This post sort of continues on from my earlier post about “untranslatable” words.
The Happiness Dictionary (2018, Piatkus) by Tim Lomas is a book which has good intentions, but it makes some startling and incorrect claims about language. My main contentions with Lomas’ claims are:
- He plays fast and loose with semantics. Describing the meaning of a word with other words does not give the meaning of that word, but Lomas seems to claim it does.
- You can’t check his sources because they’re not there.
- He misrepresents some linguistic terms.
- He uses research on one language to make claims about a family of unrelated languages.
- He fails to see the logical conclusions of his claims about language.