On Nov. 19, 2013 in “Common errors vs language evolution”, Chung wrote:
Solfrid Cristin wrote:Can I ask those of you who seem to think that everything is equal, nothing is better than anything else how you deal with mistakes made by children or foreigners? Are they also just as good as everything else?
In Norwegian we have the sound like in German "ich" only to make things harder, we also use it at the beginning of words. This is hard for children, and when left uncorrected we can see people in their twenties who still cannot say it correctly. We also see that many foreigners struggle with both that sound and the word order, and with the pronunciation of some vowels. Is the idea to just leave this uncorrected and consider it as just as good as the normal language?
In a world of public education and standard languages, the matter becomes one where it's worthwhile to use language in a way that will not only minimize misunderstandings to rational members of the speech community, but also reduce the chances of negative sociolinguistic judgements.
Even though I consider myself a staunch descriptivist, this doesn't mean that I succumb to a logical fallacy whereby I am to allow all variations even when they're still intelligible to me no matter that they diverge from the standard language which I know is a sort of lowest common linguistic denominator in the speech community.
Some things are obvious points for me to correct or put into ways consistent with the standards such as "Their coming tonight." (rather than "They're coming tonight.") or "They don't know nothing." (rather than "They don't know anything.").
Other points are fuzzier such as "Costs are increasing every day" versus "Costs are rising every day" (I've read somewhere that 'to increase' is a transitive verb only and so cannot be used without a direct object) or "hopefully," versus "I hope, that..." ("hopefully,.." is a disputed participal modifier but seems to be used on the model of "fortunately,...", "apparently,..." etc. which seem less disputed, if at all).
In cases where they're fuzzy, I might correct them in a way so that they resemble what I would use but the descriptivist in me tempts me to add commentary to someone requesting feedback. In this way I can illustrate that there are elements that are not always perceived as ungrammatical or non-standard by native speakers, and so the other person shouldn't dwell on them.