Linguistic Crackpottery

Heard any good language-related jokes, stories or puns lately?

Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Fri 22 Jan 2010 4:16 am

Carl Sagan is quoted as saying:

"They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

We're talking about Bozo-level errors.
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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Delodephius » Fri 22 Jan 2010 10:23 am

I'm just too of a Pyrrhonian to call anyone a "crackpot".

The analogy with Bozo the Clown makes no sense. He is not in the same profession. His job is to entertain and to make people laugh. But laughing at people who you think have incorrect views is very impolite and primitive and has no place in a civilized society. Unless you are a comedian.
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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Sat 23 Jan 2010 9:29 pm

Delodephius wrote:I'm just too of a Pyrrhonian to call anyone a "crackpot".

The analogy with Bozo the Clown makes no sense. He is not in the same profession. His job is to entertain and to make people laugh. But laughing at people who you think have incorrect views is very impolite and primitive and has no place in a civilized society. Unless you are a comedian.


Let me explain more clearly.

We are talking about a poorly supported set of extraordinarily broad claims from someone who does not clearly disclose his field of specialization and does not disclose the source of his degrees. His degree is probably further from linguistics than Fleischman and Pons were from physics. (Ventris, OTOH, demonstrated his skill to the linguistic community before publishing.)

I'm not a linguist, but I can spot someone who doesn't know what he's talking about.
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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Delodephius » Sat 23 Jan 2010 10:58 pm

I'm not saying they know what they are talking about. I'm saying it is just not right to call them names and make fun of them. It does not seem dignified and ethical.
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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Squarey » Mon 12 Apr 2010 12:35 pm

I, for one, would call it a very particular kind of crackpotism - the kind where, if you have no previous knowledge of ancient history or languages, you may actually believe it all to be true. It sounds nice, it sounds plausible, and anyone who doesn't know anything about Latin and Devanagari may just as well assume they came from Etruscan and cuineform (the geographical area fits, right?).

Those crackpots are getting more and more cunning, aren't they...
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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Caenwyr » Mon 12 Apr 2010 7:37 pm

Squarey wrote:Those crackpots are getting more and more cunning, aren't they...
It doesn't make them any more right. Only harder to prove wrong. ;)
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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Abugida » Thu 11 Nov 2010 8:31 am

I actually feel sorry for the person, whoever it was, that mailed the Basque Center hundreds of words that he thought proved Basque the ancestor of all the rest of the languages in the world.

One of his "examples" was the word "atlas".

:lol:

Or the woman who thought that marginal differences in letter forms in medieval Anglo-Saxon manuscripts represented suprasegmentals, and thought that the Latin writing system was descended directly from both Greek and Phoenician...meaning that it borrowed letter forms directly from Phoenician and Greek.

:lol:
Ez naiz euskalduna, baina euskaraz dakit.

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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Delodephius » Thu 11 Nov 2010 12:29 pm

What I want to say is that to me it seems immoral to make fun of people and call them names when they are wrong. I hate it when someone laughs at me when I make some mistakes or make some stupid claim, so I don't laugh at others. There is nothing funny about making mistakes or being incorrect. I'm more inclined to feel sorry for them.
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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Caenwyr » Fri 12 Nov 2010 4:00 pm

It's entirely your right to feel sorry for them, but on this forum it's certainly not unimportant to point out the various mistakes they made in their reasonings. Mistakes are things we can learn from, and it's easier to stay away from certain practices if you see how people are scorned for them. Mocking downright silly pseudolinguistics (isn't that a pleonasm?) is a normal way of dealing with outliers. Taking them serious might have serious consequences.

Anyway, this used to be a topic about wrong linguistics, not about ethical decisions.
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Re: Linguistic Crackpottery

Postby Delodephius » Sat 13 Nov 2010 10:05 am

Mocking downright silly pseudolinguistics (isn't that a pleonasm?) is a normal way of dealing with outliers.

Well I just find that unacceptable. It is barbaric and primitive. And also typical for your civilization.

Anyway, this used to be a topic about wrong linguistics, not about ethical decisions.

You make it sound like it's a bad thing. I personally enjoy topics taking a life of their own.
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