Why a language-busters website?
The Number 1 reason is because of you. You demanded it.
You see the response to my youtube videos on languages and linguistics has been great. From the urging of those who just aren’t content with hacks, frauds, language parrots, pot of gold searching leprechauns and uncredentialed witch doctors giving useless language advice, I’ve set up this web site to give you the truth. And that leads me to the second reason.
The Number 2 reason is because you wanted more than the frustrated travel writing language gurus could give you.
Tired of self promoting leprechauns? Well then let’s see how a midget chasing a pot of gold stacks up to a trained language professional delivering empirical information.
Well, for starters, in the real world credentials matter.
Let’s face it, the only people who say credentials don’t matter are those who don’t have them–you know, those who are chasing pots of gold.
Here’s a clear analogy: flipping a light switch and turning on a light is hardly the same ability and know how as the electrician that wired and installed all of the lighting in the house: so that anyone could flip a switch. Now where the untrained and unqualified person could not (and that’s why it’s not legal in the First World) begin to wire a house, the complexity is beyond the person who just flips a switch, the electrician finds it routine.
Now as great as the knowledge of the electrician, it is nothing compared to that of an electrical engineer. The flow of electrons, watt droppage, conduction and impedance in various circuits at various temperatures are just a part of his specialized knowledge set. The common light switch flipper and electrician can’t begin to understand the mathematical formulas used in engineering. So in this case we would never see an electrician try to take the place of an electrical engineer. Bluffing won’t cut it when the calculus comes out.
Do you really think having an electrician’s license doesn’t matter?
Do you think having at least an undergrad degree in electrical engineering carries no weight?
Of course not, only hacks, frauds, witch doctors, parrots, and leprechauns don’t.
The Number 3 reason is that I keep it real: I’m not in a popularity contest and I don’t need the approval of the hacks to keep me going.
Now, then, let’s put it all in language terms (the use of and study of): the person flipping the switch is a native speaker who has no concept of how to teach the language (speaking a language is not close to the teaching skill required to make the implicit explicit so that non native speakers can learn a new language). So the electrician is the language teacher. He (she) has learned how to wire the pupils in the class to respond to the language. He knows how many students can be handled on a 220 volt line (as it were) and how many it takes to overload the circuit and short out everyone’s learning. And that teacher does not use a cookie cutter approach for each student. This catering to the learner’s style is so important that the school won’t begin to allow cookie cutter methods: no parroting, no reading only, no left brain only. But, the non professional teachers wouldn’t know that–now would they?
Well. let’s continue with the analogy as we have now reached the zenith: the linguist (not the Kaufman hackneyed lower the standard definition but a real academic professional linguist) understands the hard science behind language. This can include the designated neurophysiology involved, the physics in acoustics, the articulatory phonetics, the distinctive phonemes in a language, the phonotactic rules of a language, the underlying rule system (grammar) that describes how the language orders a world view, etc. All of these categories are unknown to the native speaker and language teacher. It takes a professionally trained linguist to understand their importance in a given language.
The Number 4 reason is that I do have serious credentials.
I have a M.A. in linguistics (from a field Linguistics department–I can describe and learn any language in the World–I don’t need a script (written language)–to do it), a B.S. and a B.A.ed degrees (where I was a member of education and language honors’ societies), US teacher accreditation (two languages and several subjects), a Trinity T.E.S.O.L. teaching certificate and over 15 years of teaching in public schools, private tutoring, university guest lecturer and distance teaching. These are all qualifications none of the self professed gurus have.
So, let’s talk about the REAL WORLD importance of credentials. Answer these questions honestly:
Would you undergo surgery with an internet witch doctor?
Would you board a plane with a pilot who only knew how to put the flaps up and down?
Would you cross a bridge built by some guy who read a little about bridges but didn’t learn engineering because math and physics bored him?
The answers are all no, HELL no. So why would you go to self proclaimed Language Gurus who are nothing more than internet witch doctors? Does your learning mean so little to you that you don’t want a professional? Do you think so lowly of yourself that you need a ghetto repackaging of tourist language books? If you cared about actually learning a language why would you listen to unqualified hacks who know nothing about the science behind language or teaching?
And the Number 4 reason is that I’m funny as hell.
(yeah, you see that I repeated a number–classic.)