Stephen Jay Gould interview
Jose G. Perez
jgperez at SPAMfreepcmail.com
Tue Dec 21 19:54:45 MST 1999
>>This disappoints me. "Grammar" is and always has been the biggest
shuck in the public school system. Believing that teaching grammar
is teaching English is almost as bad as creationism. <<
For the unbelievers, parse and diagram the following:
"We had better be doing something about getting ready for the party."
"We" is clearly a pronoun and the subject of the sentence. "For the party"
is clear enough. But what is "had better be doing something about getting
ready"? Seems to want to be a verb.
From: Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu>
To: marxism at lists.panix.com <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Date: Tuesday, December 21, 1999 3:29 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen Jay Gould interview
>Louis Proyect wrote:
>> Stephen Jay Gould
>> It's like saying, "We're going to continue to teach English, but you
>> have to teach grammar anymore."
>This disappoints me. "Grammar" is and always has been the biggest
>shuck in the public school system. Believing that teaching grammar
>is teaching English is almost as bad as creationism. In any case, what
>is called "grammar" is usually a particular etiquette -- real grammar
>doesn't have to be taught. For example, would any native English
>speaker have to be taught to say "She is a fine Spanish teacher"
>rather than "She is a Spanish fine teacher"? And yet probably
>very few people know the rule for that. (I presume speakers
>of languages in which nouns cannot be used as modifiers
>would have to be taught the rule when learning English.)
>"Bad grammar" in writing does not come from not knowing grammar
>but from causes that have only partly been explored because the
>assumption that the problem is "grammar" blocks research into the
>actual causes. Everyone's *speech* is always grammatical -- i.e.,
>rule bound -- and no one needs to know the rules in order to
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