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Daven

Episode 16: Caesar Part 5- In Which We Discuss All Things Tangentially Related

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I have just recently found the podcast and been listening through all the episodes in order, so this is obviously a super belated comment/feedback, but this is the first episode where I got just extra excited since I am a linguist, and I had to chime in.

First and foremost, as both a linguist and as a hobby writer, the dumb prescriptive rules that have nothing to do with English are a massively huge pet peeve, so I was super excited about the split infinitive debunking (the video version should be shown in very English classroom, honestly).  Like, the fact that it was, as you said, based on Latin, which is absolute hog bollocks since to find a common ancestor language for English and Latin you have to go back to a speculative language like Proto Indo European, and to say the rules of one apply to the other is basically the same as saying "well, they do it this way in tennis so obviously it should be this way in football", just ridiculous, but anyway, I did want to add that, if I am remembering the details correctly, it was mainly popularized by just one singular guy who wrote one book which also popularized several other grammatical fallacies (I think it might have had the "no prepositions at the end of a sentence" one ?? which is also sort of Latin based, but I could be remembering wrong, it's been a few years since we learned this in class), which is just even more ridiculous, like one dude writing it down somehow trumped actual logic and examples from speech... ludicrous.  But anyway, great stuff, you should debubk the prepositions one next lol

Also, genuine thank you for also helping to dispel the myth that linguists are going to judge you on your language.  The number of times I have said I'm a linguist and had people make some joke about "oh, I better talk good then" or something, I just.... no. lol   Any good linguist worth their salt is not going to judge you or tell you how to talk unless their specific job is teaching a language or speech therapy or something where they are helping someone with a speech impediment or with pronouncing something like a native speaker (and even that should not be judgemental.... unless they're just rubbish).

In my experience it is generally English teachers and people who were taught "formal grammar rules" that become the infamous grammar nazis who will say you use English (or any other language for that matter) wrong.  In fact, in my very first introductory course at University, one of the first lessons was about the difference between descriptive grammar (just describing how language is actually being used) and prescriptive grammar (telling people how to use language), and how linguists only do the former.  So yeah, like I said, unless they're just rubbish linguists or terrible human beings they better not be judging your language use.  Analyzing though, absolutely.  Just, only in the kindest and curiosest of ways lol

Also, last linguist comment I swear, but you mentioned that as soon as a word is used, it IS a word (no take backsies, amirite?), and that's 100% true.  Also true and related to this is that if a native speaker uses a grammatical form, it is grammatical, even if it's weird, though sometimes grammar can be contextual based but that's a whole other fun topic.  This is because every native speaker of a language has an innate sense of things that are truly ungrammatical and not possible in their language.

Anyway, I am just rambling now, this was really just a review/feedback input a year late (dropped it here since I knew it was probably going to get too long for the review format) but bottom line is I enjoyed your discussion on the topic, hope you do more linguistic facts in future, and keep up the non linguistic facts too obviously, I just love all of it.

Also, unrelated, love the Seattle and Washington references, and also First Contact.  Such a great movie.

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