5 Comments

  1. I note some confusion in the reference to throwing one (singular) dice (plural). One is known as a die.

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  2. Lex wrote:

    I note some confusion in the reference to throwing one (singular) dice (plural). One is known as a die.

    The singular can be either die or dice – using dice is less confusing

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  3. Scott Balson wrote:

    Lex wrote:

    I note some confusion in the reference to throwing one (singular) dice (plural). One is known as a die.

    The singular can be either die or dice – using dice is less confusing

    Thanks, Scott. I should have qualified after I’d done some checking, but don’t share your view that using ‘dice’ instead of ‘die’ is less confusing. Many references confirmed my rejection of ‘dice’ as a singular, but others referred to common usage, evolution or change. ‘Dice’ as a singular is still much disputed, but it’s a common error and when a sufficiently large portion of the population commits error, the linguists eventually declare that it’s not error. Their claim is that they don’t tell speakers how to speak, but report how they do speak, and they accompany such acceptance of error with the claim that language does what it feels like doing. My experience tells me that a language doesn’t exist without its speakers, who created it and maintain it, however poorly.

    I’m not opposed to evolution, which is natural as external factors change, but I’m certainly opposed to a haphazard evolution, which is controlled by poor speakers, who tend to be in the majority. The idiosyncrasy is that the convoluted ‘rules’ that descriptivists concoct to condone error are inclined to confuse the very groups that were responsible for the error, in the first place.

    A typical example is what is currently known as notional concord/agreement, in terms of which it is acceptable to use plural antecedents or verbs with singular nouns when they’re used as collectives or perhaps imagined groups, ie., when the collective is used to refer to its individual members; for example, when I was going through high school, ‘committee’ was a singular that required singular forms of reference and ‘committee members’ was a plural requiring plural forms. Notional concord, as opposed to grammatical concord, permits one to use ‘committee’ instead of ‘committee members’, when one isn’t referring to the committee as a single unit, but to its members, who act as individuals. In Britain, many speakers have no idea when notional concord does apply, so they simply use plural forms with certain singulars, whether it applies or not. Oddly enough, many in the USA object to such error, so my UK English is more in line with US English in such cases.

    In my opinion, linguists make scientific studies of language, then instead of using the knowledge they gain to positive effect, they abdicate what might be deemed their responsibility to correct error and advise all and sundry to go with the flow. I don’t need their scientific study to advise me what errors are common; I face those daily and have no intention of adopting error because it’s common. For example, English speakers confuse ‘I’ with ‘me’ quite frequently and Afrikaans speakers, who never do that in Afrikaans, emulate or try to emulate the English of poor English speakers, believing that it’s correct to do so, and in this respect, they err only in English, though not necessarily in exactly the same way.

    The crazy part, in my mind, is that the descriptivist linguists avoid the term ‘error’, but admit that some of the ways English and non-English speakers express themselves are not normal [that means they’re erroneous]. When they decide, however, that “everybody does it”, they regard such error as valid or normal, and some even predict coming change based on common error. What really irks me is the way dedicated teachers are denigrated for their effort to teach their students to speak correctly. I guess, I’ll always lean toward prescriptivism and by and large, reject descriptivism. Language does what it feels like doing!? Bah! I don’t buy that.

  4. im laying in my bed laughing big time about which is the right word or not, come, people, we have more important things to worry about too which is it now–die or dice, it is the same as the word to and too, when to use how and when lets us worry about other more important, them; they////
    ; let us pray more for our loved ones who don’t know God and Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, as the angels rejoice in heaven if only one lost soul comes to conversation and excepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour

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