long discussions -- I try not to be, but I think things should be open.
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