Language dominates the government: what needs to improve in spelling

The last officially accepted collection of rules ofn spelling and punctuation was adopted in 1956. Even then it was incomplete, internally contradictory, and there were gaps and ambiguities. Naturally, then language since times have changed, a large number of new words, structures, I’m not talking about that in the rulebook there was a lot of ideologically motivated, say, in the field of writing uppercase and lowercase letters.

This Handbook, for example, requires you to write “Armed Forces” — both words capitalized — if the armed forces of the Soviet Union, “Armed forces” — the first word with a capital letter, if it the army of the Warsaw Pact countries, and both words with a lowercase letter — “armed forces” if we are talking about the NATO countries. Agree, it is ridiculous, illogical, and furthermore, completely irrelevant.

But do not think that now someone will take and will analyze and alter this collection in 1956. In General, the work in this area deals with Spelling Commission — the most authoritative scientific institution which develops the rules for spelling and punctuation, observing, discussing controversial cases.

The Commission is working with the Institute ofn language named after V. Vinogradovan Academy of Sciences (not to be confused with Institute ofn language named after Pushkin, whose task is the preparation of teachers ofn as a foreign language and the development of techniques in this field), the Chairman — doctor of philological Sciences Alexey Shmelev. Orthographically already created a vault, where solved these cases of incompleteness, inconsistency, take into account the new phenomena that emerged in the language. The work goes on for many years, the preliminary results of this work already published, and the discussion continues

This set has been created, it can be discussed, it can be taken. If adopted as an officially recommended in the result of the work of this government Commission, that will be fine, because now many issues are resolved. Official collection 1956 is outdated and incomplete, and the other having the same status, no.

But you need to understand that adopting a new spelling of arch means that you will be banned (or, conversely, prescribes) the use of the word ‘coffee’ in the neuter or to write “parachute” or “expert”. The task of codification of spelling consists mainly in observing language trends in its development, identify its internal logic, not in the promulgation of administrative regulations. By the way, “Bolshevik” reform of the spelling reform of 1918 — was conceived long before the revolution spelling Commission under the leadership of linguist Philip Fortunatov.

It is a huge job. When there is a new phenomenon — how to get it? For example, how to write the word “oftop”: two “f’s” or one? With a hyphen or as one word? Need it to be systematic, we need criteria for decision-making. Or how many letters “g” in the word “blogger”? Main dictionaries think of one, but that every time a problem needs to be rules, laws, and where they cannot be invented out of my head, they should be based on years of tracking trends. It is a huge job. For example, the question about the matching of consonants arises in a very long time, ever since Jacob Grothwhen he wrote about the outstanding issues ofn spelling, because the doubled consonant does not reflect pronunciation.

As for the word “coffee”, there are a lot of misunderstandings. The genus of the word is always fluctuated, and, moreover, in the beginning of XX century it was considered preferable neuter. In some manuals onn language the masculine is even considered erroneous. But after the revolution, decided that the only right should be masculine. With that, if we look in the dictionary Ushakov mid 1930-ies, we will see that coffee is masculine, but let’s say and average. That is exactly what is written in modern dictionaries. If we turn to Nabokov, Gazdanov, and other writers-emigrants, we can see that they have in the works for a very long time coffee remained neuter.

Now the situation is roughly as follows: is the pressure of the language system, of course, the word in-o-e “wants” to be neuter, like “subway”, for example, or “coat”, which was masculine, and moved to the middle. So no, it is not perceived this transition as a cultural disaster, but in the case of coffee in some point noticed it and it has become such a shibboleth. But the main dictionaries and allow the average, although, of course, nobody forbids coffee masculine, which is still preferred.

Often, dictionaries are forced to accept the norm, some variant when it becomes completely accepted and to resist it is impossible. This happened, for example, with the word “prevail over”, which is now often used to mean “to press”: “Monument dominates the square.” Although the word “prevail” means “to be sufficient” and related words “self-sufficient”, that is self-sufficient, but the confusion with the word “crush” is found almost from the XVIII century, and the “incorrect” use dictionaries have long been recognized. Purists, connoisseurs of the subtleties of the language, who understand what the word kinship, don’t use it. But the words approved by the dictionaries, not to love and not to use it.

The second thing that seems to have to do a new Commission, the requirements to dictionaries and grammar. As I understand it, it is this: there are a huge number of dictionaries, reference books on then language, which are often contradictory, and many of them are low quality, contain errors. In addition, the reprinted some older dictionaries. In short, there is inconsistency. And from time to time there are attempts to regulate this situation through recommendations. That is, you need to select from this array of dictionaries, those that adequately describe the rules of then language. A few years ago there was such an order of the Ministry of education, which was a list of dictionaries, by the way, is quite good. Now, as I understand it, has a wide range of dictionaries, and publishers might hope to obtain such a stamp, the recommendation of the Commission.

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