Prescription (linguistics)

In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules of the language. This is in contrast to description of language, which has no normative component. For example, a descriptive linguist working in English will try to describe the usage, distribution, and history of "ain't" and "h-dropping" neutrally, without judging them as good or bad, superior or inferior. A prescriptivist (one who is prescriptive), on the other hand, will judge whether or not these forms meet some criterion of intelligence, rationality, aesthetics, or conformity to a standard dialect, and, if not, will condemn them, prescribing that they not be used.

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