35: JOHN CHAPPLE
Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues!
John Chapple believes that he can demonstrate fallacies in historical chronology; for example, he holds that many of the ‘medieval’ roads of England must have been built long before the Roman roads, in pre-historic times. He goes on from ideas of this kind to develop seriously revisionist perspectives on history and historical linguistics. Some of his ideas are reminiscent of those of Mick Harper (The History of Britain Revealed: The Shocking Truth About the English Language, 2nd edn, London, 2007, etc.). For instance, he too (along with Fomenko also; see Hall of Shame 32) accepts as probably reliable the largely fanciful ‘history’ of Britain written by the 12th-Century clergyman-scholar Geoffrey of Monmouth (the source for the stories of Gog & Magog, Old King Cole, King Lear, etc), according to which Britain was settled by the Trojan prince Brutus. Chapple accepts Geoffrey’s undemonstrated claim that his work is based on a supposedly older (7th-Century) Welsh text (which, even if it were genuinely older, might itself be largely fantasy), and suggests that the ‘truth’ of Geoffrey’s narrative has been suppressed by orthodox scholars.
As far as the history of the English language is concerned, Chapple argues that it arose much further east than the Germanic-speaking area of Europe, in Anatolia (modern Asiatic Turkey). Here – misled by naïvely ‘gung-ho’ newspaper headlines written by amateurs – he is grotesquely misunderstanding recent phases of the ongoing debate as to the precise location and date of Proto-Indo-European, the unattested & reconstructed ancestor of the Indo-European language ‘family’ and thus the ULTIMATE ANCESTOR of English!
Chapple also argues (again with Harper) that closer ancestors of English were used in Britain in pre-Roman times, alongside Celtic, and were NOT introduced in late-Roman & post-Roman times as is normally held. A date as early as 4500 BCE for the arrival of pre-English-speakers is proposed. Some of the individual points made in this context by Chapple and his correspondents are not without interest; but overall the level of linguistic sophistication is inadequate, conflicting evidence is soft-pedalled, and the general claim is in no way demonstrated.
Chapple also links the Druids (as described by Geoffrey) with the Phoenicians (in the context of the development of the Greek Alphabet) and makes various other claims which are speculative or worse.
For Chapple’s material, one could start at http://www.johnchaple.co.uk/index.html.
More next time! I am very busy at present and may be posting at longer intervals (fortnightly or even monthly) rather than weekly.
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