Prescriptivists: - guardians of the language, maintain established order.
Descriptivists: -believe language evolves,incorporate new idioms.
Prescriptivist: What should English be like and how should we use it?
Descriptivist: What is English like and how do we use it?
Pros and Cons of being a Prescriptivist.
Pros: Can reduce ambiguity and confusion, creates a foundation for teaching language, provides structure and direction.
Cons: Can create an illusion of unattainable "purity", arbitrary caste system, inflexible, inhibitive, intolerant.
Do we have to choose one or the other
Choosing the one over the other would be a mistake, because it's ignoring the possible pros of each side and eliminating the possibility of a happy medium.
A book that can inform you about prescriptive and descriptive approach and a lot more
This image shows how social and economic conditions influenced scholarly and popular attitudes to the English language