7 Dec 2009

A tasty bucket of 'chicking'

John Wells recently stood up to a distractive commenter on John Wells's phonetic blog:
"Sometimes the comments on this blog get sidetracked into topics that have nothing to do with the subject of the blog posting to which they are appended. So it was on 28 November, when David Marjanović was surprised 'that anyone would seriously say anything other than [ˈt͡ʃɪkŋ̩]' for chicken."
The insincerity of pronouncing "chicken" as "chicking" is obvious to most simply by the word-final en. In fact, the statement is so transparently false that we might naturally start wondering if this is a sign of a highly intelligent yet obnoxious troll with a specialty in subtle academic confrontation.

Yet this "David Marjanović" insists he's a graduate student in paleobiology and spends his time on Wikipedia earning Barnstar rewards to prove it while informing us of his taste for fine mint chocolate chip ice-cream. Earlier on my blog, he came to the defense of the dubious North Caucasian hypothesis in a comment that takes up several pages. At the time, I found the length of his commentary just a tad odd but I rolled with it, answering his many concerns, fake or not, at least for the benefit of other readers if not for him. In hindsight, one has to wonder about the intentions of someone who starts it all off with:
"First of all, as a biologist, it baffles me to no end that historical linguists talk about 'proof', 'unproven hypotheses' and suchlike."
Meanwhile on Language Hat, after commenter marie-lucie completely fabricated statements I never made just for lulz, David chimed in to dish out some of his own self-defacing sadism:
"No wonder. [Glen Gordon]'s so aggressive he's probably literally incapable of getting a paper published."
This of course has "self-talk" written all over it. In all of these instances, he is accompanied by other trolls (see sockpuppet for more information). It would appear that all it took was a skepticism of both Wikipedia and long-range reconstructions to provide him with a motive for this mean-spirited behaviour. The "aggressive" label he uses here is becoming cliché now after so many trolls have been using it to shut down opposition. Enough.

(13 December 2009) Another Language Hat troll came to the rescue of marie-lucie. He informed me that the "offending" blog entry in question is Some observations concerning Woodard's The Ancient Languages of Europe and pertains to my "shame" in calling the Etruscan f a "bilabial fricative". Oh dear, we'll have to tell Larissa Bonfante, a noted Etruscan specialist, that she's an idiot too then. {chuckle} Or maybe we can just stick the sad troll's meaningless letter in the garbage can along with his overzealous schadenfreude and add relevant footnotes with required reading for those sincerely interested in the Etruscan language.

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, I personally like your way of researching, unimpeded by trolls and what not. As a humble word of encouragement from a passive reader: Keep it going, you do have fans!
    Your's truely,

    Big fan of Paleoglot