Edward Finegan Language Analysis

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Edward Finegan argues that there is no right or wrong when it comes to language. Finegan says that, “English is now changing in exactly the same ways that have contributed to making it the rich, flexible, and adaptable language so popular throughout the world today.” Finegan describes descriptive and prescriptive views of language to argue that English is not falling apart, but simply changing as time progresses. John Simon, on the other hand, argues that “good English” needs to be preserved because any other form of English is a product of ignorance.
Finegan starts off his argument by analyzing descriptive and prescriptive grammar. He states, “Descriptive grammarians ask the question, “What is English (or another language) like—what are its
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John Simon makes several arguments throughout his article regarding the importance of “good English.” The first argument he makes, states that one’s ability to think clearly directly affects one’s ability to speak and write English correctly. Simon believes that those who do not respect words, have no respect for ideas. Simon’s feud is not with people making minor errors when it comes to language. Instead, it is with the sloppiness or ignorance of “good English.” Another argument the author makes is that people are going to be judged not only by the content of their words, but also by the way that they speak. Speaking correctly helps avoid being discriminated against. Simon says, “you might as well learn good English and profit by it in your career, your social relations, perhaps even your basic self-confidence,” to those who are members of minority …show more content…
Simon supports this claim by saying, “dams are precisely what we can construct to prevent floods of ignorance from eroding our language, and, beyond that, to provide irrigation for areas that would otherwise remain linguistically arid.” The author’s argument is that linguistically we has come so far. Grammar books, dictionaries, and education have allowed us to evolve linguistically. What Simon fears is unnecessary change and that’s why he suggests constructing a dam. Towards the end of the article, Simon says that contrary to many beliefs, language does not belong to the people, it has to be earned. It is those that have bothered to learn language properly, who have earned language. The lack of knowledge that people have is partly because they do not want to educate themselves. In Simon’s perspective, if we try to educate “the ignorant up to our level” rather than to stultify ourselves down theirs, there is a chance that they do not want to be educated. That is why those who want speak “Standard English,” will train themselves because institutions cannot be trusted to carry out this

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