> work that has actually been done on the history of the
> English language may convince those that know nothing about
> the subjects Harper covers, but those that do know anything
> about them will realise how fragile his arguments are.
Here Doug asserts that only the ignorant could be convinced by Harper's argument. This is a typical tactic of desperation: identifying a specified hypothesis as the domain of the stupid makes many eshew its consideration, fearful of being identified as such. Indeed, no more potent force of social control was ever devised than the fear of being seen as "stupid" -- it is a far more effective means of thought control than even imprisonment and torture (and certainly more cost-effective). Sad, but the fear of being thought dumb, makes many "thought-dumb."
If Doug's specific claim in this case however is true, then we must conclude that Harper is either ignorant himself, or disingenuous in proposing his simplified model of the the origins of the English language. Personally, I think it quite possible that inteligence and education are not limited to either side in this debate (though Doug's behaviour here has admittedly tipped the scales of human decency in our favour).
> Do you actually know what influence Latin had on the spoken language?
When do you propose Latin influenced English? When the English we speaking "Gaelic?"
The Romans conquered a supposedly Celtic people speaking, supposedly, a "Celtic" language. How is it that the Latin influence upon this "Celtic" tonge was maintained in English, despite the extermination of the "Celtic" root?
If latin did not influence the English via the Celtic intermediary, then its influence must have come through Catholic liturgical imprint or via a Latinized volgate such as French. Which is it?
> Orthodoxy says that English was influenced not just by
> Anglo-Saxon but also by the Norse/Danish and Scandinavian
Orthodoxy does NOT say that. Orthodoxy says that English is Anglo-Saxon influenced by Norse/Danish/French/Latin. That's why they call Anglo-Saxon Old English -- or didn't you get that memo?
The Orthodox recipe is not based in the Celts and their mysterious Celtic language, it is based in the Saxon "Germanic" tounge. The chefs mix in a spoonful of Dane, a half-cup of of French, and a pinch of Latin, pop the works in the oven and....well no need to wait around for it to bake....we have here a cake of "English" prepared earlier, just for the show!
> Harper admits his is a work of assertion.
That is a detriment?
> He fails to describe the 'orthodox' positins accurately and
> sets up strawmen.
I think that certainly qualifies as an "assertion," and an unsupported one at that.
Could you please put a name to the "straw men" involved please?
> The experience of England after Roman rule collapsed
> was unique, and Harper glosses over this.
I would say that this is his whole point -- that the experience of England after Roman rule it is alledged, nay, required by Orthodoxy to be unique, yet little about this period is, in fact, that different than what went on many other times in many other places without producing anything like the alledged results.
I must remind you that English does not have its roots in the Roman withdrawl from Celtic Britian. It has its roots in a Germanic invasion that occured long after the Roman's left the countryside to those fur-skin wearing barbarians of ill-repute. Beowulf was not composed in "Brythonic" -- nor anything that remotely resembles it. It was written in Anglo-Saxon -- also known as "Old English."
You have completely ignored the challenge to demonstrate how Harper's simple and elegant model is inconsistant with the known facts. Until you do that, you have nothing. The ball remains in his court.