Archive for November, 2009

11
Nov
09

Orthography Is Not Speech

First of all, I’ve got my logo up; not too bad for an amatueur, I think. Now, on to actual content!


Let me just say that I read a lot of amateur fiction. I know, the whole world is laughing at me now, but just hear me out. A lot of it is really good, and some of it I wish could get published professionally. Now, a lot of it can’t be because it’s fanfiction (copyright laws and all, although I think some people who write in collective universes like the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which is essentially professional fanfiction, should be able to get some of their ideas out there), or because the medium precludes such considerations (Stefan Gagne’s Sailor Nothing is one example: most of it might work if the publisher were willing to spend enough on formatting, but chapter 7 wouldn’t work at all). However, I’ve noticed some things that people are doing that have become pet peeves for me.

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09
Nov
09

Diachronic or Synchronic?

I love my linguistics classes, I really do. They’re fun and informative, and I’m convinced that having a grounding in modern linguistics will enable me to make connections the old guard never could in ancient languages. (I already have some arguments with some of my textbooks based upon what we now know about language in general as opposed to what a native speaker of English can guess based upon ancient evidence.) My only complaint is that modern linguists seem to think of historical linguistics as a quaint curiosity at best, and utter rubbish at worst. Even that wouldn’t be so bad if their concern was people’s tendency to think of historical linguistics when they think of linguistics at all (because it’s entirely true that historical linguistics is a discipline of the humanities, whereas modern linguistics is a burgeoning science), but they attempt to impose their methods upon historical languages, which is problematic at best. As my Linguistics of Signed Languages teacher was wont to say, “Linguistics is not the study of language, but of how the mind processes and produces language;” however, we don’t have any ancient minds to study, besides which we are more interested in figuring out how languages came to be as they are, since that is the only way we have to reconstruct even older, less complete languages.

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