May 05, 2005

Restoring the trivium (+ one)

In this morning's email, from Barbara Partee:


If the proposals of the author of the third letter in the NYT May 4 (responses to Friedman's April 29 column about American education falling behind ) were ever implemented, there would be lots of jobs for semanticists! And no one could say "mere" semantics ever again!

"I would limit the mandatory classes to a few core life skills: public speaking, self-defense, basic logic and semantics."

The letters: (link)
The original Friedman column: (link)

If we could persuade the NYT letter-writer that semantics has to be grounded in the rest of grammar, we would have restored the trivium in its traditional form. Well, he gave the order wrong, and threw in self-defense in an odd place. Grammar, rhetoric, logic, martial arts is much more, um, logical. Don't you think?

Posted by Mark Liberman at May 5, 2005 08:00 AM