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On Tue, 16 Oct 2012 08:46:12 +0200
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> We think it's "obvious" that a
> writing system is just a representation of a language, not the
> language itself, that it's secondary to the spoken word.

I don't! Writing has seldom been a simple transcription of speech. If
you look at the earliest Sumerian, the script leaves out a lot of
things, like the tenses of verbs. The written language is used under
different circumstances to the spoken and may need different solutions.
There have been linguists in modern times who have argued for its
independence (e.g. Haas. Phono-graphic translation).

> Why do you think most linguists still have to
> explain that their job isn't to teach others how to write well?

But who else could? This takes me back to the controversy over the
removal of labels like "colloquial" from Webster's Dictionary in the
1960s, while the OED retained that, "slang", and "erroneous". The
existence of standards of correctness in speech and writing is a social
fact and a linguistic phenomenon. There's a lot of leftist and populist
ideology in 20th century linguistics, especially that emanating from
the USA.