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For serious discussion of the controversies, approaches and enigmas surrounding the origins and development of the human species and of human civilization. (NB: for more ‘out there’ posts we point you in the direction of the ‘Paranormal & Supernatural’ Message Board). 
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> ...accurate or precise... inaccuracies... inaccurate and imprecise...
> precise... imprecise... precise... precise... accurate... precise...

This is simply not the level of precision Harper is talking about.

There is a Family Resemblance relationship between all English speakers. There is no one thing that all English speakers have in common. They are all slightly different, but all basically the same. Each person overlaps with other people. The differences can even change for each individual.

But English speakers are nevertheless all clumped together in a group that is close to, but distinct from, say, German; and both of those are very far removed from Japanese, for instance. (There are Family Resemblances between whole languages, too.)

We're not talking about the micro-level differences; we're talking about the macro-level differences.

Linguists wouldn't have jobs if they didn't recognise this difference because the micro-level is, by definition, not fixed long enough to describe or study. When they do talk about the history of the language over, say, a few centuries, they talk about THE language, not a string of languages.

> > So if I wrote a book that put forward the proposition that
> > Shakespeare spoke English and that I spoke English and that
> > therefore we both spoke the same language, I would be taken
> > aback if critics argued
> Be thou then taken aback.

You've got the wrong end of the stick here. The 4 points that follow are "All arguments advanced in opposition to my [Harper's] thesis." Harper didn't say the things you argued with.

Actually, you've proved the case yourself because "be thou then taken aback" is old-fashioned, not foreign!

> This is the root cause of language change over time, meaning
> from generation to generation.

But natural languages are self-regulating systems. They exist as the shared practices of the community of users. Despite being invented by human beings and operating by agreement/convention, they are objective social/cultural conditions for every individual. You are not free to do whatever you like and still be speaking the language. (You are fee to do some things your way.) You can only understand or misunderstand parts of your own language because there is an objective fact of the matter, a correct meaning or grammar. Languages are highly stable because what each person learns is what went before. It's no coincidence that the language we use instinctively is understood by the people around us.

> It is true that the majority of historians and even linguists
> believe that English is derived from Anglo-Saxon and that the
> language changed drastically between 1100 AD and 1400 AD, but
> they do so in spite of orthodox linguistic theory
> which, more in line with what you maintain, claims that
> languages don't change that drastically in such a short time.

It sounds like you're not really arguing at all then. But what's their excuse? They must be wrestling with a faulty paradigm - that has already blinded them.

> On the other hand, no linguist or historian (or at least no
> respected ones I know of) claim that the various Romance
> languages including French developed from Latin...
> ...Latin generally not considered a Romance language.

Then why is my dictionary chock full of etymologies citing Latin then French as precursors?

>'s learning it as a child when the change occurs

That's funny, because my son has picked up the patter of his chosen peer group, but as a child spoke the way he was taught.

> As time goes on, their descendants will understand less
> and less of it because their mommies were not your mommy
> and their mommies never taught them a "dead" langauge.

But how long will that take, bearing in mind that (as we have just seen) Chaucer is not that hard to read? (I find the fact that it is poetry to be the biggest hurdle, not the English he uses.)


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Subject Views Written By Posted
AOM: Anomoly One 148 AOM-Presenter 03-Apr-03 16:39
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 82 jameske 03-Apr-03 20:02
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 82 Doug 03-Apr-03 22:44
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 109 M J Harper 03-Apr-03 23:39
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 82 Nobody 04-Apr-03 00:16
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 80 M J Harper 04-Apr-03 00:29
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 109 Nobody 04-Apr-03 01:07
Cymri 218 nonconformist 04-Apr-03 04:59
Re: AOM: Anomaly One 96 nonconformist 04-Apr-03 03:31
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 102 M J Harper 04-Apr-03 04:17
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 112 nonconformist 04-Apr-03 05:20
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 95 Doug 04-Apr-03 06:47
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 127 HectorChico 04-Apr-03 10:26
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 101 M J Harper 04-Apr-03 12:56
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 116 DPCrisp 04-Apr-03 13:27
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 110 HectorChico 04-Apr-03 14:58
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 114 M J Harper 04-Apr-03 16:30
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 73 AOM-Presenter 04-Apr-03 16:31
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 136 nonconformist 05-Apr-03 02:15
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 123 AOM-Presenter 05-Apr-03 04:57
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 137 nonconformist 05-Apr-03 08:56
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 120 M J Harper 07-Apr-03 02:24
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 100 nonconformist 07-Apr-03 07:17
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 111 AOM-Presenter 07-Apr-03 15:00
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 77 nonconformist 08-Apr-03 00:27
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 105 M J Harper 08-Apr-03 01:01
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 119 nonconformist 08-Apr-03 03:50
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 98 DPCrisp 08-Apr-03 13:52
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 67 M J Harper 08-Apr-03 15:05
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 105 nonconformist 10-Apr-03 02:10
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 159 stickler 10-Apr-03 10:09
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 103 DPCrisp 10-Apr-03 10:59
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 91 stickler 10-Apr-03 12:32
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 121 AOM-Presenter 10-Apr-03 16:01
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 126 DPCrisp 10-Apr-03 16:47
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 124 stickler 10-Apr-03 17:26
Spellinge 120 AOM-Presenter 10-Apr-03 15:41
Re: Spellinge 108 stickler 10-Apr-03 15:50
Pronounciation 107 AOM-Presenter 10-Apr-03 16:19
Re: Pronounciation 113 stickler 10-Apr-03 17:33
Re: Pronounciation 111 AOM-Presenter 10-Apr-03 18:35
Re: Pronounciation 133 DPCrisp 11-Apr-03 09:39
Re: Spellinge 92 DPCrisp 10-Apr-03 16:34
Re: Spellinge 134 stickler 10-Apr-03 17:34
Re: Spellinge 116 DPCrisp 11-Apr-03 09:47
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 109 M J Harper 10-Apr-03 14:29
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 110 AOM-Presenter 10-Apr-03 15:16
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 96 DPCrisp 11-Apr-03 11:35
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 94 nonconformist 11-Apr-03 22:19
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 113 nonconformist 11-Apr-03 22:33
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 96 Doug 12-Apr-03 08:21
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 87 Doug 08-Apr-03 17:20
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 106 M J Harper 08-Apr-03 18:10
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 92 Doug 08-Apr-03 21:23
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 86 M J Harper 08-Apr-03 22:23
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 109 M J Harper 10-Apr-03 14:10
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 90 stickler 10-Apr-03 15:39
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 85 M J Harper 10-Apr-03 16:30
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 113 stickler 10-Apr-03 17:52
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 84 M J Harper 11-Apr-03 22:37
Re: AOM: Anomoly One 114 nonconformist 12-Apr-03 03:46

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