This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← Cassini

Pete H's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Pete H

For youse guys afflicted with pedantic linguism, relief can be found in John McWhorter’s audio lectures for The Teaching Company: “The Story of Language”.

You’ll also find it interesting from the perspective of applied evolutionary theory and understanding human development and the global spread of civilisation. Having read McWhorter I am now comfortable in using this information to annoy my kids. Like correcting their inappropriate use of abandoned and virtually extinct expressions. Eg. ‘going to’ when ‘gonna’ is the prevailing word, and the need to not never miss no opportunities to emphasise by multiple negatives.

There’s a time to flow with the changes and a time for precision in language. You need to be aware of the inevitable rapid flow of language to even notice when precision is prudent. The Mars Climate Orbiter was effectively destroyed by the shared assumption that language is static and universal.

Thu, 06 Nov 2008 17:08:00 UTC | #266244