A Lesson in Language and Cookies

I’ve noticed, lately, that I have a few (read: many) friends on Facebook that consider themselves “Grammar Nazis”. Horrible references to one of the most destructive and disgusting political parties aside, these people drive me insane. If I miss a comma or accidentally replace “your” with “you’re”, it seems as if my post is completely negated. Instead of commenting on the content, my little Word Wizard pals will comment on the construction of my sentences.

In a forum where my status updates are competing with a myriad of cat photos and Sponge Bob Memes, I’d think it’d be safe to make a few grammatical errors here and there.

Which got me to thinkin’.

Which, if you know me, can be dangerous.

No danger, here, though, because I recalled a blog written by The Wonderful Joe Kessler, Ph.D. student, University at Buffalo, Linguistics.  He’s someone I follow on Twitter and also happen to know personally. Give that link a click and you’ll be directed to his Tumblr which has saved me from internet boredom more than once.

Over on Joe’s Linguistics Blog, I saw a post that instantly piqued my interest. As an English major I, of course, love words but even more than that, I love COOKIES.

This post had both. And it also validated my feelings re: language and the liberties that I often take with it:

“Imagine you have a favorite recipe for making cookies. You learned it from your grandmother, and you have always made cookies this way. You think they’re the best dessert in the world, and people regularly compliment you on them when you bring them to parties. You understandably take great pride in your baking — but would you insult someone else’s cookies, or denounce their recipe as illegitimate?

One hopes the answer would be no, but people take this attitude towards other people’s language every single day. As I’ve argued before, anything that someone says or writes on purpose is a correct use of language, just like every cookie recipe out there is a correct use of baking. Unfortunately, some uses of language are often considered incorrect, and I think there are two main reasons for that.”

Do yourself a favor and click over to his page and read this post in its entirety. And if you are a member of the group that I mentioned above, do me a favor and step off of my prose, son!



To stay up-do-date on all of Short and Feisty’s posts, click the Follow this blog button at the top right of this page.