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Re: [OT] The stigma of schema
- From: Eric Bohlman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: XML DEV <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 13:41:54 -0500
6/29/01 12:59:28 PM, Bob DuCharme <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>As a matter of fact, Orwell is the reason that I prefer "schemas" to
>"schemata." From his "Politics and the English Language"
>"Bad writers, and especially scientific, political and sociological writers,
>are nearly always haunted by the notion that
>Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones."
It's rather similar to the prescriptive grammar movement of the nineteenth century; the underlying
assumption is that Greek and Roman society represented a peak in the quality of civilization and that
everything's gone downhill from there. That's really nothing but nostalgia, fueled by the
nonsensical assumption that Greek and Roman everyday life were similar to Greek and Roman High
Culture. I remember an anecdote about Isaac Asimov back when he was teaching: he had a student who
kept going on about how much better things were in classical times, and he treated that student to a
lengthy description of what his life would have been like as a slave in classical Athens.
Comparisons of the High Culture of the past with the pop culture of the present are always biased in
such a way as to make the present look bad, simply because any period's dreck gets forgotten.
IMHO, if you insist on using Greek or Latin plurization for English words derived from Greek or
Latin, then you ought to be treating (e.g. marking them up) those words as foreign words.