Hesitant...The happiest days of my life were those studying linguistics; don't understand focus on p
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Now, when I look at my shelves of grammar, linguistic, and etymology references, I let myself simply delight in discovering new things about the language. I listen to podcasts that delight in the development of language--A Way with Words, podictionary, Grammar Girl. I peruse Wikipedia and sometimes even Urban Dictionary to see what new words and phrases are catching on.
That's not to say that I don't still have a pet peeve or two. But, I no longer let those pet peeves get in the way of allowing English room to grow and be a living language.
*pun of sorts: playing harp and singing, mostly
Hardly. It's time for people who use this board to ask specific questions of English grammar to realize how badly they misconstrue the field of linguistics. But I think the general public has always had this problem.
PS--If you're not already a reader of Language Log, you should be.
So when I retired, I wrote the book I'd been thinking about for 20 years, about a woman who shows up at an observatory speaking an extinct Indo-European language, warning of imminent disaster to the planet. They tossed her out, thinking she was crazy, and the story of her struggle to convince people of the truth involved a certain amount of linguistic history. It was great fun. (If you're curious, you can check out Distant Cousin, or is that Distant Cousin. I see Distant Cousin: Repatriation has loaded as a link, but that's the second book. The first one is simply Distant Cousin. It proved so popular that now there are three, the third being Distant Cousin: Reincarnation. (A fourth is in the works.)
Anyway, yes, the disorder of English has always charmed me. That's why my main character is ever remarking on it, and trying to learn it. You might too, if you were from another planet.
As an aside, may I just say I am in awe of how many of you possess degrees in linguistics? I'm just starting my college's introductory course in the next week.
I just wish a local college had an available introductory course. (I took one in 1987 but let's just say I need a refresher.)
Houston has a zillion colleges that don't teach linguistics. The one university that does teach it is Rice University -- they have an entire linguistics program -- and they do not encourage part-time study. It's more of a traditional four-year, full-time school (plus grad work, of course).
I haven't posted before, (just read everything) but this describes me quite well, though I would have to make it plural (languages). I do have a degree in linguistics, only a BA, from many years ago, and I went to three different universities in two countries to get it. Given where I live, I pretty much HAVE to speak/read Hebrew, and for years I have had French-speaking neighbors who have made sure I haven't forgotten ALL of my highschool French, so there is plenty of diversity to be interested in--puns in a combination of three languages, anyone?
Maybe I need to move to Israel for a few months at least to finally make some progress in Hebrew. Not going to happen, I'm afraid. Maybe I should just be working trhout a few more verses of Genesis instead of writting messages here.
It would be a bummer if you had to actually purchase Distant Cousin, though Amazon would be happy to sell it to you. It's a handsome volume and there's a face hidden on the cover. (There are a couple new, neat reviews for it there, worth a look even if you don't plan to get the book.) If you happen to have a Kindle, it's only $4, or maybe a library will order it for you if you ask nicely.
I hope I haven't oversold it linguistics-wise. That underlies the story, but the story is an adventure/romance with a frosting of science fiction, since the main character comes from another planet. Otherwise, she's a normal human, pretty much. It's fun. If you don't like it, I'll buy it back from you!
I like bilingual puns too, in English and Spanish. I even know one in French and Spanish, but as someone observed, not a lot of Americans, anyway, can appreciate them. Bummer! Help fight monolingualism!
By the way, public TV will show a documentary on Feb. 26 called "The Linguists." Google it for reviews. It sounds good.
Thanks for the heads up on the TV program; I'll have to find it.
Monolingualism is stultifying for the brain!! 8-)
I also widened my search for Distant Cousin. There doesn't seem to be a copy in either Wisconsin or Minnesota, and only a sequel is available from an on-line bookstore.
I don't blame anyone reluctant to order one in Europe. I know of a couple readers in France and Italy, and at least one in Australia, though. There are a couple excerpts and reviews at http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewwork.asp?AuthorID=48424&id=23167, for those interested. Again: this is not an exercise in linguistics. It's beach reading, or airport reading, that's somewhat informed by linguistics, OK?
By the way, the Kindle is not backlit. It's as easy to read as paper, and you can't see it in the dark. Plus, you can change font size easily. Distant Cousin is $4 for Kindle!
I just wanted to thank you for recommending A Way With Words. I've been listening to it practically non-stop this week. I love it!
The listing is too new to have any reviews, but you can check Amazon for reviews if you like, or, get this: read 40% of the book for free. Talk about a new frontier!
I repeat the earlier caveat: these are light-hearted, recreational stories with something for almost everyone that are somewhat informed by reasonably accurate linguistics, OK?
So... I think I dimly remember that Luwian was a neighbor of Hittite? Any hints as to where the philological investigations are heading??
And BTW a more casual take on extracted/preserved languages is found in Pournelle's Janisseries, where some bits of Archaic or Minoan Greek are purportedly displayed.
I enjoyed the writing, thanks!