Monday, November 12, 2007

Etymology Story Eviscerated


Oh, good, I wondered where Language Hat was. I'm looking forward to his demolition of this obviously weak New York Times story about language. I know little about the origins of words but even I could see how puny the evidence was for this story.
From Language Hat:
APPALLING NONSENSE WINS AWARD.
Grant Barrett wrote to alert me to this NY Times story by Corey Kilgannon, which enraged me to the point of incoherence. I'm not mad at Daniel Cassidy—he's a genial amateur who got a crackpot book published, no better or worse than the zillions of crackpot books that get published every year, and it's not his fault he knows nothing about language and its history, it's the fault of the educational system, for which linguistics and its results do not exist. No, I'm mad at the Times, which accords his nonsense the kind of respect they wouldn't give theories about how space aliens killed Kennedy or how you can produce nuclear energy at home with knitting needles and walnuts.


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