Hayes Chapter 3 - Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 60...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 9 pages.

The preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 9 pages.
HayesIntroductory Linguisticsp. 60Chapter 3:Normative views of language1.27BIntroductionSuppose we are eliciting some data on English morphology from one particular speaker ofEnglish, and obtain the following:(79)PresentPast participleI jump.I have jumped.I place it.I have placed it.I allow it.I have allowed it.I grow it.I have grown it.I cling to the branch.I have clung to the branch.I string the racket.I have strung the racket.I bring it with me.I have brung it with me.The last form would, if I were collecting it from a UCLA undergraduate, startle me, but infact there are many dialects of English in which the past participle ofbringisbrung.This is an example of anormativebelief — on my part, and perhaps for you as well.Somewhere, deep inside me, I feel that peopleoughtto saybroughtas the past participle ofbring, and thatbrungis “wrong.” A normative belief involves “ought to be”, as opposed to “is”.Normative beliefs can be about some particular word or construction, or about wholelanguages or dialects. Here are examples of both kinds.(80)Examples of normative beliefsx“French has a more beautiful sound than German.”x“It is better to say ‘it is I’ than ‘it is me’”x“[Such and such an ethnic group ] speaks a substandard dialect of the language”x“Southern accents sound friendly.”x“Southern accents sound ignorant and uneducated.”Here, of course, our interest in language is entirely scientific; we aren’t going to wallow inour normative beliefs, but try to come to terms with them as an object of study. The questions athand are:xWhat might we do as linguistic scientists to make sure that our work remains objective inthe face of normative beliefs?xHow do we find out about normative beliefs and assess them?xWhere do normative beliefs come from? Why do they arise?xAre normative beliefs ever “justified” in a factual sense?
HayesIntroductory Linguisticsp. 612.28BThe professional practice of linguists concerning normative beliefsNormative beliefs arise for linguists as a methodologicalissue. We want to do good science,and it’s quite likely that our normative beliefs might impede our scientific objectivity. My ownfavorite metaphor for this is the clean white lab coat — the emblem that a laboratory scientistwants to keep the samples clean and uncontaminated. As linguists, we keep our lab coats clean(in part) by ignoring what wefeelabout language, and concentrating on the data.Scientific objectivity is of course a goal that cannot always be attained. Everyone, includingexperienced linguists, has normative beliefs, and we can’t make them go away. To speakpersonally on this point:I find that whenever I encounter a phrase like “very unique,” or thepronunciation [nukjul̸r] (“nucular”) fornuclear, I experience real, unavoidable normativefeelings. Both cases are instances where the normative belief is one that favors the older meaning

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

End of preview. Want to read all 9 pages?

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

Term
Spring
Professor
N/A
Tags
normative beliefs

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture