Friday, August 25, 2006

Well, it's a Friday night and I....

Remember that old song, too? It goes on: "....ain't got no money...."

Great grammar. But in songs, especially blues songs, the grammar is off--has to be off--and wouldn't sound right if it was proper grammar.

Grammar can be so difficult, though, esp. if you grow up with parents who don't speak the language, as I did. Italian was both of their first languages and so often, around the house, they'd be speaking Italian slang--I later learned--which they didn't want me to learn. It truly wasn't until I was into my 30s that I understood when to use lay and lie! Or what the difference between go and come.

It's true.

Everyone, it seems, hates grammar. A few good books, though, make grammar fun. Spunk and Bite by Plotnik. Sin and Syntax by Connie Hale. Woe is I and Words Fail Me by Patricia O'Conner (I think that's her name....)

Any other you recommend?

The image is from our trip to Catalina last week, Travis and me. This tile is vintage Catalina tile. Gorgeous, don't you think?

3 comments:

Deborah said...

Ah, ethnic dialects, one of my favorite subjects. Yiddish, ebonics, nuyorican some of the spices of our vast cultural treasure... Word origins are fun to learn about and trying to undo bad habits with language is as tough as any physical workout. 'Irregardless':), your book recommendations should whip us all into more 'standard' shape!

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

And in some cases, you have to keep the dialect. That song would never work as..."It's a Friday night and I have no money...." Or all those blues songs....

amy said...

I took grammar courses in journalism school that would make you cry. A score of minus 300 would be an A. We had to memorize things like, the eleven rules for using a comma, and the difference between which and that...The course was taught by a man named Don Ranly and he wrote the texts. I'm going to be unpacking all these books soon, and if I find the good ones I'll let you know the titles.