RobWords
Creator
YouTube Channel

Word facts and language fun.

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QUESTIONS TO ROBWORDS

2/2 ANSWERED

Rob, I recently found your channel and have been binge watching your wonderful videos. Are you planning a book anytime soon?

December 9th 2023
at 8:41 PM
December 9th 2023
at 10:38 PM

Thank you so much for watching my stuff!

I would love to write a book at some point, but don't currently have one in the works. I rather venerate books and will need to have a really good idea before I set about writing one myself. But who wouldn't like to see their name in print?

If you enjoy my YouTube channel, I would heartily recommend to you Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. It's a glorious book about every quirky aspect of the English language and a joy to pick up. The first edition was written around 150 years ago (I recently found a copy owned by one of my Victorian ancestors!) and it is admired by many of the biggest names in modern literature and linguistics.

Perhaps 2024 will be the year when I attempt to join Reverend Brewer on the bookshelf. Who knows when inspiration will strike?

All the best,
Rob

Hi Rob, thanks for the work you obviously put into your videos, and please keep them coming! I wanted to know what you think about whether we should try to save dying languages. I'm torn. It's sad to lose anything of cultural and historical significance, but shouldn't we let language develop and die naturally? Also, please do a video on onomatopoeias, especially non-English ones!

November 12th 2023
at 12:31 AM
November 12th 2023
at 1:07 PM

Hi Harriet! Thanks for the question.

It's a tricky one, isn't it?

It's estimated that languages are going extinct at a rate of one per month and I find it hard not to see each one of those as a tragedy. As you say, it's a loss of something culturally significant. It's usually irretrievable too (so far as I know, Hebrew is the only language to have been revived to the point of being anyone's first language). I think that such a loss should be avoided where it is avoidable.

One could argue that we should be striving for a world where the maximum number of people can be understood by the maximum number of people, and that minority languages somehow impede that. Languages dying out could therefore be seen as a form of natural selection, enabling society to evolve. But I don't think that this evolution requires these lesser-used languages to pass quietly into non-existence, particularly when bilingualism is possible. The ideal situation would be for people who share a culture with these languages to speak both the heritage language and the language that enables them to communicate more widely. I know Irish and Welsh speakers who have precisely this skill.

This clearly isn't possible in all situations. If a tribe dies out, nobody from outside of that tribe can realistically be expected to carry on its linguistic tradition. But overall, I would say: let's do our best to preserve the diversity and multiplicity of the world's languages.

Thanks again for the question, and also for the video suggestion. I've had many fun discussions with my wife about the words for animal noises in her native French. I think it's an excellent idea.

Rob, I recently found your channel and have been binge watching your wonderful videos. Are you planning a book anytime soon?

December 9th 2023
at 8:41 PM
December 9th 2023
at 10:38 PM

Thank you so much for watching my stuff!

I would love to write a book at some point, but don't currently have one in the works. I rather venerate books and will need to have a really good idea before I set about writing one myself. But who wouldn't like to see their name in print?

If you enjoy my YouTube channel, I would heartily recommend to you Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. It's a glorious book about every quirky aspect of the English language and a joy to pick up. The first edition was written around 150 years ago (I recently found a copy owned by one of my Victorian ancestors!) and it is admired by many of the biggest names in modern literature and linguistics.

Perhaps 2024 will be the year when I attempt to join Reverend Brewer on the bookshelf. Who knows when inspiration will strike?

All the best,
Rob

Hi Rob, thanks for the work you obviously put into your videos, and please keep them coming! I wanted to know what you think about whether we should try to save dying languages. I'm torn. It's sad to lose anything of cultural and historical significance, but shouldn't we let language develop and die naturally? Also, please do a video on onomatopoeias, especially non-English ones!

November 12th 2023
at 12:31 AM
November 12th 2023
at 1:07 PM

Hi Harriet! Thanks for the question.

It's a tricky one, isn't it?

It's estimated that languages are going extinct at a rate of one per month and I find it hard not to see each one of those as a tragedy. As you say, it's a loss of something culturally significant. It's usually irretrievable too (so far as I know, Hebrew is the only language to have been revived to the point of being anyone's first language). I think that such a loss should be avoided where it is avoidable.

One could argue that we should be striving for a world where the maximum number of people can be understood by the maximum number of people, and that minority languages somehow impede that. Languages dying out could therefore be seen as a form of natural selection, enabling society to evolve. But I don't think that this evolution requires these lesser-used languages to pass quietly into non-existence, particularly when bilingualism is possible. The ideal situation would be for people who share a culture with these languages to speak both the heritage language and the language that enables them to communicate more widely. I know Irish and Welsh speakers who have precisely this skill.

This clearly isn't possible in all situations. If a tribe dies out, nobody from outside of that tribe can realistically be expected to carry on its linguistic tradition. But overall, I would say: let's do our best to preserve the diversity and multiplicity of the world's languages.

Thanks again for the question, and also for the video suggestion. I've had many fun discussions with my wife about the words for animal noises in her native French. I think it's an excellent idea.