How to Anger English Majors

shakespeareI love languages.  I specialize in the “dead” languages of Greece and Rome.  But the history and development of languages has always fascinated me.  I was hooked the first moment I heard about Indo-European (which was first hypothesized by William Jones, whom I hope is a long lost relative).    One thing I firmly believe about language is that grammar is primarily descriptive not prescriptive.  Though it does give us rules about (prescribes) HOW to speak, it is mainly a reflection of (describes) how we in fact DO speak.   Languages change.  And as languages change, so do the rules.  One group of people who just don’t get this is English majors.  Maybe because they enjoy knowing the rules and condescending to those who don’t, who knows?  But in keeping with the holiday season, I give you 2 things that are absolutely true about English but which will absolutely infuriate English majors. Continue reading