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Matters Arising (The History of Britain Revealed)
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Mick Harper
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On the question of loanwords in English (page 95): the vast majority of them cluster in the non-basic vocabulary; the basic vocabulary contains only about 7% loanwords, some from French and some from Old Norse.

Here we have three bogus lists.

1) They have singled out English i.e. a list of one, instead of providing a number of comparable languages so the reader can judge what is normal and what is abnormal when it comes to loanwords. Needless to say, English is off the scale.

2) They have offered us a list of two when it comes to vocabularies, basic and non-basic. Why not many? Why not none? Because 'none' would revel it is 30% or so -- just as I say and which is off the scale. 'Many' would reveal the arbitrary nature of the division. But 'basic' allows them to say "only about 7%". Actually that is also off the scale since most languages use loanwords for technical items. Their basic words are all their own.

3) "Some from French and some from Old Norse." So, a list of two. Is that normal for loanwords? We shall never know, see above. Or might it be because England was occupied by Danes and Normans? Or, just possibly, is it because, as I say in THOBR, that English maps to 30% Romance and 70% Germanic and no linguist in the world can say precisely what is French/Old Norse and what is Romance/Germanic?

By the way, the poor old linguists can't say the British got their 'Romance' loanwords from source, the Romans, because the poor old linguists are stuck with the British speaking the language of the Anglo-Saxon who weren't ever in the Roman Empire. On the other hand you might say the French have loaned 100% of their language from the Romans. You have to feel sorry for linguists at some level.
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Mick Harper
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All right, I know, enough. Enough! I'll end with one baffler and then not me but them.

There are also problems with Harper’s reasoning. For instance, on the relationship between the origin of a language and its first date of attestation (page 92): the fact that Latin is not recorded until the first millennium BCE does not mean that it did not exist until then, any more than the fact that Navajo was not written until after European contact means that the language itself sprang into existence

I'll have to remember that. In fact I'd better write it down. Language doesn't spring into life when white man speaks with forked tongue. Though to be fair to this white man, since I claim Latin is an artificial language developed for writing the Lazio dialect of Italian, its first attestation would be precisely the date of its origin. But overall do I have much of a chance against people of this calibre?

Historical linguistics, in roughly its modern form, was developed in the nineteenth century. Darwin drew on our methods and results in The Descent of Man, and the anthropologists’ cladistic approach is again based on our methods. We'd best cast our gimlets on these as well then. The comparative method used by historical linguists is powerful and reliable, as shown by tests of various kinds send s.a.e. and it applies equally well to written and unwritten languages. Why, is there a difference? You haven't said and it's kinda important since unwritten represents 99% of all languages and it's only the one per cent you can actually study with any great certainty.

Using this and other extremely successful methods, send s.a.e. historical linguists have established dozens of language families all over the world, Why are there no independent verifications from statisticians?, reconstructed sizable chunks of undocumented parent languages You can't verify these because they are completely unknown apart from your reconstructions! and developed detailed accounts of enormous numbers of linguistic changes Why? A statistical sample is all that is required including changes involving languages in contact Can you name a language that hasn't been in contact? with results that extend back in time to at least 6,000 years BP.

You mean when literacy started? Why stop there? Your methods clearly allow delving back in time to the dawn of human speech.
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Mick Harper
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I got a press clipping, as we used to call them, from the Greanville Post which had included THOBR in a long piece about the reality of the Roman Empire https://www.greanvillepost.com/2021/09/05/how-fake-is-roman-antiquity/ What was nice was being treated as and cited in decent chunks as an 'amateur historian and linguist' alongside other orthodox and fruitcake people of the same kidney. If only everyone would play the words and not the man.

Naturally I was interested to know more of this Greanville Post which, having a picture of Kirk Douglas as a First World War French soldier on its masthead, is presumably a play on Granville Post (don't ask). I found this curious mission statement

THE GREANVILLE POST (TGP) is an antidote to the prevailing brainwash afflicting most people in the United States and much of the Western World. The Greanville Post is an independent left, non-dogmatic publication dedicated to seeking the truth wherever it may be found.

How anyone can claim to be non-dogmatic and to be seeking the truth anywhere it may be found and be left wing in the same sentence is beyond me. ["Ooh, that is so true... if only I wasn't left wing..."] But, in a relative world, good luck to them.
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