from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The support or promotion of prescriptive grammar.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. prescribing idealistic norms, as opposed to describing realistic forms, of linguistic usage.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The doctrine that acceptable grammatical rules should be prescribed by authority, rather than be determined by common usage.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (linguistics) a doctrine supporting or promoting prescriptive linguistics
- n. (ethics) a doctrine holding that moral statements prescribe appropriate attitudes and behavior
Sorry, no etymologies found.
A very large chunk of prescriptivism is indeed based on acceptance of language judgments that you encounter early in life.
The psychology of prescriptivism is likely very similar to the psychology of racism or spiritualism or conservatism/progressivism.
However, it does offer evidence for the suspicion that one appeal of prescriptivism is a kind of sentimental conservatism — the desire to feel as though one is preserving tradition.
I consider this, and other such reactions, hard evidence that prejudicial prescriptivism is pressured for by prejudiced audiences.
It asserts that prescriptivism is there, and that it is of dubious worth and demonstrable detriment.
In other words, the sticking point on your rejection of prescriptivism is that it defines the notion of right and wrong as invalid, instead of answering the hard questions of knowing right and wrong.
Where it succeeds in establishing itself thus, (often because the prescriptivism is pandering to a pre-existing and widespread moral/prejudicial attitude to a scapegoat group within society,) as the default paradigm it propagates.
But since prescriptivism is not for whatever reason acceptable, how can you do that?
A large part of what I’m arguing is, in fact, that prescriptivism is the source of nonsense (moral/prejudicial assumptions), and that argument on the basis of such is precisely what renders the substance mere “foliage”, as it ceases to be descriptively sound.
The voice I heard reading the sentence was Chico Marx and that led me to thinking about the classism inherent in prescriptivism.