Jones v Yet Another Academic

Sir Bob Jones thinks “mangled language is now the norm”.  He calls out John Key, Simon Bridges and an academic with a doctorate from Harvard:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, has degrees from Canterbury University and California’s Berkley, plus a doctorate from Harvard, and she can’t speak English.

Jones opines that promoting the Maori language is a waste of time and money:

There’s been a sharp decline in language standards in recent decades, which ought to be a matter for concern. Yet ironically, it’s coincided with a growing romanticising about redundant languages, illustrated in New Zealand by the waste promoting Maori.

And gives an example of what is happening in the world with other redundant languages:

The same nonsense occurs elsewhere, such as in Wales, while National Geographic magazine is forever wringing its hands about the last two survivors, now in their 90s, who are the only remaining speakers of Wagamishoo or whatever. This is silly. It doesn’t matter and to extrapolate knowledge of a language as revealing the soul of the people and similar claptrap, as spouted here by the Maori language proponents, is sheer fantasy.

Underemployed in his semi-retirement, Sir Bob has just completed a soon-to-be-published book.

I have just completed writing a soon-to-be-published book on an aspect of our contemporary language following six years of hobbyist research. I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise but I certainly don’t romanticise it. Rather, language is a tool, nothing more and undoubtedly it is the prime reason for homo sapiens’ rise to the top of the animal world.


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  • Get a grip

    …..and this from the man who murders the pronunciation of the country’s name which he seems to think is called Nu Zuland. Am the same vintage as Sir Bob and probably as guilty as most for adapting to the changing environment when gay keeps changing its meaning….however still have an “internal” moment when others murder the language I learned as a child.

  • Peterkar

    Everyone should read the entire opinion piece before venturing opinion of his or her own; Jones chose to take the position of a pedantic curmudgeon based on what he thought he’d been taught at school, or learnt himself, on the ‘difference’ between ‘intuition and instinct’. He mounted an unwarranted attack on Jan Wright, himself not having done the work to verify his argument, which he might have abandoned after a quick dip into the latest editions of the OED or Fowler. The man’s an arrogant fool, an oaf; I thought him more intelligent than this piece reveals him to be. And his concluding sentence. a misquotation from ‘The Mikado’, (one of the best known works in its genre) opens him up to Henry Fowler’s charge of being ‘discreditably ignorant’.
    God forbid that anyone should think this man worth listening to on any aspect of language.