Monthly Archives: February 2011

The difficulty of learning to write and the evolution of language

Over at Babel’s Dawn, Edmund Blair Bolles discusses Stanley Fish’s new book How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One. Bolles describes Fish as thinking that “composing sharp sentences does not come naturally” but rather requires practice “just as a child learning to play an instrument practices hour upon hour at playing scales.” (Note to self: Insert Amy Chua reference here.)

Bolles suggests that Fish’s argument on this point “is a direct challenge to the evolutionary view of language.” (The evolution of language, for those who aren’t familiar with Babel’s Dawn, is what the blog is all about).

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