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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« New Source of News | Main | Three Free Papers Worth Reading »

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gameswithwords

Thanks for the synopsis of this article. I read the BBS article some time back but haven't gotten through all the commentaries. Did it really cause an uproar? My lab read it with some interest, but I don't recall it causing an uproar ... or really convincing anyone, either.

I recall one of the issues in that paper being a focus on rare, poorly-described languages. Language description is hard. Despite thousands of studies and thousands of native-speaking researchers that have worked on English, there is a lot about English that is still not fully understood and a lot of mischaracterizations have been made along the way.

Therefore evidence from a language that has been studied by at best one or two non-native speakers is highly suspect. It would not be the first time the characterization of such a language was deeply wrong (I have some nice examples around somewhere, but not at the tips of my fingers).

Where I'm going is that not all evidence is created equal. Some is more believable than others. So when you have a solid theory supported by a lot of solid data but happens to clash with some fairly weak data, it's not clear that you should keep the weak data and toss out the theory.

I went through some of these issues here as well.

Jerry

Don't you think, that many researchers are trying helplessly to derive Language Universals from Speech practices by simply miss-presenting paradigm of Language as Speech?
Language is 1 or 1.5 million years older then any its Speech manifestation. Speech practice is only 50 - 45,000 old. Those entities are not the same as they viewed by C-and D- ppl.
Why do not consider third position:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/papers/browse-papers-action.cfm?PaperID=31640

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