Philosophy of language and linguistic prescriptivismJournal: The Digital Scholar: Philosopher’s Lab (Vol.3, No. 2)
Publication Date: 2020-06-30
Authors : Ekaterina V. Vostrikova Petr S. Kusliy;
Page : 96-116
Keywords : philosophy of language; prescriptivism; linguistics; grammaticality judgements;
This paper discusses two general approaches to natural language studies – descriptivism and prescriptivism. Prescriptivism is an approach according to which there are preferred and correct rules of natural language that are distorted in the process of language use by its speakers and the role of a language expert is to select the correct rules and preserve them. The known arguments against prescriptivism both from the scientific perspective and the commonsense perspective are discussed. Prescriptivism is presented not only as an antiscientific view, but also as a view that leads to various types of discrimination. Prescriptivism remains an influential popular science misconception in Russia. Some specific examples illustrating prescriptivism in the recent Russian literature are discussed. The paper also discusses the relevance of the distinction between descriptivism and prescriptivism for philosophy of language – an area of philosophy that relies on the analysis of natural language sentences. Some specific examples of philosophical argumentation in the recent literature based on the prescriptive viewpoint are discussed and criticized.
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