An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Mouthful of Air

The book itself

I am currently reading /or should it be mining/ an amazing treasure trove bequeathed to us by the late lamented/ hugely talented/ Anthony Bugess• In it he introduces/// a smattering of grammar// a mouthful of phonetics// and a whole host of his own ideas about linguistics• Published in 1993/ his commentary on Chomsky's generative grammar is insightful• His views on the monoglot propensities of the English speaking peoples is amusing• His critique of language learning books and tapes is corruscating• His inquiries into the orthography of the English language is spellbinding•

We could all (monoglots especially) benefit from a better (or even a superficial and initial) understanding of how language works• Our own especially• And a smattering of phonetic knowledge would certainly help with the acquisition of a foreign language• A full knowledge of phonetics would be a significant helper in such a project•

Burgess's work is aimed at the amateur but is by no means an easy read• It is/ however/ a particularly rewarding one• I recommend it unreservedly•

And so/ this winter/ I shall be teaching myself/ or learning/ the international phonetic alphabet• After I have that firmly under my linguistic belt I shall be resuming my study of demotic Greek with renewed vigour•

Now/ I ask you all/ how many TV programmes or films could have done that for me? None/ I suspect• Long live literature• Long live the book•

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