forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 5883  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Sun Nov 11, 2001  8:32 pm
Subject:  Re: Is SignWriting Necessary?

Hi Jerry!

I think I may not have clearly stated the context that Joseph was
writing. He was talking about a particular situation, for example that of
English in the Middle Ages. In that situation, English was the vernacular
(L) and Latin was the standard (H). He was talking about two groups of
people: the "higher social strata," who had spent years of their lives
learning to read the standard, and the "avant-garde," who had also learned
the standard and seen the benefits of a standard language, but wanted to
replace the old standard (Latin) with a new one based on the vernacular

In the case of English and Latin, there were numerous people who
believed fervently that Latin was superior to English, and English was not
appropriate for use in the higher functions of law, the Church or science.
They had spent a lot of time trying to learn Latin, and were upset at the
idea of others being allowed to use the standard functions without
spending the effort that they did. That's my interpretation of the quote.

I'm not sure how that applies to your case. Certainly, you're
talking about one group of people trying to control the way that the other
speaks, but it doesn't sound like a struggle over which language should be
the standard for your speech community.

On Fri, 9 Nov 2001, Jerry Spillman wrote:

> I just had this discussion with my boss, over what was proper
> vernacular in my youth, and is now forbidden as inappropriate, or not
> "politically correct". It seems to me that if I am to respect the
> vernacular and customs of this modern age, that those so-called
> politically correct persons should also respect the vernacular and
> customs I was reared into. Falls right in line with your quote,
> however, and I suppose that one day because I have been ordered to do
> so, I must "standardize" my speech to the now "common" (vulgar)
> vernacular... It would seem to me that this is the kind of thing that
> has maintained all the cultural differences we all see among our
> members, but yet if all language becomes completely standardized and
> cooked down into one set of language and symbols, where, then is our
> ethnicity, originality and personality? And how will these "standard
> H" persons communicate with the rest of us. Do we just become
> obsolete and die off, or will it be mandatory to become one in order
> to survive?

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
University of New Mexico

  Message 5883  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index