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CHAT: apology and some whining

From:dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 17, 1999, 18:14
On Sun, 16 Aug 1998, Jay Bowks wrote:

> >On Sat, 15 Aug 1998, Jay Bowks wrote: > >> >>Na "failure" = 51 > >> Incidentally most Amerindian language have "na" for the > >> first person pronoun... ouch again this is pretty insulting stuff > >This is a gross overstatement of some rather questionable work done by > >Joseph Greenberg, in which he claimed that the languages of the > >Americas (North, Central, and South) can be lumped into three families: > >Eskimo-Aleut, Na-Dene, and Amerind (the proposed family that makes most > >linguists gag). Having fun with the numerical values of Hebrew letters > >is one thing, but casually repeating dubious "facts" such as the Amerind > >first person pronoun is quite another. > > > My, Dirk, I seem to have hit a nerve. Sorry bud!
No, my apologies. This has been a very difficult month; <whine> we're moving into my grandmother's old house, I've been moved out of my office on campus into a space that is something like a mens' room, and my extended family are all flakes (issues related to the move). My back is sore, and I have to create lesson plans for teaching public school teachers linguistics, knowing full well that they're going to resent every minute that they have to be in class (I've done it before), and there's not a thing I can do about it. </whine> In short, I'm kind of stressed right now; probably not the best time to be writing e-mail.
> I'm only going on what I've read it it's "na" or "nV" > I dunno... but I've only got to go on what I've read > and not taken the trouble of researching myself. > Amerindian languages aren't my forte.
About the nV- thing. I think that it's a great topic of discussion, but without any context, statements like yours can be awfully misleading. I don't even know if Greenberg is right or wrong (about Amerind, that is); however, his conclusions and his methods are certainly open to criticism! And there have been hefty critiques levelled against them by some very good minds in American Indian linguistics. Again, I apologize for my less than courteous tone. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "All grammars leak." -Edward Sapir