Talk:World History Lecture Seven

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Old English

I like what you have to say about it, but I don't agree that it's as unrecognizable as (I think) you're trying to say.

Eft he axode, hu ðære ðeode nama wære þe hi of comon. Him wæs geandwyrd, þæt hi Angle genemnode wæron. Þa cwæð he, "Rihtlice hi :sind Angle gehatene, for ðan ðe hi engla wlite habbað, and swilcum gedafenað þæt hi on heofonum engla geferan beon."
Some simple pronouns like "he" are recognizable, as are the Old English equivalents of verbs like "were".

This is just my take on it, but if you even hazard a guess at OE pronunciation, and read the line aloud, there are several words (even nouns) that are recognizable! And there are the obvious ones, as you pointed out, like "him", "that", "for", "and".

  • Eft: after
  • axode: asked (the x>ks is called metathesis, and people still do it (improperly) in English today when they say "aksed")
  • engla: angel
  • heofonum: heaven (alright, there's a case ending, but it still looks like heaven!)
Great work! Go ahead and add a paragraph in the lecture with your observations, if you like. Thanks and Godspeed.--Andy Schlafly 17:34, 8 March 2009 (EDT)
Oh my gosh, thanks for that fast response! I hardly had time to finish reading about feudalism, which I found developed in France a couple of centuries before England. Since Middle English borrowed the word "tyranny" from French "tyrannie", is it possible that the concept may have existed in France/French before we grabbed the word in the 14th century? The same could be said I guess for numbers. I might not understand what you're trying to say, but Latin had plenty of numbers, so did German and others (Hebrew, Arabic?), and they were all around before English was even on the horizon! (My girlfriend is a linguistics major and talks about etymology ALL the time. It's a good thing I'm equally interested in it :)
I don't see any contradictions with the lecture in what you say above.--Andy Schlafly 17:59, 8 March 2009 (EDT)
There would have been no concept of "tyranny" under feudalism before that time. My only point was just that maybe the concept of tyranny existed before the English word, in the French word "tyrannie", or Latin, or Greek (where it ultimately came from). But anymore I'm not trying to point out that anything's wrong, per se, just expanding.
I've never gotten a response from you before, it's nice to finally "meet" you! JParker 18:10, 8 March 2009 (EDT)
Hi JParker! This dictionary has "nýdgeweald" for "tyranny". Obviously the concept is older than that. On numbers, you may be interested by Numbers in over 5000 languages. DeniseM 06:37, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Andrew, how are you defining somewhat primitive with regard to Old English? The sentence looks a bit like you're saying it's primitive because we can't understand it today; I'm sure this isn't what you mean. DeniseM 06:55, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Denise, in response to your comment and in explanation of alteration of some of your edits, we don't subscribe to the fallacious view that all languages are equal. See Essay:Best_New_Conservative_Words for how English lacked terms for concepts and then developed them anew. Old English lacked those and many other terms, and had a vocabulary that was only a tiny fraction of the vocabulary of English today. That makes it primitive, despite how much liberals may pretend that is politically incorrect.--Andy Schlafly 09:37, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Don't worry, I was only asking what your definition was as a matter of interest, I wasn't pushing any fallcious views :). I just think that you might usefully rewrite the sentence to uncouple the first half (that we can't understand it today) from the second half (it is primitive).
To check - are you saying that bigger lexicons (more lexemes?) are a sufficient or merely a necessary property of a language to make it less primitive than another language? DeniseM 10:16, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Denise, discussion is not productive if you insist that all languages are equal. That point of view is a dead end and makes further inquiry pointless.
Big vocabularies are advantageous. Words that express powerful, important concepts (as in Essay:Best_New_Conservative_Words) are advantageous. I realize that doesn't fit the politically correct dogma that all languages are somehow equivalent, but we're going to teach the truth here.--Andy Schlafly 10:21, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Did I say all languages were equal? DeniseM 10:24, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Denise, regardless of whether you admit it or not, your view that most or all languages are somehow equal is not conducive to productive inquiry. I teach the truth and do not waste time trying to cater to linguistic political correctness.--Andy Schlafly 12:28, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Andrew, you are ascribing to me a view that I don't hold. I find it entirely plausible that one language may be more efficient or more expressive or easier to acquire (for instance, I'm told that Chinese is very difficult to learn as a non-native) or less ambiguous or whatever than another - and furthermore that these properties may be measured empirically! I just don't think (in the absence of evidence) that the number of lexemes (or inflected words) is likely to be good measure of most of these properties.
If you want to point me at a paper or book that describes what you mean, I'm happy to read it - there are, after all, a good number of conservative Christian universities in the US and elsewhere, many of these will have linguistics departments whose ideological credentials you presumably do not find objectionable - why not let me read up on what you mean? DeniseM 14:13, 9 March 2009 (EDT)


Sorry, are you actually teaching children that there were no genocides before the 20th Century? Really? The original inhabitants of Tasmania would be surprised to hear that. Or at least they would be if they had not all been killed in a Genocide. --KimSell 11:53, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Kim, you have to be more substantive than that if you want to persuade anyone.--Andy Schlafly 12:24, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Every single member of the population of Tasmania was killed. How would you describe that if not as a genocide?--KimSell 13:07, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Unsourced is how I would describe it. ETrundel 13:11, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Kim, you haven't even convinced me you understand what "genocide" means, and you provide no dates, details, links, etc. As I said, you're not going to persuade anyone that way.--Andy Schlafly 13:12, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Very well, a few dates for you.

Victims Killers Dates
Aleuts Russians 1745-70
Beothuk Indians French, Micmaws 1497-1829
Caribbean Indians Spaniards 1492-1600
Bushmen, Hottentots Boers 1652-1795
Aboriginees Australians 1788-1928
Tasmanians Australians 1800-1876
Morioris Maoris 1835

Also, an interesting quote, guess who said it.. "The immediate objectives are the total destruction and devestation of their settlements. It will be essential to ruin their crops in the ground and prevent their planting more"

One more: "This unfortunate race.. have justified extermination".

Sorry, but the idea that "[t]he systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group" is a 20th century phenomenom is frankly laughable. Sorry, but just because the word is new does not mean the practice is new. Just as the emergence of the word "six" into English does not mean that people could only count to five before that, so the fact that the word genocide did not exist says nothing about wether it happened. In fact, I am not even certain why someone would think that was the case. Would you agree that homeschooling did not occur before 1980?--KimSell 14:24, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

I think that the phrase "war of extermination" or "extirpation" was used prior to the emergence of "genocide". DeniseM 14:33, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Kim, I don't think you even understand what "genocide" is. It's not one side defeating the other in war. Also, please do yourself a favor and learn how to spell basic words like "phenomenon" and "whether".
Give us your very best example of what you think was genocide before the 20th century, with details and your very best link describing it. I doubt you'll find a single one that fits the traditional meaning of the word.--Andy Schlafly 15:06, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
I quoted what the word genocide means. It means "[t]he systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group" Each of the items in the list above meets that description. It is rather obvious though that you do not have an open mind on this issue. I will leave this discussion for others.--KimSell 15:31, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Just to prevent this turning into a longer argument than necessary, shall we agree in advance to go by the Merriam-Webster definition "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group" as the traditional meaning? DeniseM 15:29, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
I did a web-search for the black war. The first link returned was . An excerpt:
"The Black War of Van Diemen's Land" was the name of the official campaign of terror directed against the Black people of Tasmania. Between 1803 and 1830 the Black aborigines of Tasmania were reduced from an estimated five-thousand people to less than seventy-five. An article published December 1, 1826 in the Tasmanian Colonial Times declared that:
"We make no pompous display of Philanthropy. The Government must remove the natives--if not, they will be hunted down like wild beasts and destroyed!"
With the declaration of martial law in November 1828, Whites were authorized to kill Blacks on sight. Although the Blacks offered a heroic resistance, the wooden clubs and sharpened sticks of the Aborigines were no match against the firepower, ruthlessness, and savagery exercised by the Europeans against them. In time, a bounty was declared on Blacks, and "Black catching," as it was called, soon became a big business; five pounds for each adult Aborigine, two pounds for each child. After considering proposals to capture them for sale as slaves, poison or trap them, or hunt them with dogs, the government settled on continued bounties and the use of mounted police.
On May 7, 1876, Truganini, the last full-blood Black person in Tasmania, died at seventy-three years of age. Her mother had been stabbed to death by a European. Her sister was kidnapped by Europeans. Her intended husband was drowned by two Europeans in her presence, while his murderers raped her.
It might be accurately said that Truganini's numerous personal sufferings typify the tragedy of the Black people of Tasmania as a whole. She was the very last. "Don't let them cut me up," she begged the doctor as she lay dying. After her burial, Truganini's body was exhumed, and her skeleton, strung upon wires and placed upright in a box, became for many years the most popular exhibit in the Tasmanian Museum and remained on display until 1947. Finally, in 1976--the centenary years of Truganini's death--despite the museum's objections, her skeleton was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.

Surely Conservapedia's own Genocide article provides a pre-20th Century example of genocide:

But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee

Deuteronomy 20:17 --SCarter 16:56, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

SCarter got in ahead of me, but I’ll copy and paste the following anyway…..

Tasmania was first settled in 1804. Up to the 1820s there was sporadic bloodshed but no organised policy of “getting rid of the Aboriginals”. In that decade there was a greatly increased rate of land grants, especially in the Midlands, to settlers. In 1828 the first definite anti-Aboriginal policy was enacted by Governor Arthur whereby any Aboriginal found on “settled land” - which by then was a fair proportion of the traditional hunting grounds of the natives – was to treated as a criminal and settlers could use whatever force necessary to keep these people off the settled land. There began a policy of “partition” whereby the Aboriginal people would be kept in certain specified areas.

To cut a long story short, within the next 50 years, every single full-blood Tasmanian Aboriginal had died, the last one being an elderly female, Truganini, in Hobart in 1876. They were shot, or starved, or caught European diseases or pined away in places alien to their ancestral tribal lands. Wherever the blame lies, the fact reminds that government policy and British land hunger caused the death of a race. (The Tasmanian and mainland Aboriginals were not the same – similar, but different.)
I refer to
  • the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, p. 305.
  • “Van Diemen’s Land” by James Boyce, pub 2008. AlanE 18:00, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Coupled with that, the idea that if the word doesn't exist the concept doesn't exist is wrong in every sense. To this day English speakers are capable of embracing and understanding concepts that have no specific English word ascribed to the meaning of the concept. A patently obvious example of this is the smell of freshly cut grass. This is a concept that all of us understand immediately, a concept that would have been around for millenia, and yet there is no word in English for the concept of the smell of fershly cut grass. If you want to say that something smells like freshly cut grass you have to say 'it smells like freshly cut grass'. Now, say that I invent a word to describe that smell: chlorowhiff, and go further and say that chlorowhiff becomes popular in use and enters the dictionary. the word was invented on the 9th March 2009 but it is immediately and patently obvious that the concept existed long before the creation of the word. Or consider how long humanity has been eating chicken. Those people who have eaten chicken (which is probably all of us reading this) understand the concept of the taste of chicken, but English has no word that specifically means the taste of chicken. If we want to say that something tastes of chicken then we say 'it tastes of chicken', yet the lack of a word in English that means 'the taste of chicken' doesn't mean that Enlgish speakers haven't grasped the concept. Or how about words in other languages. Take the Welsh word 'hiraedd' or the Japanese word 'giri'. Both words express concepts that English speakers are capable of understanding and even experiencing, yet neither word has an equivalent English word that defines the concepts enshrined in those two words. As to the word genocide, well it is a word that, in all likelyhood, was dreamt up by committee as a way of sounding official in describing a concept that has been around for as long as humanity has been around.--Ieuan 18:10, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Let's take the phrase, “Renaissance” is a French word for “rebirth”. The term belongs to the 19th century. (However, as "renascency" it had some use in the 17th century. Lets look at "The Fertile Crescent" as that extremely ancient area of arable land in the Middle East. The term was invented in 1916 or thereabouts. Were there no atheists before 16th century. And so on. AlanE 18:35, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Great Wall of China

Mr. Schlafly, I'm a bit confused about a minor point in this lecture. It says, The Qin dynasty began to construct the Great Wall to defend against foreign invaders, which stretches today for 1,400 miles and is the only man-made structure easily seen from outer space.. I've just been editing the CP article on the Great Wall of China‎ (mostly for grammar, but I did some reference-checking too), and it says that the Wall is not easily seen from outer space, that it can barely be seen at low orbit, and that other man-made structures are easier to see, which is a bit different than what you've said here. Could you take a look? I know this is a fairly minor issue in the big scheme of things, but we don't want to confuse our students by saying two different things. (Remember, I'm far from an expert in either Geography or China!) Thanks. --Hsmom 13:54, 10 March 2009 (EDT)

If I recall correctly, Hsmom is right. Several cities (New York, etc) are visible from space, but not the Great Wall. EdGlorpus 20:31, 11 March 2009 (EDT)
I've modified the lecture slightly, with supporting citation. Thanks.--Andy Schlafly 21:44, 11 March 2009 (EDT)
Excellent! I'd love to get a glimpse of earth from space - wouldn't that be amazing? One very minor quibble - you might want to change "outer space" to simply "space". It seems that the man-made structures are visible from lower orbits but not from farther away; and I get the impression that, in general, "space" is used more often nowadays than "outer space". I really enjoy researching stuff for CP - I learn so many new things! --Hsmom 14:50, 13 March 2009 (EDT)

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon

Slight point - the couple didn't have any surviving sons. They actually had three sons. Their first son, Henry, Duke of Cornwall, was born on January 1, 1511 and lived for 53 days. Their second (unnamed) son was stillborn in 1513. A second Henry, Duke of Cornwall, was born and died in December 1514.[1]

Edited to add: it's interesting to think about what direction England might have taken had one of these sons lived and Henry and Catherine had remained married. The Church of England might never have been established, and instead of being ineligible to reign if a follower of the Catholic faith, the monarch of England might still be Catholic. --SharonW 16:07, 16 August 2011 (EDT)
That's a fascinating observation!--Andy Schlafly 16:09, 16 August 2011 (EDT)