Saturday, November 2, 2013

It's a Syntax

More quotes from The Complete Plain Words:
George Saintsbury denounced the futility of trying to 'draw up rules and conventions for a language that is almost wholly exception and idiom'. 
Jespersen preached that the grammar of a language must be deduced from a study of how good writers of it in fact write, not how grammarians say it ought to be written.
Forget the debate about whether testing is art or science. I'm wondering: is testing a language?
Image: phpSyntaxTree


  1. Yes. It's bound up in something called a practice language. See Collins: Rethinking Expertise, also Tacit and Explicit Knowledge

  2. Note that prescriptive grammar is not the only kind of grammar.

    Descriptive grammar is something every speaker has to have wired in their brains in order to use it. And if it exists it's never futile to try to figure it out (even if it turns out as ugly as the standard model).

    Also focusing on writing instead of speaking when discussing natural languages outside NLP domain is a bit short-sighted (see Pinker's talk for some nice definitions).

    Anyway, if testing is a language, does it have a universal grammar?