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Thread: Let's Throw Grammar Into The Garbage!

  1. #1
    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    Let's Throw Grammar Into The Garbage!

    Who Needs the Queen’s English?
    Let’s Throw Grammar into the Garbage Can!
    (Originally published by the Dana Society Journal in February, 2006)
    An Essay by Wolf Larsen

    Writers, poets, and playwrights should mold and bash language into whatever art form they wish to create. Traditional Grammar in creative works is unnecessary, and can often be an obstacle to the creative impulses of the writer. The writer should concern himself more with creativity, and less with correct grammar. The writer must do with language as he pleases. The writer should help destroy “standard” English, at least within the realm of contemporary literature.

    Language must be the servant of the writer, and the writer must be a god over the realm of words. The role of language is to lie down in front of the writer and beg to be ravished by him. In order to create a higher literary art the writer should throw off the straightjacket of grammar whenever necessary. The writer must create with the intensity and passion of a freed madman rampaging on the streets.

    Traditional grammar is not necessary in creative works. Take note that poetry and music are cousins. Literature often has a rhythm that makes grammar unnecessary, just as good verse has a natural flow that has made the rhyme obsolete. Many of the traditional rules of grammar are destined to go the way of the rhyme in poetry, at least in creative works.

    Writers should think of their literary creations in much the same why they think of sex. Correctly obeying all the rules of grammar while in the throes of literary creation is like having sex with your clothes on. An artist of words should write with the same intensity as passionate sex. All boundaries to expression should be smashed open with pens that crash through everything like sledgehammers.

    Grammar lends legitimacy to “standard” English, which is the spoken and written medium of communication of the elite. Of course, how convenient for the upper classes that their way of talking and writing is considered “standard”.

    Why should the mode of speaking of the most privileged members of our society be considered “standard” English? Why shouldn’t the rich and constantly evolving language of poor blacks in the ghetto be considered “standard English” instead? People from all over the world do not crowd in giant concerts or tune into their radios to hear the privileged members of our society recite “standard” English. There is a worldwide fascination with hip-hop for good reason. Hip-hop glorifies the “standard” English of the black American ghetto, which is far more exciting and rich in contemporary culture than the “standard” English of Park Avenue. Take note that rap music has brought a resurgence of interest in poetry.

    Standard English is constantly under siege from the influences of the black ghetto and immigration. Writers should stop defending “standard” English and should participate in its downfall. Gutting “standard” English and its rules of grammar will free the writer to express himself more freely than ever!

    Another reason to throw “standard” English in the garbage is that it is not worth saving. The English language originates from invading barbarians of different tribes and races all babbling and babbling to each other for thousands of years on the British isles. This of course helps explain why English is such a course and ugly language in comparison with the romance languages. If it wasn’t for the civilizing influence of the French language brought over by the Normans English would probably sound as ugly as German.

    The defenders of “standard” English who obsess over its grammar are obstacles in the necessary evolvement in what has become the most important language of the world. Instead of rejecting the growing international and cosmopolitan influences of an evolving language we should embrace these changes. The further that English evolves away from its barbaric Anglo-Saxon heritage the better. If purists and traditionalists want a language with unchanging rules of grammar then let them learn Latin.

    More than ever the time is ripe for a rebellion against grammar and tradition. With the invention of word processing there is no excuse for literature to remain one of the most backward areas of the art world. Word processing, because it makes change, experimentation, and innovation easier, is an important development that can help writers, poets, and playwrights to free literature from its chains. Look at how painting has constantly revolutionized itself over the past one hundred and twenty years. Artists of the written word should do the same!

    When we have sex most of us do not invent a bunch of rules to make the experience less enjoyable. Why not eliminate the rules in literature? Why shouldn’t literature be as exciting and decadent as sex? Let us free literature from the constraints of grammar like two lovers throwing off their clothes and diving into a natural frenzy of joy!

    Established rules of music, painting, and sculpture have been thrown in the garbage by innovators like Stravinsky, Picasso, and Rodin. The result has been a constantly changing art that is exciting and fresh. Painters and sculptors deposed of a rigid faithfulness to representation, and the result has been an explosion of artistic brilliance. Just as the painters deposed of rigid representation creative writers should depose of grammar whenever it gets in the way of expression. One obstacle to artists of the written word is the straightjacket of grammar, and its anal obsession with the placement of commas, colons, semicolons, etc. Who cares if a sentence is a fragment? Who cares if a sentence is a run-on? I wrote a 200,000 word run-on sentence. I slashed and cut it down to seventy-thousand words. It’s called The Exclamation Point! The idea of writing a run-on sentence occurred to me while I was sitting in a café in Amsterdam, Holland. I would never have dreamed up such a wild book if I had been loyal to the rules of grammar.

    Writers should do with language whatever they please. Any obstruction to expression must be obliterated into dust with the sledgehammers of our pens. Imagine that while you’re trying to make love to someone an old grammar teacher is yelling at you, “PUT A COMMA THERE! AND CHANGE THAT COLON TO A SEMI-COLON! OH NO! THAT SENTENCE IS A FRAGMENT!” It would be terrible, wouldn’t it? Why do you write under the same circumstances?
    Copyright 2005 by Wolf Larsen. All Rights Reserved

  2. #2
    Just another nerd RobinHood3000's Avatar
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    an he standard against standard? is serious English! English essay writing in

    syntax he's right screw;!

    still sarcasm? allowed is
    Por una cabeza
    Si ella me olvida
    Qué importa perderme
    Mil veces la vida
    Para qué vivir

  3. #3
    Registered User caesar's Avatar
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    he, he, he..........
    "Don't need a gun to blow your mind"

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    "The artist must become the master of the rules before he can break them" - or to something of that extent.

    Yes Stravinsky, Picasso, ee cummings - these are people who defied the conventions of music, painting, grammer. But I can guarentee you that Stravinsky spent years learning his music theory - what's a proper chord and such, and that ee cummings knew about proper grammer and poetic style. I agree, an author shouldn't be restricted by rules - language should be his servant as it were - he must have some foundation to go by. I compose music - I am not very familar with the rules - so why does my stuff sound like crap and not Stravinksy. Same with my poetry. It's the same with writing, without a good knowledge of grammer, and techniques, the writer will not be able to mold the language to his desire for it will always elude him.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    Author to-be Kelly_Sprout's Avatar
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    I agree. Let's throw grammar in the garbage! But put her in head-first so we can get a running start before she gets out and hits us over the head with her rolling pin!
    --Kelly
    ...But if he wants to carry the cat that way, I say, "Let him!" It's not easy being eccentric.
    Samuel Clemens' 70th birthday speech

  6. #6
    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinHood3000
    an he standard against standard? is serious English! English essay writing in

    syntax he's right screw;!

    still sarcasm? allowed is
    what? i have him not understood except for "still sarcasm" etc...



    Quote Originally Posted by WolfLarsen
    The writer should concern himself more with creativity, and less with correct grammar. The writer must do with language as he pleases.
    The writer must do as he pleases?
    what if he pleases to use standard grammar? can't the writer be expected to be an intelligent and mature human being who can chose for him/herself?

    Quote Originally Posted by WolfLarsen
    The role of language is to lie down in front of the writer and beg to be ravished by him
    what a beautiful image; being a person of the female persuasion, I especially appreciate your sensitive metaphor. It really makes me want to throw grammar in the garbage. Very well-chosen indeed.

    still sarcasam? allowed is?

    ok, to be honest i like some of your arguments, e.g. the ones about ethnic minorities, etc.. like
    Quote Originally Posted by WolfLarsen
    Why should the mode of speaking of the most privileged members of our society be considered “standard” English? Why shouldn’t the rich and constantly evolving language of poor blacks in the ghetto be considered “standard English” instead?
    BUT: if you stop to look for a mintue, there already is a lot of literature in non-standard varieties of English and this literature gets read by lots of people.... what would be the point in a writer who considers standard English his personal dialect adopting, let's say black English? that would be totally phony....

    Quote Originally Posted by WolfLarsen
    Another reason to throw “standard” English in the garbage is that it is not worth saving. The English language originates from invading barbarians of different tribes and races all babbling and babbling to each other for thousands of years on the British isles. This of course helps explain why English is such a course and ugly language in comparison with the romance languages. If it wasn’t for the civilizing influence of the French language brought over by the Normans English would probably sound as ugly as German.
    *cough* *cough*... civilizing influence of the French language... well, if that isn't an elitist argument.....
    by the way, German doesn't sound ugly to Germans.. but of course, that's a very subjective impression

    what's a "course" language?


    sorry I'm being so rude (mods, please don't behead me!!!!) but this article seems to be aimed at provoking disscussion... plus "as one shouts into the wood, so it will come back"
    creative use of language??? nah, just a literal translation from an ugly language

  7. #7
    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    PS:
    it gives already a lot of possibilities to make an experiment with the language. for example in the poetry.
    but when one a wide audience reach wants, must one onself to the right grammar hold else is one not understood
    in the socio-political respect, the problem with the ethnic minorities is not, that they the non-standard language speak, but, that they not the standard speak.
    while their language a worth in itself has, have they also a right the standard to learn, so that they social progress can make. they the standard in addition to their language need to know. this means not, that their language eradicated be should. if they both languages in the right situation use can, they will better off be. this can code-switching be called.
    a lot of thank that you my post read have.

  8. #8
    Flying Coconuts Danika_Valin's Avatar
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    When you throw away grammar, don't you throw away style and technique? Isn't a good writer one that can effectively use words and grammar and evoke an emotional response or a higher mode of thought in the reader? If we don't use the language as common ground for literature, how do we distinguish good writers from bad, true craft from pure nonsense? And what if the reader can't even understand the text?

    heard idea? I've stupid such a... never!

  9. #9
    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    besides, non-standard varieties have grammar too. they have their own set of rules... so they're not necessarily by definition more 'creative' than standard language
    wanna pick a fight with a linguist? better practice on a mule first

  10. #10
    Just another nerd RobinHood3000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinHood3000
    an he standard against standard? is serious English! English essay writing in

    syntax he's right screw;!

    still sarcasm? allowed is
    Translation:

    Is he serious? Writing an essay against standard English in standard English?

    He's right; screw syntax!

    Is sarcasm still allowed?
    This is what happens when you generate random word/punctuation positions in a calculator and type accordingly. You're lucky the letters and sentences are in the right order.
    Por una cabeza
    Si ella me olvida
    Qué importa perderme
    Mil veces la vida
    Para qué vivir

  11. #11
    Seeker of Knowledge Shannanigan's Avatar
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    lol, Robin...

    I'm so glad that I'd taken a course in linguistics and the history of the English language before I read this essay, or I'd be revolutionizing the way I write right now...lol...naive and impressionable girl that I am...

    (not)

    Anyway...what I've decided is that "standard" English's purpose is to provide one type of speaking (yes, conviniently the upper-class' native tongue, but since when has that been a new development?) which everyone generally understands. Standard English is still one dialect of English in a sea of many (you really begin to see how many if you live in the Caribbean...each English-speaking island can have three or more English dialects!)

    So, yeah, Standard English is the dialect used by government officials (usually), military, and for general communication, etc...but no one ever said it HAD to be used in creative writing. In fact, all you really are trying to do in writing is make someone UNDERSTAND you/what you are trying to express...if you derive too far from generally accepted grammatical rules then you cannot accomplish that task...at least not without everyone squinting at your writing as if it's the latest sudoku puzzle book...

    I can write in a different English dialect (Wah! De man say he wah wakin dun de road an a cah neely run him dun!) and be understood by speakers of that dialect and others who may have some exposure with that or similar dialects...so if that's the audience I am trying to reach, then I have effectively acheived my purpose...

    ...just an opinion

    (translation of above St. Thomian dialect: Wah! (local exclamation) The man said he was walking down the road and a car nearly ran him down!)
    You learn more about a road by travelling it than by consulting all of the maps in the world.

  12. #12
    Just another nerd RobinHood3000's Avatar
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    A humor column I found poking fun at a certain widespread American dialect...

    Here.
    Por una cabeza
    Si ella me olvida
    Qué importa perderme
    Mil veces la vida
    Para qué vivir

  13. #13
    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    heheh that's hilarious Robin
    it wasn't tooo difficult to read, considering. except for clinics.. did he mean Kleenex? you gotta know the brand name to figure it out...
    wouldn't wanna read a whole novel in that "language", though

    how difficult is it for you folks to read my post up there? the one with the inverted grammar? (it's German grammar with English words in it, if you were wondering... i made some mistakes though kept the correct English word order a couple of times although i was trying hard to get it wrong can't even speak my own language it seem )

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Robin
    Is he serious? Writing an essay against standard English in standard English?
    The whole thing is so inane.

    Quote Originally Posted by WolfLarson
    Why shouldn’t literature be as exciting and decadent as sex? Let us free literature from the constraints of grammar like two lovers throwing off their clothes and diving into a natural frenzy of joy!
    I really do believe at this point that this entire thing is a satire; that is the only reasonable explanation.
    As Kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame . . .


    Why disqualify the rush? I'm tabled. I'm tabled.



  15. #15
    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    yeah.. maybe he just likes to see impulsive, argumentative ppl like Sleepy do this:

    i don't like it when people post some provocative stuff and then never come back to post on their own thread

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