Colloquium: Don Chapman

Colloquium: Don Chapman
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Date(s) - 10/24/2019
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

4010 JFSB


Don Chapman, Associate Chair & Associate Professor of Linguistics, will present for the Humanities Center’s weekly colloquium on Thursday, October 17th. The presentation will be held at 3:00 PM in room 4010 JFSB.

Title: “Say X and not Y: Claims and Arguments in Prescriptivist Discourse”

The divide between language prescriptivism and descriptivism is well-known, but less discussed are the differences in aims and discourse of the two sides. Claims are the basis of linguists’ (descriptivists’) discourse: linguists, like most academics, make claims, challenge claims, support claim, and revise claims. Claims are not nearly so important for most prescriptivist discourse, however, and characterizing prescriptive rules as claims that can be challenged may even be an embarrassment. Translating the relatively claims-less prescriptivist discourse into the relatively claims-full descriptivist discourse provides a way for linguists to engage meaningfully with prescriptivism as a cultural phenomenon and perhaps for prescriptivists to understand more precisely the objections of linguists. This presentation will demonstrate how prescriptive rules can be translated into their underlying claims.