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LINGUIST List 18.01017

Fri Apr 06 2007

Review: Every Rule in Every Language; Gramma (2007)

Editor for this issue: Laura Buszard-Welcher <lbwelchuclink.berkeley.edu>

This LINGUIST List issue is a review of a book published by one of our supporting publishers, commissioned by our book review editorial staff. We welcome discussion of this book review on the list, and particularly invite the author(s) or editor(s) of this book to join in. To start a discussion of this book, you can use the Discussion form on the LINGUIST List website. For the subject of the discussion, specify "Book Review" and the issue number of this review. If you are interested in reviewing a book for LINGUIST, look for the most recent posting with the subject "Reviews: AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW", and follow the instructions at the top of the message. You can also contact the book review staff directly.
        1.    Percival Felix, Every Rule in Every Language

Message 1: Every Rule in Every Language
Date: 06-Apr-2007
From: Percival Felix <percy_chappycat.gov>
Subject: Every Rule in Every Language: How to Better Your Native Speaker Instincts.

Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/17/17-3493.html

What degenerative linguist has not deplored the average person's language use? Who has not blanched when confronted with a split infinitive or an illegitimate use of who? Who does not wince at the silence that echoes where a final "g" should have been?

Now, at last, an eminent and trusted scholar has taken pen in hand to quell this terrifying trend.

Purists everywhere will rejoice to learn that one of our most eminent scholars and grandparents, Degenerative Gramma, has published the definitive manual for language users everywhere, Every Rule in Every Language: How to Better Your Native Speaker Instincts. This heavy tome belongs on the bookshelves of every responsible parent and teacher. From the first chapter, ("No Opening Your Mouth With Food In It!") to the last ("Overcoming Slang and other Barbarisms"), Professor-Doctor Gramma, in residence at the Institute for Corrective Learning, shows you how to suppress your native instincts and use language properly.

In such trying times, she comes out boldly for word order: "Every word in its proper place." Preposition stranding, split infinitives, and even preposed question words can be seen saliently to kindle her wrath in the chapter "Rules by which to live."

She gives an effective rebuttal to the linguistic pseudo-principle that all languages are equal, conclusively demonstrating the superiority of Greek and Latin vis a vis their degenerated descendants. "Lingua Latina optima est. Quod erat demonstrandum." (Gramma, 2007: 3782) Her piercing gaze scrutinizes such upstart neologisms as "doctor," a coinage which has intruded into the casual speech of almost every class in the half-milennium since its introduction. By contrast, she makes an overwhelming case for the resurrection of the future passive progressive which will have been being enforced by the time this book takes its rightful place in the curriculum.

Not that the book is without controversy. Many will quibble at some of the editorial decisions that went into the making of this authoritative volume. Some, I have no doubt, would have preferred a green cover to the puce that now adorns the work. Despite this shortcoming, however, this reviewer fully endorses everything that lies between said covers and urges the serious language user to consult Gramma's previous volumes. A listing is available on MySpace.

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