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November 5th, 2018

Old new towns


Where would you look for inspiration if you were planning a new town? If you are Prince Charles or the Shanghai Planning Commision, the past would seem to be the answer; or to be more precise, the English past. The town of Pounbury in the south of England, designed by Prince Charles, is an answer to what he calls the 'hertless urban planning' of the 1960s. It was here that he could offer an alternative to 'ugly' high-rise apartment blocks, large housing estates and zonal planning - where industry, shops and homes are all separated into different areas of a city.read moreCollapse )

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The Creators of Grammar

No student of a foreign language needs to be told that grammar is complex. By changing word sequences and by adding a range of auxiliary verbs and suffixes, we are able to communicate tiny variations in meaning. We can turn a statement into a questionm state whether an action has taken place or is soon to take place, and perform many other word tricks to convey an action has taken place or is soon to take place, and perform many other word tricks to convey subtle differences in meaning. Nor is this complexity inherent to the English language. All languages, even those of so-called 'primitive' tribes have clever grammatical components. The Cherokee pronoun system, for example, can distinguish between 'you and I', 'several other people and I' and 'you,another person and I', In English, all these meanings are summed up in the one, crude pronoun 'we'. Grammar is universal and plays a part in every language, no matter how widespread it is. So the question which has baffled many linguists is - wgo created grammar?
At first, it would appear that this question read moreCollapse )

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