David Foster Wallace

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In the reading of “Authority and American Usage” by David Foster Wallace we are provided with information from “A Dictionary of Modern American Usage.” After I read this I was able to classify Wallace as a prescriptivist that would follow all of the rules of writing in his classroom. He is a linguistic conservative that goes by the norms, and uses SWE (Standard Written English). In a writing class of Wallace’s the main purpose and function would be to write context that is grammatically correct, that uses SWE, and use dictionaries to make writing language meaningful and clear. Wallace also classifies himself a SNOOT; one that considers himself always correct and is a critic. Descriptivists are considered linguistic liberals. A descriptivist…show more content…
Wallace truly believes that SWE is the correct way of writing, and that there is only one dialect. Wallace wants to stick to the norms and teach kids the right way. By having Wallace being a critic, he will be strict, and will be taken more seriously. A SNOOT is someone that knows what everything means, is always correct, and doesn’t mind letting you know it. Another way you can define a SNOOT is a snob. Wallace conceders himself a SNOOT. As a SNOOT, Wallace is naturally and constantly looking for flaws. He thinks he knows it all, and is always correct no matter what. A SNOOTlet is an offspring of a SNOOT. There’s a SNOOTlet in almost every class, there are 6-12 year olds that think they know everything and correctly answer the teachers questions every time. The point is that an A+ SNOOTlet is in the same dialectal position as the classes “slow” kid. Wallace is trying to conclude that no matter the type of educational knowledge you have there is only one…show more content…
Though it would be strict setting because Wallace follows the rules and is very critical. Wallace follows the norms of SWE writing and that would make it easy because you would have certain guidelines you would need to follow to please Wallace. Though it might be hard to accomplish pleasing Wallace because he is such a strong critic, you would be provided with his exact expectations. Wallace doesn’t allow you to have any freedom or room to experiment. Having guidelines to follow, Wallace’s writing class wouldn’t be as fun as a descriptivist classroom setting, to me. I personally would enjoy being in a descriptivist versus a perscriptivist because they use language today as people speak it. Being a descriptivist you would have more room to experiment, journal, brainstorm, and free write. I wouldn’t enjoy going by set rules and the norms and not be able to experiment with different ways to write. I think its important for kids to explore with there writing and be able to express who they are, limiting kids from such a young age can limit their ability to be creative with writing. In my opinion I don’t think there should be “only one standard way of writing allowed”, there should be several different ways you can work off of and gain as much technique and skills from different styles of
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