Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Prescriptivist Approach to Life

This is what happens when someone dates a linguist. After ranting about the travesty of spelling that some environmental groups are inflicting on the children of the world (Won't someone think of the children?), Y declared that I am a prescriptivist.

And I agree. I do believe in the rules of language and spelling. I'm not entirely averse to those rules changing and modifying to adapt to an evolving culture, but come on environmental groups. DaVersity? DAversity?

Are you trying to KILL me?

My impending death by misspelling travesty aside, I wonder if my prescriptivist nature transcends language and influences my daily life. The simple answer would be "yes." The more complex answer would be "um. I'll have to get back to you on this later."

And that's what I'm going to do.

The absolutely silly thing about this post is that I got to thinking about this after reading a post on Joe.My.God. I don't usually read his blog, being that it's blocked by my company's Evil Firewall of Doom and I do most of my blog-reading here in the comfort of my cubicle.

However, last night, the Wireless Internet Gods were smiling down upon me and I had a fairly strong "borrowed" signal. I clicked through and was reading some post where JMG was responding to some other guy's post about some other [gay] guys who adopted a child.

The adoption was referred to, quite condescendingly (IMHO), as heteronormative. And, thus, my little brain started whirring. Is there homonormative behavior? And what would that be? Random sex in dark alleys with strangers? Lisping? Interior decorating? Perpetuating junior high drama well into middle age?

[Aside: I looked up the definitions of skim and scan because I can never remember which one means to read over quickly versus to read thoroughly. This has always caused much confusion and consternation. And it would seem that at some point in my education, I was misled. According to Merriam-Webster, scan can mean either "to investigate thoroughly by checking point by point and often repeatedly" or "to glance from point to point of often hastily, casually, or in search of a particular item." Whereas, skim means "to read, study, or examine superficially and rapidly; especially: to glance through (as a book) for the chief ideas or the plot." Which raises an interesting, and not entirely unrelated, point, apparently the superfab cuz let slip last night a small secret to the Most Desirable Man on the Blogosphere: We sometimes have been known to read the dictionary to each other over the phone. Srsly, where else would one learn that the plural of clitoris is clitorides?]

OK. I've now completely forgotten my point ... if I ever had one in the first place.

So ... don't forget to leave a comment or two for the contest [Contest ends tomorrow! at 5PM (EST)!], in which you can win A HAT (*woot*).

Speaking of which, Tornwordo asked how many hours it took to make. Unfortunately, I don't know. I would guess about 10? Probably less. If I knit every day, I can turn out one of these hats in about a week.


  1. You know what drives me nuts? People who misuse the word 'peruse'.

  2. I'd not heard of DaVersity. It brings to mind two things ... urban eubonic speak ...and the Da Vinci code (for some reason). I love making up words. My friend Sarah and I do this all the time.

    P.S. I, too, have been known to read the dictionary ... but not over the phone to another person. You're in a category all your own, dear Vuboq.

  3. You should so watch "Do You Speak American." Did I mention it to you before? Probably. It's a great documentary about the various American languages inside the US. Of course, it was done by linguists. On a similar note, someone told me once that a "language" is a dialect with an army. The "proper" language is often the one of the winner group-- thus everything else is usually considered either a dialect, slang, or another form of impurity. Linguists in this documentary explain why those variations are actually proper languages.

  4. Well, I for one am glad that there are gays out there adopting children. They do it so that I don't have to do so (My pet peeve is ending sentences in prepositions).

    I find it hard to accept that the most embarrassing thing that Super Fantastic Cuz could come up with about you is the dictionary thing. Fortunately, I will have months (dare I say, years?) to work out the real dirt on V.U.B.O.Q. How did he become the "V? " Or the "U?" Or the "B?" (I don't think that you are the "O" and the "Q" just comes with all the butt sex you keep having).

    In the meantime, maybe you and Super Fantastic Cuz should mix it up sometimes and read the thesaurus to each other.

  5. I took your "About Me" pic! You may pay me $1 per day (or one martini per day) for the copyright:-)

  6. You know, I read the same post on Joe.My.God and I've been pondering the word heternormative as well. I even dreamed about it last night, which I suppose means it really bugged me. :)


  7. So, how long into a BF type relationship before you will read the dictionary over the phone to him?

  8. The aside was the best part of this post.