12 Oct 2009

Comments on the Etusco-Latin tupi/tōfus connection

As probably some can tell by my previous explanation of the rules of this blog, I recently received a comment that irritates me for the reasons already mentioned: stubborn to facts, condemning the very act of speculation even when facts are present, and being all-in-all too stubborn to look up viewpoints that are contrary to one's own. The internet is not just a valuable tool of self-expression but a powerful tool for research. This is why I can't understand those who will take the time to comment but never take the same amount of time to do their homework. Evidently further facts need to be known by some readers here.

First, here's a portion of the aggravating comment I received in response to the connections made between Latin tōfus and Etruscan tupi but which I promptly deleted for being unnecessarily ornary and also thoroughly invalid:
"Between you claiming (with no proof) that word X is Etruscan and an ancient Roman claiming an Etruscan origin for word Y, the latter is naturally more trusted, more reliable. Let's take this way, how many scholars quote you for words claimed of Etruscan origins and how many scholars quote, let's say, Varro?"
In no uncertain terms, this naive person is evaluating statements based on popularity (ie. 'how many times they are quoted')! And notice the word "trusted". Does that mean "trusted by European society"? "Trusted by elites"? "Trusted by published scholars approved only by a handful of reknowned institutions"? "Trusted by democractic vote"? Trusted by whom? And why should we care about the trust of others when rationally evaluating for ourselves the validity of claims? Ugh, blind credentialism at its worse. Surely Varro et alia aren't trusted a priori based on valid Logic since all statements must be evaluated regardless of their source to avoid one of the most common and ugly pitfalls of reasoning referred to as argumentatum ad hominem (literally 'argument towards the person') or simply ad hominem. How can a competent reader ignore the myriad of tall tales woven by these same classical authors regarding eponymous ethnic origins and wild legends incorporating both gods and men? Ceteris paribus, authors (regardless of who they are or when they lived) can be both correct or incorrect. At face value we can't tell. So source is patently irrelevant no matter how artfully a heckler stands on his head. Nice try though. DELETE!

A related argument, invalid for the same reasons, I had already allowed through to my commentbox:
"No offense, I find far more reliable the glosses of ancient Latin authors who might have even heard Etruscan in their lifetime than the speculations of a modern blogger based on formal resemblances."
Offense or no offense, the statement is patently ridiculous for several reasons. It makes me frankly a little annoyed that the reader apparently fails to realize something he could have looked up for himself. The most important fact is that the relationship of Latin tōfus and Etruscan tupi cannot be labeled a "modern blogger speculation" at all since blogs hadn't been invented yet ** in 1932 when Fiesel's article entitled Etruskisch tupi and lateinisch tofus had been published in Studi Etruschi **! Yes, folks. This blogger speculation has been around for at least 77 years! Again, nice try but no cigar.

As far as I've personally read, this interesting connection remains unresolved which is why I find it's important to talk about it. Speculation-haters be damned. If only certain commenters stopped feeling the need to cast stones at new ideas when ironically unwilling to look up the absurdity of their own statements and views, but then maybe that would take a bit of the spice out of scholarly life. Can't have the good without the bad, I'm afraid.


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