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CELTIC-L  April 2002

CELTIC-L April 2002

Subject:

Re: Caesar Super-Gau

From:

Raimund KARL <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Sun, 7 Apr 2002 13:41:59 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (169 lines)

Hi Vyvyan,

I'm sorry, but I don't have the time to answer to your mails in full
detail any more, and in fact I see no point in doing so. As such, a more
gereral response.

Your recent long message on you "system" of "etymologizing" was very
enlightening, and documents that you seem to be using kind of a
methodology, even though one that cannot be upheld as a serious
scholarly methodology. I will explain why, in short words:

If I have understood it correctly, what you are doing is creating lists
of hypothetical spelling possibilities. However, you are doing this
based on modern Irish spellings of words, not on earlier attested forms
of these words, and you are not applying at least somewhat consistent
pronouncation rules, but are treating every letter in a word similarly.
Thus, you end up with a huge number of alternative, allegedly possible
pronouncations (of which only very few can be found in actual attested
pronouncations of Irish, even if you take all existent Irish dialects
into account), and then compare those words to others which sound
similar. This is classical pick and choose methodology, something with
which, if other attested spellings of the same word from different times
are taken into account, leads to the possibility of making any two words
cognate you would ever like. By applying such hypothetical different
pronouncations, one can trandform the word bard into the word soup, if
only ever enough shifts in pronouncation are applied. As such, based on
your methodology, if not arbitrarily stopping at one point for
unargueable reasons, any word can be derived from any other word. This
devaluates your "etymology" and reduces your collection to an attempt to
parallelize meanings of words: the probably best example is your
queen-ceann equation: what you, in fact, do, is taking two words which
both have a secondary meaning "leader" and play with different ways of
pronouncing them until you arrive at a point where both words are
pronounced somewhat similar.
You do not take the attested diachronic development of words into
account, nor do you apply any consistent theory of language change into
your theory, you simply play around with saying things differently. 
You also do not pay attention to the correct use of terminology: for
instance, you use the word cognate in a way that is, in linguistic
terms, completely wrong, as cognates require the development of two
distinct word by regular but different transformations from the same
root word.

The biggest problem, however, as I have already noted several times, but
maybe not precisely enough, is that you do ignore the spatio-temporal
context of your attestations. 
This is clear for instance in case of your insistence of the equation
Goidelic to Catholic.  While the term Goidelic is first attested 1882,
you claim that it is ancient, and take Chris Gwinn's mention of the term
Goidel as attested for the 7th-8th century AD to amount for an
attestation of the term Goidelic to be attested as early (and note, the
-elic instead of a simple -el ending is central to your own equation, as
only then you can argue for an -elic = -olic equation). This you take to
argue that Cath-olic and Goid-elic are cognates, even though the -ic
ending was added documentably to Goidel only as late as 1882. All of
this you take to argue for a pre-documentation-period Cath-olic that was
wrongly transmitted as Goid-elic, ignoring the fact that there is a gap
of at least 1200 years between the end of the pre-documentation period
and the first attestation of a term you derive from an unattested term
that allegedly existed in the pre-documentation-period. This you do even
though it is clear that in the 1882 text first mentioning the term
Goidelic, the logic is that the Q-Celtic language of the ancient Irish
is called Goidelic because it is the language of the people that called
themselves "goidel", and the same text introduces a parallel derivation
from Brython + ic for the P-Celtic language of the ancient British. This
only as an aside to the fact that the term Catholic can be perfectly
derived from, and documentably developed from, a Greek term with a
totally different meaning than your alleged "etymology" in a totally
different spatio-temporal context, and that you take the Old Irish word
Cath = Battle for a title, even though this is clearly attested in cases
like Cath Maige Tuired and other texts.
You constantly mix evidence from widely divergent points in space and
time and treat them as if they were closely related, for no apparent
reason. You simply shuffle their pronouncation long enough until they
seem to be remotely similar and then postulate that they, therefore,
have to be identical.

Below, I document that black is, in your logic, a cognate of white:
There are many languages that pronounce a b much closer to w than to b.
Thus, Black could have, in an unattested case, been pronounced wlack.
We know that many languages drop an l following a w, thus giving us
wack.
Now, a often is written as a shortened version of ai, giving us waick.
Then, ck is a short closing sound which is sometimes, for instance in
Viennese, pronounced extremely close to t, so close that there is
sometimes no distinction possible between a ck and a t. 
Thus, we get a wait for a possible pronouncation of black, which is in
fact nothing but white, only spelled differently.
Both black and white are colours, thus black and white are cognate
terms, derived by the way from red, which is totally possible, and which
is rot in German, that was originally the term for a wheel that was
painted red, as wheel is Rad in German which is reasonably close to rat,
which tells us that orginally it was a term referring to a small mammal
that can have black or white fur - at least sometimes. Thus, all these
terms are cognates, and are in fact related to the sun, which is round
as well, as you turn from white over read to black if you wait (another
related term) and are exposed to the sun for to long.

This is a classical example of what is called a folk etymology. It is
funny, but tells us nothing about the origin of words, nor about the
historical development of languages, nor about relationships between
languages. It is speculation in thin air.

Similarly, you have no idea what you are talking about in many cases.
For instance, in your mails to John, you have argued that there are no
Celtic coins with Celtic inscriptions, but written in Latin letters.
This, however, is documentably false, as there are early 1st century BC
coins from the eastern Celtic world (Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and
Moravia), which have things like ECCAIO, NEMET, NONNOS, AINORIX or
BIATEC written on them. It is, however, perfectly evident that no Roman
authority of any kind existed in those areas in the early 1st century
BC, not even the Romans themselves ever claim anything like this, but it
can also be demonstrated in the archaeological record that there was
little if any Roman influence on those Celts living in the
abovementioned area in those times. Similar knowledge is evident from a
late 2nd or early 1st century BC shard from Manching, Bavaria, which has
clearly written BOIOS on it, in greek letters.

Similar gaps in your knowledge, which result in wrong interpretations,
appear frequently in your mails - most of those things you argue to be
common sense in fact can be contradicted by such evidence like the
abovementioned coin evidence, and in fact, are much more based on your
inability to imagine that "Celts could ever have acted like that" or
"Celts could have done this on their own". This is a typical feature in
people who think, for some mysterious reason, that they know "how the
Celts were" or "how the Celts thought", instead of actually wanting to
learn about Celts and their internal diversity; people who still believe
that "the Celts" existed like some monolithic block, unchanged
throughout time, defined by some "mystical characteristics", by "THE
Celtic spirit". Most often, such ideas are, and this is pretty evident
in your case as well, mainly based on massive gaps in knowledge of the
evidence, and a distinctive unwillingness to first learn what is there
and only then argue for a specific theory.

Had you read Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago
1962, which is the standard reading for how paradigms change, you would
know that it is not up to us to show that your paradigma is wrong, but
rather up to you to convince us, by presenting us with overwhelming
evidence that cannot be explained within the traditional paradigm, or at
least can be much more convibcingly be explained within your paradigm,
that your paradigma is at least equal to the current one. However, you
have miserably failed to do so, as yet, and, having taken a look at your
methodology, I have to say that I do not expect that you will succeed to
convince us at any time, as it is nothing but arbitrary postulation of
similarities without any relationship to any kind of reality.

All the best,

RAY
________________________________________________________________________

Mag.phil. Raimund KARL 
Österreich: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Lektor für kulturwissenschaftliche Keltologie
Univ.Wien, Inst.f.Alte Geschichte, A-1010 Wien, Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 1
United Kingdom: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Research fellow (European Archaeology)
Canolfan Uwchefrydiau Cymreig a Cheltaidd, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, 
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3HH; ffôn: (+44 781) 6464861
________________________________________________________________________

     Besuchen Sie die Homepage der Studienrichtung Keltologie unter
       Visit the Celtic Studies at Vienna University homepage at
            <http://www.univie.ac.at/keltologie/index.html>

                   Visit the Canolfan homepage at
                  <http://www.cymru.ac.uk/canolfan>
________________________________________________________________________

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