Friday, December 21, 2007

Disallow‘Students of a girls’ school go into a rant over their principal’s decision to disallow visit by an American boyband’ (subhead, Sunday Times, 4 November 2007).

Sunday Times, 2 December 2007

Sunday Times, 2 December 2007

In Singapore English, the opposite of allow is disallow. (And why not, since the opposite of agree is disagree?)

In Standard English, however, the word disallow is used when a referee refuses to let a goal stand, or when an appeal or objection to authority is rejected (see Singapore English in a Nutshell by Adam Brown).

10 comments:

Gillian said...

Gosh! And I just used that word on my blog...

The Grammar Terrorist said...

That's one of the many things I learnt from Adam Brown's book too!

It's important as a teacher to know the differences between Standard English and Singapore English, but that doesn't, of course, imply that Singapore English is inferior. In fact, the use of 'disallow' in the SgE sense shows how logical it can be!

Anonymous said...

that's weird considering the OED does list "To refuse to allow or permit; to forbid the use of, to prohibit" as one of the meanings of disallow.

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Many thanks. Yes, the OED does indeed list that definition, but it is an obsolete one (the last citation being from 1854).

Strikingly, the Oxford Advanced Learner's gives only one current definition: 'to officially refuse to accept [something] because it is not valid'. So do comparable dictionaries from Cambridge, Longman, Macmillan and Cobuild.

CresceNet said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my site, it is about the CresceNet, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . A hug.

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Thanks, CresceNet! Looks like I have to learn some Portuguese before I read your website ;--) All the very best to you.

Ken (Gil's Cousin) said...

*KOW-TOWs*

Please update and satisfy the cravings of this avid and faithful reader! Cheers.

Ken

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Hi, Ken!

Haha, will do soon, thanks. Been too busy...

Vinodh said...

Dear GT,

By the same token, take a look at page B9, Straits Times, 11 September 2008: "Students enact play to tackle conservation".

If "to act" means to perform and "to reenact" means to perform again (almost), then "enact" must mean to perform for the first time!

Cheers,
Vinodh

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Good to hear from you again, Vinodh.

Hmm, I missed that -- will have another look at today's paper when I get home. Thanks!