Grammar, a great equaliser

A recent article on The Conversation website has taken issue with teaching grammar. It shows up prescriptivist linguistics which takes upon itself to police the way we speak and write, castigating us for making mistakes. For example, I recently heard two young people arguing and one of them was shouting at the other: ‘I wish I went yesterday’. Of course, he should have said ‘I wish I had gone…’. That’s the grammatically correct way, as any (prescriptivist) linguist would know. Continue reading “Grammar, a great equaliser”

How I cured psychosis

It’s about 10 years ago that I decided to go to a psychiatric hospital. I wanted to know what psychiatry was like. I decided to write a book on men’s depression, read quite a lot (often I found I knew more about depression than psychiatrists I spoke to – they mostly knew dosage), but I still missed one thing. I had never been in a psychiatric hospital. And as I had been reading Szasz or Scheff, my head was full of anti-psychiatry. So, it was time to see it for myself.

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‘Inferior researchers’

Recently, I was asked by a female colleague to offer feedback on a document summarising her achievements. As I was reading the text, which is in Polish, I was struck by the fact that whenever she described herself, she used nouns in the masculine form. And so, for example, when she described herself as a researcher, she used the word badacz (masculine) and not badaczka (feminine).

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Pull no punches

I decided to read a grant application on the plane from Rome. As I was reading it, I got more and more frustrated with what was written. Basically, the project was all over the place. From strange and unaccounted for concepts, through bizarre associations between groups, all the way to a reality which I simply didn’t recognise. The review was not very difficult write, well, perhaps apart from the fact that it was very negative. That’s life, though. Continue reading “Pull no punches”

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