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Thu Sep 23 01:53:53 UTC 1999

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    Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 09:53:53 +0800 (WST)
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    Subject: Re: ELL: New SIL Alias
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    Subject: Re: ELL: New SIL Alias
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    On Wed, 22 Sep 1999, Victor Golla wrote:

    > Apparently Diego has been inspired with the truth about New Tribes
      > in much the same way that the missionaries he castigates are inspired
      > the Word of God.  Proof is not required if a "hypothesized situation"
      > emotionally satisfying and consistent with one's prejudices.

      I clarify:

      I am not 'castigating' any missionaries. It is simply that in language
      endangerment there is no middle point when it comes to threatening
      situations: either you are in favor or against.
              Describing a grammar of an endengered language has nothing to do
	      with preventing the language (and its speakers) from vanishing
      from the
      surface of the earth. Basically it's us linguists who profit from the
      recorded grammars of dead languages (and forget about Hebrew in Israel;
      that is a completely different business). The real cheesecake is what
      people who enter the communities do there, with both the language and
      speakers: what good does it make a community if their language is
      described (usually in a language and metalanguage they do not
      but at the same time the culture that that language embodies is
      (and despised)?  Here is where the black & white issue appears. I am
      against. I do not see how that can be 'castigating' or where is
      in that. I, like I bet must subscribers of this list, can well justify
      point of view that alienatin of any sort is an agent of endangerment;
      to the point that calling that stand "prejudice" would border on

      Second, my initial posting was (and the intention still is) to find out
      the degree, nature, extent and so on, if any, of the connections between
      SIL and akin organizations. What is imflammatory in that? Dismissing the
      lack of technical evidence -precisely the initial motivation of the
      "research question"- and proceeding to ask around and try to find out is
      not prejudice either. I can hardly see how it is. I'd be thankful to
      Victor if he could explain why simply posing a question for discussion
      query is prejudice.  Moreover, how is not quitting at the initially
      apparent absence of "evidence" prejudice. Suggesting the opposite ("just
      shut down the door and leave")  strikes me as unscientific. In other
      words, are we supposed to do research when the evidence is there only?
      when it is not, are we supposed to stop? What kind of research procedure
      is that? If the evidence is there, why bother 'researching'?

      J. Diego Quesada

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