Tuesday, October 1, 2013
One Year Old
September 28th was Faculty of Language's first birthday. I started this blog partially out of pique (see here) (there has been lots of junk written about FL and UG and the Chomsky program both in the media and by undeservedly prominent practitioners (you know who they are, but here's a hint: E and L are biggies), partially out of boredom and partially out of the desire to stimulate conversation of the large themes that got me interested in doing linguistics in the first place, but which I thought are often treated as ornamental, rather than essential, to the enterprise. I thought that some polemics would be a very good thing and that it would enable the interested to find and engage in heated debate about ideas that matter to what we (or at least I) do. I have tried to concentrate on the relevant ideas rather than the personalities (though it is for you to judge how well this has been accomplished) and I have very lightly edited the comments section allowing everyone but advertisers (there have been some who have tried to sell their wares here for some misguided reason) to have their say. I believe that it is fair game to go after intellectual positions hammer and tong, no holds barred. I also believe that one should not impugn motives or character. There is a fine line here, for academics identify strongly with their ideas and an attack on these is hard to distinguish from an attack on the soul. However, they are NOT the same. Smart people, even brilliant people, can be wrong (even profoundly so), and attacking their views is not the same as attacking them. So on this first anniversary of the blog, let me thank all those that agreed to play along by contributing posts, by writing (often vigorous) comments and by sending me material that they thought I might like to post. The first year's been fun and relatively successful (over 175,000 visitors to the blog). I have learned a lot and have been continually enlightened and/or entertained. I look forward to the second.