Thursday, 5 November 2009

Prescriptivism

I've just finished a module on my English language course that talks about the "prescriptive approach" to language use, which is basically the view that one variety of language is by nature better than the others, e.g. an RP accent is the proper way to talk and everyone should aspire to speak like that, innit.

Where there is diversity in accent and grammar some people will argue for a "correct" and an "incorrect" way of speaking.

This made me think about church denominations. There is a truckload of diversity (if diversity can be measured in truckloads) of theology, ritual, decor and cuisine among denominations. Cuisine is potentially the most divisive (how's your post-service coffee???).

As well as having different practices, we also have different views as to how significant these differences are. There are undoubtedly denominational prescriptivists, who wish that every church was "proper" like theirs. The opposite view to this is descriptivism, which is much more post-modern and less likely to cause conflict - "do your own thing" philosophy.

I have a tendency towards prescriptivism, especially regarding theology, but I have to constantly assess whether my opinions are based on holy conviction or selfish pride. I'm one of those people that enjoys being right far too much.

1 comment:

Sahil said...
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