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Linguistics occupies a secure place in universities. Like other scientists, linguists ignore criticisms from outside the discipline. But what if linguistics is not really a science? and what if criticisms of linguistics are necessary for clarity of thought about language?
Mark Halpern is able to look at linguistics and lexicography as an intelligent student of language not committed to the orthodoxy of university Linguistics, or to the lexicography of descriptive observation.
He challenges the basic Chomskyan doctrines of Universal Grammar and the Language Acquisition Device supposed to be in the brain of any normal baby. This frees him to offer a better outline of how it is possible for toddlers to achieve an intellectual feat unavailable to grown-ups—to begin to talk without being taught.
And he has speculations about the origins of language much more convincing than the guesses made within orthodox linguistics.
A long and lively chapter defends Prescriptivism especially in dictionaries, and shows how when dictionaries only report usage and shun correctness they become incoherent as well as useless.
This book can give the common reader a better idea than the university Linguistics departments of what the study of language ought to be like, and it may show any open-minded university linguist the need for reform.
''Halpern is a linguistic contrarian—a critical thinker who hits hard at the soft underbelly of modern linguistics. Although he'll make you cringe at times, he'll always make you think.''—Bryan A. Garner, author of Garner's Modern English Usage
Mark Halpern has been a computer programmer and software designer, a teacher of English, a soldier, and an editor. He has degrees from City College of New York and Columbia University, but has never taken a course in either linguistics or psychology. (Should a critic retort, 'And it shows!', he will agree—while meaning the reverse of what the critic does.)
British Values, British Chaos
Constantine and Christian Society
Marks of Medieval Christendom
Reformed England as a Christian Society
The Constantine Knot Untied
The Christendom Manifesto
Though it is addressed to the Prayer Book Society this book is of interest to anybody concerned for our common good. How can the United Kingdom have an identity or character worth having? What could make it loveable? Why might national independence not be disastrous?
The questions have particular urgency during the melancholy long withdrawing roar of ‘Brexit’. Mr Robinson shows why the efforts to answer them by the British establishment (including the bishops) are hopeless and gives some answers of his own, culminating in a political manifesto.
The book can be a provocation to thought especially by the majority who may be expected to disagree.
“penetrating . . . frequently hilarious”—Peter Mullen in The Salisbury Review
This book is distributed for the author by Brynmill Press.