Robert J. Hansen rjh at sixdemonbag.org
Fri Oct 13 17:12:10 CEST 2017

> However, from this does not follow that one individual or a majority
> are allowed to dispense of any rules and do as they please while
> claiming that they are speaking English.

Sure it does.  Chaucer, Joyce, Shakespeare.  We even have special
grammatical terms for when the author decided to say "to hell with it".

English is a strict subject-verb-object (SVO) language: screw that up
and you sound like Yoda... or Shakespeare.  "Bloody thou art; bloody
will be thy end." (_Richard III_)  Inverting word order is called

Sentence fragments are bad, right?  Meet anapodoton.

Repetition is bad.  Well, except if you're Churchill, in which case
epizeuxis is your friend.  "Never give in -- never, never, never, never,
in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to
convictions of honour and good sense.  Never yield to force; never yield
to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

English is chock full of special rules that tells speakers how we ought
break the rules.  It's beautiful.  :)

> Instead, one must apply the well-known rules of English and use
> common sense in determining which words one will regard as
> legitimate. Leaving this judgment to majority amounts to the ad 
> populum fallacy and to such blatant absurdities as regarding the
> words “u”, “gotta” and “wanna” as valid synonyms of “you”, “got to”
> and “want to”.

Perfectly valid depending on the community and the dialect.  When I go
visit my Southern relatives I don't talk about dragonflies, I talk about
snake doctors.  I don't say "the sun went down," I say "the sun's gone
done."  It's called code-switching, the ability to shift between
different dialects, vocabularies, and grammatical rules.

I get that you're a linguistic prescriptivist.  But English --
especially American English -- isn't.

> In the case of the word “Linux”, my argument is that this word was 
> introduced (at least in informatics) for a specific use: To refer to
> a kernel.

Sure.  And "cheater" was originally introduced to refer to an employee
of the Crown charged with administering real estate.  But that's not
what it means any more, and that's not what Linux means any more, either.

> Thus it is not necessity, but plain sloppiness what explains it use
> as something else.

Sure.  English is a sloppy language; that's what makes it so awesome.
Embrace the mutability.  Set yourself free.  :)

> In short: Your argument "_many_ people use “Linux” to refer to any 
> Linux-based operating system, therefore it is correct English” is a
> big mistake.

I continue to be amused by your tendency to think the English language
has to respect the fragility of your linguistic beliefs.  :)

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