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Matters Arising (The History of Britain Revealed)
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Mick Harper
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I assume this is Romanian. If so it's both less and more Romance than I had thought.

An Unreliable History of the Second World War, Paperback/M. J. Harper: Cod produs: 9780954291136. Adauga la favorite. Adauga produsul la lista de favorite pentru a-l putea urmari cu usurinta. Alerta pret. In cazul in care vrei sa primesti mail cand pretul scade la o anumita valoare. Descriere: In thirty-five separate but themed and chronological chapters the author exposes the failings (and ...
https://www.istoric-preturi.info/pd/23724961/9780954291136/an-unreliable-history-of-the-second-world-war-paperback-m-j-harper -
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Mick Harper
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Here's a real first. I was sent this by academia.edu

Museums and the Origins of Nations
Sheila Watson University of Leicester

but it wasn't anything to do with my books that feature museums, but one that didn't, THOBR. I got treated as someone ordinary!

...a degree of interaction between Saxons and Roman Britons not usually acknowledged in traditional stories of Saxon migrations. Pryor’s thesis that an indigenous culture flourished before, during and after the Roman period (Pryor 2005) and that many of our traditional legends such as that of King Arthur had their roots in prehistory, comes to a similar conclusion about the continuity of culture and peoples. Carver, Hills, and Scheschkewitz (2009)’s study of the Anglo Saxon cemetery at Wasperton suggests that the inhabitants of this post Roman settlement exhibited characteristics from Roman, Pre Roman British, Anglo-Saxon, pagan and Christian traditions, indicating a community of Britons adopting other practices as time went on. Moreover some of these ideas have now been aired in popular archaeology and history texts (Harper 2007).

Tomorrow, the world.
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Mick Harper
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Exciting, if baffling, news this morning from my man with the M J Harper brief in academia

An economic perspective on the law : Is there "legal failure"? a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of PhD in Economics at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand by Keith Stuart Birks
iii Acknowledgements iv more ▾
This mention was found in a paper hosted outside of Academia.edu
..., J. (Ed.). (2005). Econometrics: Legal, Practical, and Technical Issues: American Bar Association. Harper, M. J. (2006). The history of Britain revealed: The shocking truth about the English language. Cambridge:...
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Mick Harper
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I was sent this today by Academia.com. Although it is old, and I discussed it at the time, it is still the only extended academic analysis of anything I have written so I thought I'd go through it to see what's changed over the years. You are not expected to share my enthusiasm.

Skeptical Intelligencer, Vol. 7, 2004 35 BOOK REVIEW

The History of England Revealed
by M.J. Harper, London: Nathan Carmody, 2002. Pp. 141. £20.00.
Reviewed by Mark Newbrook and Sarah Thomason

Mark Newbrook is a researcher in linguistics, currently affiliated with Monash University and the University of Sheffield.
Sarah Thomason is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA


In this curious little book

The battle lines are drawn from the off

Harper proposes a radically revisionist view of the history of the modern English language, continuing his record of promoting dramatically nonstandard historical theories.

The current book is to be entitled Revisionist Historiography (it’s aimed at academic libraries) and me and Hatty have been discussing whether having 'Revisionist' in the title is too off-putting (for academics). The word has become sufficiently mainstream, we agreed, so it is gratifying to see it being used here eighteen years ago by academics, albeit with the then mandatory ‘radical’ attached.

PS I only just noticed they got the title wrong!
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Mick Harper
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Here he argues that Modern English, while related to Old English is not descended from it

This is improper. In the context he should have said Anglo-Saxon. Putting it like this makes the whole thesis a non-starter. Many of his readers would not know Old English is Anglo-Saxon.

and that Middle English never existed, except as a highly artificial literary variety

Again improper. I said Middle English didn't exist but that academics present certain literary texts as being in Middle English.

Modern English, according to Harper, has been in existence since ancient times

Again improper. All languages have existed 'since ancient times' by definition, whatever they might get called from time to time. I'm just saying English is a language like all others.

and is in fact the ancestor of most modern western European languages.

Again improper. I presented it not as fact but a hypothesis that fits the known facts. I emphasised it was highly speculative.
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Mick Harper
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His book thus challenges all scholarly opinion on the subject. But it does not fulfil the standard obligations of scholarship: there is no scholarly apparatus of any kind.

An interesting use of the conjunction 'but'. Scholars assume there is no other proper form of intellectual discourse than their own even when acknowledging they are confronted with another form of intellectual discourse than their own. They certainly do not acknowledge the possibility that their own form may be the problem!

For instance, and perhaps most strikingly, there are no references to the scholarly literature in the book, and opposing views and scholars are mentioned only to be dismissed with often facetious contempt.

A perfect example of the above. It is fine to refer to the scholarly literature (presumably with footnote citations), it is not fine to mention them in the text.

A typical example is his description of historians’ professional behavior (page7): ‘These strategies are wholly successful in preserving academic disciplines as cosy niches for clever but intellectually unenquiring people.’

This is not an example of what he was complaining about

Another typical example: [The Scots are] ‘especially enthral [sic] to academic paradigms’ (page 19).

This is not an example of what he was complaining about. And that's it. It was a 'bogus list'. We were promised examples of me mentioning opposing views and me dismissing them contemptuously, all we got was me being contemptuous generally about academics and Scots.

The book of course is entirely devoted to me presenting orthodox arguments and dismissing them so it is passing strange he didn't spot one. Not passing strange because he would then in turn have had to confront my arguments. As you know, academics always act like this because we only ever surface when our arguments are close to irrefutable. We shall see now see how the issue is ducked...
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Mick Harper
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Harper’s evidence and argumentation in support of his views are mixed in type.

We'd have preferred one of the arguments themselves but still...

One major argument involves critiques of evolutionary biology (which we shall not treat here)

So not one of those

but the bulk of his material is either historical-cum-archaeological or linguistic. Harper writes as if he is an authority in these areas, and suggests that his novel idea have been culpably ignored by mainstream scholarship. He does seem to have some specialist knowledge of history – as far as we can tell, given that we are not professional historians –

So not one of those

but on the evidence before us his knowledge of linguistics is definitely not adequate for the task he undertakes here. He is out of his depth in both factual and theoretical linguistic matters. In this review we will focus exclusively on his linguistic arguments

We're getting there.

It is impossible, in a brief review, to do more than convey a general sense of the idiosyncratic nature of the proposals in the book.

He's moving away again.

Like many amateur critics of the scholarly mainstream, Harper repeatedly seizes on individual ‘anomalies’ as weapons with which to belabour scholarship.

Still no specific arguments but this is promising.

Some of these are spurious or at the very least exaggerated.

Which ones though? You're such a tease.

Others are genuine, and therefore require study

It really looks as if we might have got there...
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Wile E. Coyote


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His book thus challenges all scholarly opinion on the subject. But it does not fulfil the standard obligations of scholarship: there is no scholarly apparatus of any kind.


I agree with you, but unless you are explicit about why you are not using, let's call it "the traditional scholarly apparatus", for your new book, which is in part aimed at academia (?), you will be charged and convicted, and therefore unread by academics.

It doesn't need to be difficult, it just needs a statement along the lines that you don't use multiple references or footnotes for technical explanations/academic curiosity for very good reason as, if actually read, they disrupt the reader's flow of thought, which is exactly why many readers never bother. If important, all arguments including technical points are always integrated into the main text. This is done to aid the reader.
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Mick Harper
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Good points all. I have put this short chatty disclaimer near the front

The lack of citations and other scholarly apparatuses is dealt with passim. These departures from rectitude are necessary to make this book readable. Everything can be checked either with Centuries of Darkness or by googling. Nobody holds your hand in this business.

Readers of my books find the comedic asides out of place in a serious work. I agree. They severely detract from any authoritativeness I may achieve from time to time. Too bad. I have found, over the years, readers stop reading books they disagree with unless there is some reason to continue and a laugh every now and then can tip the balance. Because for sure you are going to be disagreeing quite a lot.

And a long discursive section tied to a discussion of 'the scholarly apparatus' towards the end. There are hundreds of quotes from Wiki and other sources in between. Whether this will work is another matter. If people wanna rubbish a book, anything goes. If they like it, everything is acceptable. It is a difficult technical exercise writing a book aimed at academics that rubbishes academics. I hope they're up to it.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
It is a difficult technical exercise writing a book aimed at academics that rubbishes academics. I hope they're up to it.


I get the impression that academics are used to being rubbished by other academics, in fact I reckon picking minor quarrels about things that are unknowable, and puffing them up as important, is part of the academic publication/publicity game. What they are not "up for" is being rubbished by an outsider.
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Mick Harper
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As per usual, I happen to be doing the final edit on this section of the book and your post has stopped me in my tracks. This is the existing version

---------------------

Forget fundamentals, big or small, concentrate on the non-fundamentals. The market-of-ideas bit, the ordinary day-to-day discourse bit, the learned exchanges conducted in peer-reviewed journals (or the letters page of The Times) bit. Academics may give the impression the SCR is alive with the sound of argument, it may even be the image they have of themselves, but

it just isn’t so

The most cursory inspection of learned journals or The Times or Twitter or telly programmes will inform anyone who cares to know that modern academics are very definitely non-disputational. They line up to bestow praise on one another at every opportunity. Stepping out of line about the most minor of matters prompts calumny not promotion. Academic disputes are so rare they might get on the front page of The Times.

--------------------

but if you share the belief, I will have to change the tone.
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Mick Harper
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It now reads

----------------------

... And we still haven’t got to the real function of academese yet.

Forget paradigms, forget fundamentals big or small, forget organisational principles. Just concentrate on the market-of-ideas bit. What’s on offer at this market, this day. Universities are not schools, there is no laid-down curriculum with Ofsted (and politicians) making sure it’s laid down properly. The Academy has to give the impression that intellects are engaged, the knives are genteelly out, things are on the move. There will be learned disputations in the peer-reviewed journals (or the letters page of The Times), the SCR will be alive with the sound of argument. That is the image they convey to the outside world, it may even be the image they have of themselves, but

it just isn’t so

The most cursory inspection of learned journals or The Times letter page or Twitter or telly programmes will inform anyone who cares to know that modern academics are very definitely non-disputational. They line up to bestow praise on one another at every opportunity. Stepping out of line about the most minor of matters prompts calumny not promotion. Academic disputes are so rare they might get on the front page of The Times.

Now take a look at non-academic publications, non-academics discoursing on social platforms, non-academics appearing on the telly, everyone arguing the toss everywhere, print, electronic or down the pub. Disputational? They can’t stop. Everyone’s at it, hammer and tongs, every subject under the sun. Human beings cannot help but be disputational.

That is what makes academese essential

The only arena of public discourse that does not promote dispute is conducted in academese. Not because academese is a cool and sober medium for expressing ideas but because it is a scribal language that can only be learned at university and universities are designed to instil uniformity.

Academic subjects are not called ‘disciplines’ for nothing. After the early heroic days of discovery, they always end up as religions, complete with dogma and hierophants. They always end up as authority figures at lecterns enunciating orthodoxy for the benefit of rude folk only too anxious to learn. It has to be like that for academia to carry out its duties. If plain English was allowed it would soon split into an infinite variety of warring sects. Academics are only human. No, really.

-----------------

end of chapter entitled Academese, A Common Language
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Wile E. Coyote


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I think exactly the same arguments apply to: Acadamese a Common Chronology.
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Mick Harper
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The first eighty pages are devoted to this, Wiley, and a wodge at the end as well. Meanwhile, back on point

------------------

One good example is the apparently rapid series of changes which distinguish Middle English from Old English.

I must emphasis again this review is being written for a generalist audience that wouldn't have a clue about Middle English, even if they have grasped that Old English is Anglo-Saxon

The genuinely rapid lexical changes can be attributed to

In other words, they are taking issue with my thesis that there were no changes, rapid or otherwise, because we are dealing with two quite different languages

the flood of French loanwords that entered English after the Norman Conquest of 1066

OK, this is acceptable (indeed standard) even though we are talking not about 'a flood of loanwords' but the fact that an entire third of English can be mapped to 'Romance' languages rather than 'Germanic' ones. Not something that has happened (by a factor of several zillion) with any other foreign-speaking elite taking over the governance of a country. No wonder our toothsome twosome lurch off into safer areas

but a major reason for the grammatical differences lies in the fact that literary Middle English was based on a midland dialect, while literary Old English was almost entirely based on a southern dialect.

What a gloriously irrelevant factor when discussing rapid lexical changes from Old English to Middle English. But do go on

The two dialects were already divergent before the Norman Conquest, and many changes that affected midland dialects did not take place in southern dialects; there is no evidence that the changes in the midland dialects were any more rapid than any other linguistic changes.

Yes, go on, read it again. I defy anyone to tease out anything of the slightest relevance. I hope this is not the best technical objection they are going to produce...
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Mick Harper
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Indeed it is not. But having mounted a technical assault, their energies are spent for the moment and they return to generalities of the 'Harper-is-an ignorant-twat' sort.

This particular case also illustrates the general point that, like many non-linguists who venture into the discipline, Harper grasps issues involving vocabulary much more readily than structural issues involving phonology (pronunciation) and grammar. He never comes to grip with the former of these two levels of analysis, and his treatment of the latter incorporates some of his more obvious errors.

Yes, all right, we get the picture. Can we have something specific? "In a minute, we haven't finished twatting him yet."

Because of his limited knowledge of linguistics, including the crucially relevant historical and social branches of linguistics, Harper makes sweeping over-generalisations about what scenarios and changes are or are not plausible. The case for the mainstream account of the history of English is much stronger than Harper thinks, and the alleged anomalies much less damaging. And, even if Harper were correct in his arguments against the standard view, he does not give us sufficient reason to accept his alternative story.

All right, already. Please, a technical objection...

One of the major difficulties is Harper’s idea ...

Thank goodness. I wonder which one it will be.
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