klriley at alphalink.com.au
Thu Aug 25 07:58:30 EDT 2005
From: Read, James C
Just an observation as a passive listener.
I come from a highly scientific background and as such have always been
base understanding on observations and proofs.
I haven't studied this particular word enough to have formulated an opinion
but one thing I will say is that Karl's words below are irrefiutable.
Having grown up with such a family Karl will have experienced firsthand the
limitations of 'experts'. 'Expertise' is often a description bestowed upon a
because of position or affluence.
e.g. My English students often used to tell me that I spoke 'bad English'.
I used to say 'I'll' or 'I will' whereas their schooling had taught them
that first person
singular demands 'I shall'. What was this based on? Grammars written
hundreds of years ago by
elite minorities from Cambridge or Oxford. Who gives such a minority the
right to represent
what is correct English? Having always heard 'I'll go' it seemed natural
English to me and
to countless other English people I know. But according to a handful of
the rest of the English speaking world is apparently wrong. And just because
its written in an
'authoritive book' they have manages to convince a large number of foreign
English students that
their English is better than my own. What kind of a linguistic system is
Recourse to scholars usually indicates a lack of ability to support one's
position from data
alone. And IMNSHO all discussion on this list should be based on data alone
if it is to be
Based on observation alone, for most of the recorded history of English most
people have distinguished between shall and will, mainly because they had
different meanings and logic dictated that I shall was more correct if mere
futurity was intended as it conveyed the idea intended. That has now broken
down in many parts of the English speaking world. That is partly because of
the contraction of both shall and will to 'll. But if you want to
distinguish between shall and will, how else do you do it? Those who
continue to do so are not wrong, nor is their view arbitrary. I think what
it does do is argue against the idea that words are in any way fixed in
their meaning, either diachronically or synchronically. There are flaws and
limitations in 'experts', but ignoring those said 'experts' in no way
increases the chances of coming to a correct conclusion. And when it comes
to Hebrew [and many other areas] the experts are recognised as such because
of their knowledge of the data, not because of their position or influence.
Experts are not infallible, but I see no reason why I should spend years of
my life studying the data to come to the same conclusion they do when a few
hours of reading and research is enough to discover that the data basically
supports their conclusions and then I can move on to studying things we don
t already know. Or perhaps that theory only works in social science and the
field of Hebrew works to different logic.
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