Another Skeptics.SE user and I are discussing the meaning of the word "prescriptivism". (Yes, we are aware of the recursion involved.)
In particular, I have cited a couple of examples of scientists objecting the usage of the word "chemical" by the general public and in marketing, to refer to "artificial additives" rather than the standard scientific definition.
- $2.3 million bounty offered for “100% chemical-free material”
- Hell to the no! Chemical-free chemistry kit
I argue that these are two cases of linguistic prescriptivism. He disagrees:
What linguists term prescriptive usage are those elements of grammar/pronunciation that are perceived to be "proper" and are typically associated to the speech of the speakers of the language who have the most power (in the west, educated middle class/upper middle class speakers). Often times they are in fact out of sync with what people actually say (even in the prestige group). So the scientifically driven ones are really not part of what linguists characterize as prescriptive language. I would say that's scientific pedantry...
I'm no expert, and I am happy to be corrected, but this doesn't go along with my understanding.
Should demands to only use the word "chemical" in the scientific sense be considered "linguistic prescriptivism", "scientific pedantry", both or neither?