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Profile: Chessapprentice
User Name: Chessapprentice
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: Male
Joined: Friday, October 23, 2009
Last Visit: Monday, March 2, 2015 9:46:54 PM
Number of Posts: 52
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: that vs. what
Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 4:42:10 PM
PS. I would like very much to be able to use "what" as a relative pronoun and other features of "street talk". But unfortunately, they only teach standard English in school. Furthermore, I would have to belong to these groups to be a legitimate user of their varieties.
Topic: that vs. what
Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 4:36:35 PM
All right, lights, you're right when you say that the selfsame person that uses "what" as a relative pronoun is not likely to make the same choice in a moral formal situation. Otherwise, they could indeed be considered uneducated by most people, since this grammatical feature occurs mainly in lesser-educated speech, but not only. You were precise when you mentioned that this way of speaking is more commonly found in street talk--this is actually a well-known stereotype. This is the point I was trying to make. Both "that" and "what" functioning as relative pronouns are possibilities allowed by the inner linguistic system of the English language--forget about traditional grammar when I say that. The question regarding why one is preferred over another has nothing to do with one being correct and the other wrong. This choice is conditioned by historical and socioeconomic reasons--that is, what are the varieties used by the middle class. These varieties will be considered correct simply because they are the ones used by those with more power in society. If you analyze it with an open mind, you'll notice that the sentence "It's the poor what gets the blame" has the same effectiveness as "It's the poor who gets the blame" does--it gets its meaning across. In fact, the grammatical feature you called "bad English" is very common in other languages, as a speaker of any romance language knows--in Spanish, for example, the word "que" is both a relative pronoun as well the equivalent of "what" in standard English. The French, however, being more logical (since you like stereotypes) have specialized the uses of the word: "que" for "what", and "qui" for "that, who". Therefore, if we were to take your remarks to the extreme, we would have to consider all Romance languages incorrect, illogical tongues, all spoken by not very bright people.
Topic: that vs. what
Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 11:06:05 AM
And lights, I suggest you take a look at this article, on page 18:, and realize there's much more to this issue than just "bad English". However, as the table there shows, backed by sociolinguistic research, that feature seems to have been receding lately from both Southern American English and AAVE.
Topic: that vs. what
Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 10:58:32 AM
nima_persian, you should use the first sentence, but the second does exit, and they mean the same.
Topic: that vs. what
Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 10:50:37 AM
Why, lights, what's the surprise? I'm not even a native speaker of English, and, notwithstanding, have come across this usage quite a few times. It's just the way people talk. Tune in your ears.
Topic: that vs. what
Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 10:22:00 AM
As a matter of fact, "what" is commonly used as a relative pronoun in many nonstandard varieties of English, as one can easily confirm by taking a look at the definition of the word on this very website: (def. 4). However, this usage is unacceptable to traditional grammar.
Topic: 'whom or who'
Posted: Friday, April 8, 2011 1:45:13 PM
I think traditional grammar would require "whom". But the use of "who" as an objective is now very common, even in formal writing, and so shouldn't be considered wrong.
Topic: What does "party sing" means?
Posted: Monday, January 10, 2011 12:43:49 PM
Yeah, you're right! It just makes much more sense. Thank you so much!

That was said by Liz Murray when describing her hippie parents lifestyle.
Topic: What does "party sing" means?
Posted: Sunday, January 9, 2011 3:02:49 PM
"They've kind of done the New York City party sing thing."

I suppose that it should be written "party-sing", like a single word.

But what particular side of New York would be that?
Topic: Gone Missing
Posted: Friday, December 10, 2010 10:41:28 PM
Well, that's the marketing logic. They do not mind of getting ridiculous to achieve their profit, as by using stereotypes (as if someone would buy a perfume because its ad has a girl with a French affected accent. No, we want good perfumes before everything!). Here in Brazil we've got some English words being ridiculously used by traders.

On the "gone missing" issue: