The key difference between prescriptivism and descriptivism is that prescriptivism is an approach that attempts to impose rules of correct usage on the users of a language whereas descriptivism is an approach that analyses the actual language used by speakers without focusing on aspects such as language rules or proper usage.
Prescriptivism and descriptivism are two contrasting approaches to language usage and grammar. Prescriptivism explains how language should be used whereas descriptivism describes how language is actually used.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Prescriptivism
3. What is Descriptivism
4. Relationship Between Prescriptivism and Descriptivism
5. Side by Side Comparison – Prescriptivism vs Descriptivism in Tabular Form
What is Prescriptivism
Prescriptivism is the belief that there are correct and wrong ways to use language. That is; in fact, an attempt to lay down rules defining the correct usage of language. In other words, prescriptivism explains how a speaker should use the language. Thus, grammar is a key aspect of prescriptivism. Some other major linguistic aspects addressed by prescriptivism are pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, syntax, and semantics. Dictionaries, style and usage guides, writing handbooks, etc. are some texts that aid prescriptivism.