AW: Magic as advanced technology

Margaret Ball margaret at
Fri Sep 17 13:57:23 EDT 2004

>there was an anecdote about the author seeing some
>politician on TV and being impressed by his unswerving honesty until
>he realised the guy was left-handed...


Reminds me of the classic linguistic-field-work horror story about the 
guy who shows up at a village full of Indians speaking a hitherto 
unrecorded dialect. He runs around all day pointing at things and 
writing down their names, and at the end of the day discovers he has 
collected 75 phonetic variations on the word for "finger."

He should have been pointing with his chin.

Probably just a Graduate School Urban Legend, but I always liked it.

Margaret Ball

“Americans treat their language with a furiously abundant energy – contriving two words for the price of one, hooking up unlikely neighbors with a hyphen, turning nouns into verbs and verbs into nouns – and generally beating the hell out of it.”

-Pamela Frankau

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