jump to navigation

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday May 4, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff.

pedantryLinguistic knowledge (black line) versus pedantry (red line), a graph

A. Danger point. Increased linguistic knowledge has led to a surge in linguistic pedantry, resulting in an imbalance.

B. Crisis point. Full on pedant. False confidence in good linguistic knowledge has led to pedantic half-truths outweighing facts.

C. The road to recovery. Taking time to understand how language actually owrks has led to a more tolerant outlook.

D. A sensible place to be. The more you know about language, the more you see the nonsense of linguistic pedantry. Be aware that at point D you may be called upon to challenge people at point B. This can be difficult, as people at point B often have the weight of public opinion behind them. Be patient, and encourage them to move towards point C.

(by Rob Drummond on Twitter)



1. Deborah Allen - May 4, 2016

Applicable to many disciplines, alas.

2. Yves Champollion - May 5, 2016

So true. The graphic illustrates the stages described in the quotes by Francis Bacon and later, Louis Pasteur “Un peu de science éloigne de Dieu, beaucoup de science y ramène”. (The original English quote is more complex and I’ve forgotten it.) As translators, we’re increasingly tasked with translating hype. Perhaps the invasion of hype — the middle stage in your graphic — is due to the the masses now accessing everything. The only way out is that the masses get better linguistic education, but that’ll take a long time!

3. Victor Dewsbery - May 10, 2016

In your graph I note that actual knowledge of the language does not grow during the high pedantry phase and only starts to grow again when you reach point C. Seems pretty realistic to me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: