• Language,  Philosophy of Linguistics

    The Logical Problem of Language Acquisition

    In a recent interview, linguist, Noam Chomsky, repeated his claim that there must be some innate feature of human beings that makes it possible for them to acquire natural languages: “No one holds that the rules of language are innate. Rather, the faculty of language has a crucial genetic component. If that were not true, it would be a miracle that children acquire a language. That is obvious from the first moment of birth, when the child begins to pick out linguistically relevant information from the noisy environment, then following a predictable course of acquisition which, demonstrably, goes far beyond the evidence available, from the simplest words on to complex…

  • Apologetics,  Language,  Philosophy of Linguistics

    From Sentences to God

    From a very young age, we can recognize the quality of sentences. We evaluate sentences according to some standard, some criteria of good, bad, better, or worse. If God created the world then it is likely that he would endow human beings with some way to recognize good and bad sentences according to some standard. One might think that this would entail that human beings know what makes sentences good or bad. But recognition of the value of an entity does not entail knowing what makes it valuable. This is true of good and bad actions as much as it is true of good or bad sentences. One might not…

  • Ethics,  Language,  Philosophy of Linguistics

    Sentence Conscience?

    In Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, Williams and Bizup present several pairs of sentences and invite the reader to consider which of the two he prefers. Here is an example: A: Once upon a time, as a walk through the woods was taking place on the part of Little Red Riding Hood, the Wolf’s jump out from behind a tree occurred, causing her fright. B: Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood was walking through the woods, when the wolf jumped out from behind a tree and frightened her. B is clearly better than A even though both sentences are, strictly speaking, grammatically correct. What is interesting is how…

  • Jesus Christ,  Language

    Why Jesus?

    In Greek, Jesus is Ἰησοῦς (pronounced, ee-ay-sooce). In early Latin an i could be used either as a vowel (short or long) or as a consonant (as a y). Thus, the Latin, Iēsus, was pronounced yay-sus. In medievil Latin, the letter j was used to replace i‘s that where being used as consonants. The j was pronounced as a y. Hence, in modern Spanish, ‘Jesus’ is still pronounced Yay-sooce. In English, however, the j was hardened and, consequently, ‘Jesus’ is pronounced Gee-sus.

  • Ethics,  Language,  Philosophy of Language


    My paper can no more make an argument than my computer can hope for a Cubs win. People write papers and in those papers people express propositions in sentences that constitute arguments. ‘I’ is the first person pronoun and I use it to refer to myself, the person writing the paper. If I want to tell you something I am going to do in my paper, I will tell you that I will be the one doing it: “In this paper, I will argue…” ‘One’ is a personal pronoun referring to anyone to which some property or other might apply. If I say, ‘one might argue ~q’, I am referring to…

  • Language

    Help? No Thanks

    I sometimes receive comments on my blog offering to help me with my writing. The funny thing is that all of them are poorly written. They all begin with flattery and conclude with an offer. This one is perhaps the best yet: Actually wonderful publish, i am satisfied to be here. thanks for sharing This know-how.Excellently written article, online custom essay writing service if simplest all bloggers offered the same stage of content as you, the internet might be a miles better location

  • Education,  Language,  Philosophy of Education,  Philosophy of Language

    Grammar and Normativity

    In Chapter 2 of Gwynne’s Grammar, Nevile Gwynne claims that happiness is partly dependent upon good grammar: “If we don’t use words rightly, we shall not think rightly” “If we do not think rightly, we cannot reliably decide rightly, because good decisions depend on accurate thinking” “If we do not decide rightly, we shall make a mess of our lives and also of other people’s lives to the extent that we have an influence on other people” “If we make a mess of our lives, we shall make ourselves and other people unhappy” Therefore, “Happiness depends at least partly on good grammar” Premise (1) suggests that good grammar is the…

  • English,  Language

    How to Use ‘That’ and ‘Which’

    Today, my family were discussing the difference between which and that. I looked it up in Strictly English by Simon Heffer. We found it very helpful. This is what he says: Perhaps the most common mistake of all with pronominal usages is the misuse of which and that as relative pronouns. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that almost everyone believes they are in most contexts interchangeable. They are not. The two sentences “the dog that was run over belonged to Mrs Smith” and “the dog, which was run over, belonged to Mrs Smith” say different things in two quite different ways. The first suggests that there were…