A Rhetorical Analysis Of Our Language By Oliver Kamm

864 Words4 Pages
In the article “Our Language”, Oliver Kamm argues that the grammar rules enforced on the people who speak the English are strongly artificial. The author speaks against the worries concerning the growing popularity of language use that does not correspond to the established once standards. He claims that the issue of language purity is not worth discussion since the use of language should be the factor that identifies the rules of its existence rather than calling non-standard dialects improper English or making conclusions about literacy based on the use of standard rules.
Oliver Kamm is a British journalist and writer. The author gained education and graduated from New College, Oxford and Birkbeck College, University of London. He is now
…show more content…
Throughout the article, the writer refers to the same problem that grammar has to be based on the use of the language rather than on the definite variety of it. For example, he repeats the idea that “a certain practice is a rule of grammar because it’s how we see and hear people use the language” without providing strong support for it from the scientific studies or others' ideas. The same problem concerns the claim “But it is not possible for everyone, or the majority ... to be wrong on the same point at the same time”, even though it seems rather logical. Moreover, it seems that the appeal to the reader's emotions is the strongest from all rhetorical appeals, which make the article seem rather subjective. The author allows himself to use the emotionally-painted words and phrases. For example, the phrases like “proper English” or “low people” are the reflection of the author's attitude to the issue discussed in the article. However, the prevalence of the author's personal opinion and overemphasis of the author's idea might be seen as a weakness of the writing as far as the readers might not find out on what the writer bases his claims. Thus, the audience might consider the support provided by the author not sufficient for the persuasion. Besides, Oliver Kamm strongly refers in the article to the ethical side of the problem of grammar pedantry, which might not be supported by his opponents. He claims that the behavior of grammar pedants is used as an evidence of considering some people “social superiors” and points out the snobbish nature of the debate. However, this ethical aspect connected to language use might be argued to have no relation to grammar
Open Document