Why I am an atheist – Jennifer »« When he reaches my age, will he have been blogging for 48 years?

Comments

  1. says

    @ChasCPeterson

    Of course it’s rhetorical. But it’s also false since a Faroese (or an Icelander, Dane or Norwegian for that matter) would ever take the word dráp to mean murder in this case.

  2. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Of course it’s rhetorical. But it’s also false since a Faroese (or an Icelander, Dane or Norwegian for that matter) would ever take the word dráp to mean murder in this case.

    It’s not false, since the claim that it’s a literal translation.

    Literal translations are frequently not the best translations.

  3. ChasCPeterson says

    But drab and drap do mean murder.

    except, evidently, when they don’t.
    You use ‘literal translation’ as if there were a 1:1 correspondence of words betwen languages. Of course, it’s often instead the case that several alternate translations could be defended as equally ‘literal’.

    sveinnthorhallsson:
    yes, I actually thought about specifying that Watson’s rhetorical trick was aimed specifically at English-only speakers (like, full disclosure, me), but opted instead for concision.

  4. says

    @ChasCPeterson

    Understood.

    @life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ

    Even if there were a 1:1 correspondence of words between languages, the ‘literal translation’, or at the very least the best ‘literal translation’, of dráp would be kill and not murder.

  5. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    except, evidently, when they don’t.

    Yes, like I said, «How grindadráp is conceptualized by the average Faroese speaker, whether it calls to mind connotations of homicide or whether that has to be pointed out like we point out the connotations of mankind versus humankind, I don’t know. There can be other translations, but this one is not “wrong”.»

    You use ‘literal translation’ as if there were a 1:1 correspondence of words betwen languages.

    Nah, that’s what they who are just pointing to cognates are doing.

    Of course, it’s often instead the case that several alternate translations could be defended as equally ‘literal’.

    I’m glad we agree.

  6. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Even if there were a 1:1 correspondence of words between languages, the ‘literal translation’,

    *checks again* As I thought I recalled, you are the one acting like there is a 1:1 correspondence.

    or at the very least the best ‘literal translation’, of dráp would be kill and not murder.

    If there is a less-than-best literal translation then you have conceded my point. That’s fine.

  7. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    So all in all this particular argument is weak.

    My initial claim, ‘There can be other translations, but this one is not “wrong”’, was a weak claim.

  8. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    What a Maroon: the author of that HuffPo article is a Sea Shepherd volunteer who worked the anti-grind campaign. Maybe it’s a case of failure to credit specifically whose idea it was? (Though, again, that’s my science training talking.)

    Looking at the two articles, Watson seems to be taking credit for noticing it; Bassett doesn’t. So given that connection, I guess we can assume it was Watston’s insight.

  9. says

    If there is a less-than-best literal translation then you have conceded my point. That’s fine.

    Now now, not too hasty.

    I repeat what I said later (and what I was thinking of when I wrote the first comment on this subject), and I must really stress this part, that dráp would never mean murder under these circumstances. Not in Faroese. Not in Icelandic. Not even in Danish or Norwegian (although, as you pointed out, the meaning of ‘drap’ and ‘drab’ in the last two are much closer to the word ‘murder’ than I thought, at least legally. Too much exposure to Icelandic and not enough exposure to Danish on my part there).

    The circumstances being that these are animals we’re talking about. In these languages animals are not murdered. They are killed.

    Watson’s argument doesn’t take this into account. That’s why it’s weak.

    He can find tons of other sound arguments against grindadráp and whaling. This one isn’t and he should probably not use it (if he even does anymore, don’t know about that).

  10. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    My initial claim, ‘There can be other translations, but this one is not “wrong”’, was a weak claim.

    The issue with the translation is that they took a word that can be applied to a wide variety of contexts and translated it with a word in English that refers specifically to the intentional killing of humans. It’s as if someone from, say, India translated a phrase about the slaughtering of cattle with the Hindi equivalent of “murder” (assuming there is one) and said, “Look, they recognize that cows are sacred!”, and then defended the use of it by referencing “manslaughter”.

    In the right context, drepa/drap can be translated as murder, but as I said above, it seems tendentious here at best, and I think a case can be made that it’s wrong (because misleading).

    (None of this is meant to be a defense of the slaughter of pilot whales; I just hate the misuse of this kind of linguistic “insight”.)

  11. Pteryxx says

    The circumstances being that these are animals we’re talking about. In these languages animals are not murdered. They are killed.

    Watson’s argument doesn’t take this into account. That’s why it’s weak.

    I think that’s begging the question, as far as the term’s definition and connotations are concerned.

    (if he even does anymore, don’t know about that).

    The article link I gave is from 10 May 2012, so about a week ago.

    That link again:

    http://www.seashepherd.org/commentary-and-editorials/2012/05/10/the-case-for-mass-murder-in-the-faeroe-islands-535

  12. says

    I think that’s begging the question, as far as the term’s definition and connotations are concerned.

    I reread that part and I must agree. Maroon said what I wanted to say a lot better :)

  13. David Marjanović says

    Second, shark fin is a prestige food. It is not eaten for its taste, or texture, or nutrition. It is used as a status symbol for wealth, position, etc.

    Here’s how it works: “look, I’m so rich I can afford a master chef who can boil and spice this sheet of cartilage so skillfully (and for so long) that it almost becomes edible!!!”

    I fear this will only stop if most of the people this concerns become convinced that this attitude is evil. That could take a while.

    there was a recent languagehat thread that discussed that and similar terms.

    *howwwwwwwwwwwwl*

    I haven’t read Language Hat in far too long. That’s a great thread, mentioning Romanian place names that start with Târgu meaning “market” – and â = î is pronounced in a totally different way from what anyone would expect –, and it’s already closed because the spambots were taking over.

    Yes, that is the same that I stumbled upon, and which led me to the remark that the origin of this root is all but certain, that it may not be (Proto-Balto-)Slavic at all, and may have wandered across the Central-Asian plains until it reached Western Europe. Imagine that… Perhaps all the way from Mongolia to Iceland!

    That wouldn’t be terribly improbable in principle – but for it to happen early enough for the Venetic terg- words, that’s really hard to imagine.

    …So. Is this root present in any Iranian languages?

    the masculine noun suffix -R (or ‘-Z’) supposedly being diagnostic of North Germanic languages

    Uh, no, they’re just the ones that lost it last (or never: Icelandic). It’s derived straight from the general Indo-European -s, preserved as such today in Greek, Lithuanian, Latvian and a few French words like fils. Gothic still had it. The West Germanic languages lost all traces of it before they were ever written down – so nobody knows when exactly.

    Japanese “research” whaling

    There is actually research being done, most famously having resulted in the description of this new species. But, frankly, that’s a very bad ratio of, uh, effort to outcome.

    No, David is right. This is cladistics. It is not supposed to be fun.

    It’s not cladistics at all. Cladistics is just the cover term for the methods* of phylogenetics = to reconstruct phylogenetic trees. This here is nomenclature, more precisely…

    International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (1999): International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, 4th edition. London: International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature.

    (I just love this citation. Commission on, Code of, Trust for. And yes, the Code says several times that the Commission is the author of the Code; never try to find out who the members of the Commission are when you want to cite the Code.)

    The main business of the Commission is to publish Opinions in the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. These capitalized, numbered Opinions read a bit like papal bulls, for fairly obvious reasons. :-)

    the word ‘plads’

    That’s German Platz spreading all over the place in the late Middle Ages. It’s taken from what must have been the Old French pronounciation of place.

    torf

    That’s exactly identical to the (Low!) German word, so there could have been borrowing going on in Hansa times. In turn, I wonder if Latin turba (“tumult, quarrel, turbulent mass of people”) ever had meanings like “shifting, dangerous muds”, though the online dictionaries don’t say so.

    English: peat.

  14. David Marjanović says

    ‘Murder’ is ‘morð’

    While I am at it: it still was murther for Shakespeare. That’s why it’s Mord with d and not with t in German.

    pronounciation

    Oopsie.

  15. Pteryxx says

    David M:

    There is actually research being done, most famously having resulted in the description of this new species. But, frankly, that’s a very bad ratio of, uh, effort to outcome.

    As that description came from whales hunted in the 1970′s (except for one in 1998) (and the paper’s from 2003) I wouldn’t call that research justification for current, ongoing whaling. Heck, it’s a stretch to call it research currently being done. The research loophole that Japan exploits dates to 1986.

  16. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    The issue with the translation is that they took a word that can be applied to a wide variety of contexts and translated it with a word in English that refers specifically to the intentional killing of humans.

    I repeat what I said later (and what I was thinking of when I wrote the first comment on this subject), and I must really stress this part, that dráp would never mean murder under these circumstances. Not in Faroese. Not in Icelandic. Not even in Danish or Norwegian (although, as you pointed out, the meaning of ‘drap’ and ‘drab’ in the last two are much closer to the word ‘murder’ than I thought, at least legally. Too much exposure to Icelandic and not enough exposure to Danish on my part there).

    The circumstances being that these are animals we’re talking about. In these languages animals are not murdered. They are killed.

    You are not taking into account the fact that there is a difference of moral views among the speakers of any given language.

    The term murder in English also refers to the unlawful killing of humans. There are people who object to it ever being used to refer to the killing of a nonhuman animal.

    But, to individuals who see some other nonhuman animals as deserving a right to live, the term murder is appropriate because it speaks about the violation of this right — and thus invokes ethical illegitimacy in a way that no other word does.

    That is, in the phrase “meat is murder”, there is no other word which adequately communicates the thought.

    It is simply not true that there are no Faroese speakers who understand this as murder. The translation is precisely as legitimate as the use of the phrase “meat is murder”, and the disagreement of meat-eaters does not make that an incomprehensible statement. There is no voting on language.

    Watson’s meaning is capable of being grokked, and is shared by some Faroese speakers. It is therefore not wrong, even if it is a minority view.

  17. says

    It’s a big stretch. Why didn’t he say “some people consider this to be murder” rather than “”dráp” literally means murder in Faroese!!” if that’s the case?

  18. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    The term murder in English also refers to the unlawful killing of humans. There are people who object to it ever being used to refer to the killing of a nonhuman animal.

    But, to individuals who see some other nonhuman animals as deserving a right to live, the term murder is appropriate because it speaks about the violation of this right — and thus invokes ethical illegitimacy in a way that no other word does.

    That is, in the phrase “meat is murder”, there is no other word which adequately communicates the thought.

    This is a good example, though, of why “murder” is at best a tendentious translation of “drap” in this context. The only people who use “murder” to refer to the killing of nonhuman animals are those who think that it’s morally equivalent to killing people. As far as I can tell, “grindadrap” is the term used by all Faroese regardless of how they feel about it. That’s why I say that using “murder” in this context is tendentious–it imposes a moral view that isn’t necessarily present in the original. I think that “slaughter” would be better because, like “drap”, it can refer to the killing of both humans and non-humans, and by both friends and foes of the killing.

  19. Pteryxx says

    *raises talon* Um, I’m not a linguist, but the translation itself doesn’t seem to be the problem here.

    The term “Grindadráp” actually has the word “dráp” IN IT. If “dráp” is correctly translated to “murder” when it’s humans being killed, but the same word occurs in “Grindadráp”, then the problem isn’t translating the word as “murder” – it’s explaining why the translation is inaccurate in “Grindadráp” specifically when it IS accurate in most or all other occurrences.

    Again, saying it’s inaccurate because “murder” can’t apply to animals is begging the question – especially because the word for the killing of nonhuman whales has “dráp” already in it. To me, that sounds parallel to anti-science arguments that claim “theory” means “guessing”, or sexism apologetics that claim “mankind” doesn’t (explicitly) exclude women. (Or, using “sacrifice” in reference to euthanized lab animals.) Why does “dráp” mean something different in “Grindadráp” than it does the rest of the time?

    Why didn’t he say “some people consider this to be murder” rather than “”dráp” literally means murder in Faroese!!” if that’s the case?

    Watson says that also, but (IMHO) he’s making as broad a claim and argument as possible. I guess, specifically to provoke discussions such as we’re having now.

    Quoting Watson from the article I linked:

    It is my position that this is an accurate description because I hold the belief that the deliberate killing of a whale or dolphin is an act of murder. Dolphins and whales are highly intelligent, socially complex, self aware, sentient beings and I cannot accept any justification for their slaughter, and thus I view it as murder.

  20. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    It’s a big stretch. Why didn’t he say “some people consider this to be murder” rather than “”dráp” literally means murder in Faroese!!” if that’s the case?

    Because “dráp” literally means murder in Faroese”. I can see that it bothers you, but I cannot see any reason why Watson should not continue saying what he’s saying.

    This is a good example, though, of why “murder” is at best a tendentious translation of “drap” in this context.

    Well yes. It is tendentious. The whole underlying issue of what murder should mean is tendentious.

    That’s why I say that using “murder” in this context is tendentious–it imposes a moral view that isn’t necessarily present in the original. I think that “slaughter” would be better because, like “drap”, it can refer to the killing of both humans and non-humans, and by both friends and foes of the killing.

    All I see here is yet another instance of meat-eaters complaining that nobody else gets to speak of murdering animals, because that’s not the word you would use.

    Okay, your concern is noted.

  21. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    All I see here is yet another instance of meat-eaters complaining that nobody else gets to speak of murdering animals, because that’s not the word you would use.

    No, you miss the point. The point is that meat-eaters wouldn’t use “murder” in reference to animals. If non-meat eaters want to use that term, I have no objection because it expresses their viewpoint perfectly, but that’s not what’s happening with drap.

    It would be nice to have a Faroese speaker here with no skin in the game who could clarify the use of drap, but from the sources I’ve found online, “drap” is more like “kill”, and it can be used in other situations to refer to killing non-humans.

  22. says

    I can see that it bothers you, but I cannot see any reason why Watson should not continue saying what he’s saying.

    It bothers me because it’s misleading. It’s dishonest. If you’d ask a Faroese what “dráp” means he’d say “kill”. Ask him how you’d say “murder” and he’d say “morð”.

  23. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    No, you miss the point. The point is that meat-eaters wouldn’t use “murder” in reference to animals. If non-meat eaters want to use that term, I have no objection because it expresses their viewpoint perfectly, but that’s not what’s happening with drap.

    No, you miss my point: “Watson’s meaning is capable of being grokked, and is shared by some Faroese speakers. It is therefore not wrong, even if it is a minority view.”

    Among the Faroese, it’s not only meat-eaters who use the word grindadráp. Meat-eaters don’t have an exclusive claim to its meaning, nor its connotations, nor its translation.

    It would be nice to have a Faroese speaker here with no skin in the game who could clarify the use of drap, but from the sources I’ve found online, “drap” is more like “kill”, and it can be used in other situations to refer to killing non-humans.

    That it can be used multiple ways is quite evident, and is the reason we’re having this discussion.

    It bothers me because it’s misleading. It’s dishonest. If you’d ask a Faroese what “dráp” means he’d say “kill”. Ask him how you’d say “murder” and he’d say “morð”.

    There you go with that 1:1 correspondence again.

    He’s being honest. It just involves privileging the viewpoint of Faroese who consider grindadráp to be a violation of the right to live, rather than — as you’d reflexively do — privileging the viewpoint of those Faroese who don’t.

    Your objection is like saying it’s dishonest to say “meat is murder” because a lot of English speakers would not consider it murder. But some do. Deciding who to side with is not a matter of honesty or dishonesty; it’s simply a stance on whether the dolphins’ lives matter for their own sake.

    Moral stances affect our vocabulary all the time. There is an ongoing moral dispute over using the term actor for everyone who acts, and abandon the term actress along with other diminutive forms. If you ask me how to translate skuespillerinden to English I’m going to tell you it means actor. And this is a very conscious choice; you can call it dishonest, but my reasoning is available. Likewise, Watson makes his reasoning clear. I see no reason why he should care about your objections; you are of course coming at it from a different moral assumption.

  24. says

    The article says:

    The Nordic word “drap” literally means murder. In Swedish, dråp, means murder, in Norwegian, drap means murder, in Danish, drab, means murder, in Icelandic, dráp, means human murder, in Faroese, dráp, also means murder. Drap is the legal term for murder in all the Nordic countries.

    Ok. The Nordic word “drap/dráp/drab” literally means “murder”. It also literally means “killing”. How is this an argument? Is Watson claiming that the language somehow supports his view? Well, it doesn’t. Watson does not have the authority to tell The Faroese, Icelanders, Danes or Norwegians how to understand their own language.

    It is at best a moot point. At worst, it is plainly wrong (under these circumstances). It’s most likely just misleading, and thus IMO dishonest.

    Also, in Icelandic the word “dráp” does not mean human murder. It means “kill” or “killing” (nouns).

  25. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    lilapwl,

    OK, I think I see your point a bit clearer. But to understand what I (along with svein, I believe) am trying to say, imagine a picture in a Spanish newspaper of a protester holding a sign that says “Meat is murder” being translated “La carne es matar”. Would you say that’s a correct translation?

  26. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Ok. The Nordic word “drap/dráp/drab” literally means “murder”. It also literally means “killing”. How is this an argument?

    It’s an argument that he’s not wrong to translate it as murder.

    Is Watson claiming that the language somehow supports his view? Well, it doesn’t. Watson does not have the authority to tell The Faroese, Icelanders, Danes or Norwegians how to understand their own language.

    Wait, is he telling them that? I don’t know; I’ve only read what folks are posting here. If he’s saying it can mean murder and therefore all Faroese should understand grindadráp as murder then that’s fallacious. (They should, but that’s not why they should.)

    a sign that says “Meat is murder” being translated “La carne es matar”. Would you say that’s a correct translation?

    Yes. Although the meaning is not immediately obvious, I think it’s possible to discern. I’d say it’s a less-than-best but not-wrong translation.

  27. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    Yes. Although the meaning is not immediately obvious, I think it’s possible to discern. I’d say it’s a less-than-best but not-wrong translation.

    OK, then. I guess I’d disagree, because you’d be missing a nuance that can be captured in Spanish with the verb “asesinar”, but at this point I suppose we’re just quibbling about where to draw the line between “less-than-best” and “wrong”.

  28. petrander says

    Your objection is like saying it’s dishonest to say “meat is murder” because a lot of English speakers would not consider it murder.

    But the only reason that “meat is murder” has such an impact is because of the connotiation of “murder” in the mind of the general public, i.e. killing another human being. The point being of course that this term should be extended to other animals as well.

    But as a Dutchman having lived in Denmark for over a decade, in the general use of the language, there is the same distinction of connotation between “drab” and “mord” as Svein alluded to above. There may be some who wish to redefine meanings of words or their connotations, but when addressing the general public, you cannot just ignore what is used by most people.

    As an interesting side-note: “Manddrab” in Danish means “man-slaughter”.

  29. SteveV says

    Well I tried to get through reading this thread, but sketch finally had my forehead meet the keyboard (sleep, not exaperation)
    Then I scrolled to the end to see this about rhino horn:

    Addressing demand is the only way to stop the problem.

    How feasible would it be to flood the market with fake rhino horn?
    IFAIK rhino horn is actally modified hair, so it doesn’t seem impossible and it doesn’t even have to be a very good fake, just good enough to seed suspiscion in the buyer’s minds. It doesn’t even have be secret, in fact, it works better if it’s well known!
    Any profits could be used to expand the operation and fund R & D into fake tiger bones, shark fins and bear bile.

  30. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    But as a Dutchman having lived in Denmark for over a decade, in the general use of the language, there is the same distinction of connotation between “drab” and “mord” as Svein alluded to above. There may be some who wish to redefine meanings of words or their connotations, but when addressing the general public, you cannot just ignore what is used by most people.

    I agree; as I asked Svein, is he making an argument to the Faroese that it can mean murder and therefore all Faroese should understand grindadráp as murder? Obviously, that would be ineffective. But I don’t see him doing that.

    When he says “pilot whale murder” he is evidently talking to English speakers.

  31. says

    Why didn’t he say “some people consider this to be murder” rather than “”dráp” literally means murder in Faroese!!”

    because that’s not what he meant. what he meant was that ”dráp” can be literally translated as murder. which is true, even if it isn’t how the term is actually used.

    again, for everyone: “can be literally translated as” really never implies an accurate translation in terms of how the thusly translated term is used by native speakers. for example:

    Kummerspeck can be literally translated as “grief bacon”; what it actually means is the weight you gain while miserable. that doesn’t mean that the other translation is “wrong”; it’s just literal.

  32. Owlmirror says

    Maybe instead of trying to support a word with a general sense of “kill” being translated “literally” as the more specific term “murder” (presumably in the specific context, which appears to not have been clearly epxressed, and is certainly not understood that way by everyone), it would be better understood if you said something like:

      ‘The grindadráp should be called the grindamorð (because “morð” literally means “murder”).’

    That way you just get into arguments with those who think that what happens shouldn’t be called murder, rather than with those who think you’re trying to deliberately distort the meaning of the word with a general sense of “kill”.

  33. ChasCPeterson says

    jadehawk: but Watson did not say “can be literally translated as”.
    He said “linguistically the word Grindadráp literally means Pilot whale murder.”
    In fact, nobody in this thread has used the phrase “can be literally translated as” except for you. So why the quotation marks?

  34. says

    So why the quotation marks?

    do you know a better way of marking a phrase? I wasn’t quoting anyone.

    are you going to deny that SG’s argument is about precisely that (that it can be literally translated as murder), just because I’m not quoting?

    also, how is “can be literally translated as” different from “linguistically literally means”? I see no evidence that he’s implying that is the way it’s used or understood by people, only that these literal translations are what the term is constructed from

  35. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Certainly that is my argument. And yeah I think Watson is basically making the same weak claim I am.

    +++++
    I’ve always hated that ambiguity about quotes. What I do in informal writing is either italicize the paraphrase or get-lazy-with-hyphens.

  36. Pteryxx says

    (talking about whaling again)

    The finale of the Faroese Whale Wars series will air in a few minutes, and I’ve put together a list of stress behaviors to watch for, going by footage in “The Cove” which aired earlier. I think that’s a good baseline, because the Japanese small-whale hunters make no effort whatsoever to be humane to the animals.

    If anyone else is willing to watch and wants to compare notes and/or get onto IRC, feel free to email my nym at gmail.

  37. Pteryxx says

    …this is AWESOME – the Whale Wars show is covering a Faroese researcher, Dr. Bloch, who keeps the records of whale kills going back to the 1500′s. Apparently she’s responsible for the population estimates that justify the hunt as sustainable.

    They’re actually describing the disagreements over research data, in the show. *takes notes*

  38. Pteryxx says

    And now a segment on Weihe – he says he started out hoping to prove there were NO negative health effects from whale consumption. After speaking out, he’s getting hate mail, too.

  39. petrander says

    When he says “pilot whale murder” he is evidently talking to English speakers.

    When he is trying to convince English-speakers into believing that the Faroese themselves admit that it is murder, rather than just killing, then he is no better than a quote-mining creationist. In the Scandinavian mind, “Grindedrab” does not mean “Pilot whale murder”. You are gonna have to come to terms with what native speakers themselves tell you about their own language.

    Maybe instead of trying to support a word with a general sense of “kill” being translated “literally” as the more specific term “murder” (presumably in the specific context, which appears to not have been clearly epxressed, and is certainly not understood that way by everyone), it would be better understood if you said something like:

      ‘The grindadráp should be called the grindamorð (because “morð” literally means “murder”).’

    That way you just get into arguments with those who think that what happens shouldn’t be called murder, rather than with those who think you’re trying to deliberately distort the meaning of the word with a general sense of “kill”.

    This. OwlMirror really nailed it.

    “Drap/drab” is the more generic term that can mean “murder” in certain contexts, e.g. Danish “drabssag” (murder case), or “manddrab” (man-slaughter, which BTW is not murder AFAIU), but by virtually all native speakers is interpreted as “killing”. Context is important.I have nothing more to add.

    Well, except for this excellent comic.

    the word ‘plads’

    That’s German Platz spreading all over the place in the late Middle Ages. It’s taken from what must have been the Old French pronounciation of place.

    Actually it’s probably more likely from Low German from the Hansa Golden Age during the Middle Ages. :-)

  40. ChasCPeterson says

    dude found an interesting linguistic quirk, and found it fitting.

    No, that much is not difficult to grasp.
    But if sharing his linguistic insight had been his only goal, he could have done so in a much more straightforward and honest way. That’s the point. Your charitable reading seems to rely on the strategic use of the (supposedly) powerfully connotative word ‘literally’. I just don’t see it. He lists all the languages in which the word “literally means murder” but forgets to mention that it doesn’t always or necessarily “mean murder” in the only relevant language.
    It’s rhetoric, it’s an attempt to manipulate, and that always pisses me off. ymmv.
    (but you were probably right in the first place: this is a fucking stupid argument.)

  41. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    When he is trying to convince English-speakers into believing that the Faroese themselves admit that it is murder, rather than just killing,

    I don’t see any evidence that he’s doing that.

    You are gonna have to come to terms with what native speakers themselves tell you about their own language

    “You are going to have to” come to terms with the fact that I have already understood everything you’ve been saying about the language; indeed I googled it all up before I first commented on the subject.

    +++++

    But if sharing his linguistic insight had been his only goal, he could have done so in a much more straightforward

    Yes, this is usually possible.

    and honest way.

    No, he’s been honest about it. He has explained his motivation: “It is my position that this is an accurate description because I hold the belief that the deliberate killing of a whale or dolphin is an act of murder. Dolphins and whales are highly intelligent, socially complex, self aware, sentient beings and I cannot accept any justification for their slaughter, and thus I view it as murder.”

    It’s rhetoric, it’s an attempt to manipulate, and that always pisses me off. ymmv.

    Are you pissing yourself off right now? You are focusing on an alleged omission and attempting to manipulate the reader into agreeing with you. Are petrander’s attempts to manipulate me pissing you off too? Or does manipulation only piss you off when you don’t like the motive?

    Usually doesn’t bother me one bit. I’m aware that almost all communication is manipulation. That awareness does bother me sometimes when I’m high as fuck, but then I don’t get pissed about it; it’s more a sense of tragedy that nothing else is possible between animals with finite resources.

  42. Pteryxx says

    petrander: Thanks for linking to SATW! (that comic again: http://satwcomic.com/the-big-shame ) It’s got over 700 comments, with quite a few folks arguing sustainability, toxicity, whether the kill’s humane and whether whales are intelligent, often with citations or claims specific enough to be searched.

    More for my research hoard:

    - A talk abstract claiming that cetaceans developed big brains as heat production organs, therefore brain size doesn’t imply intelligence in cetaceans (my response: why should B follow from A?)

    http://www.ru.is/tvd/vidburdir/nr/26552

    - From the Feb 2012 AAAS conference, a Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans backed up with research evidence of their intelligence and culture,

    http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2012/webprogram/Session4617.html

    and I’m starting to follow up on research describing the symptoms and pathology of “capture shock” when cetaceans are restrained, pursued, or taken out of water.

    example: paper describing Capture Myopathy in a stranded dolphin, http://www.jwildlifedis.org/content/43/4/770.full

    The Whale Wars finale actually wasn’t very interesting from an action standpoint. The show devoted a lot of time to various influential Faroese people explaining their justifications and findings; most of which the Sea Shepherd volunteers couldn’t address, past falling back on “all whaling is wrong”. The intractable claims are that whales are not intelligent/only animals, and that the grind’s chase and killing are humane. I haven’t yet found a single instance of someone willing to consider that those points might be wrong; and if Sea Shepherd found anyone sympathetic to their side, it wasn’t in the show. (Twitter was full of calls to trash the filthy hippies.)

    One quote from the finale, as I recall: “If the whales are so intelligent, where are their hospitals? Where are their aeroplanes?”

  43. Pteryxx says

    *I stand corrected – I do see people willing to consider whether whales are intelligent and whether the Faroese method of killing is humane, and if that’d change their mind; and they’re SATW’s commenters. I’m really impressed by the discussion over there. (And I’ve saved about ten pages’ worth so far.)

    Here’s one from the middle. (The discussion’s from January 2012, kicked off by a trashy article unrelated to the current run of Whale Wars.)

    jaybird:

    A lot of people see my degree and profession and think I’m a “hippie” or a “terrorist” because that’s what groups like Sea Shepherd and the comments of some of you have led them to associate with “environmentally conscious” people. .. The biggest problem here is that the people “arguing” the most are the ones who really seem to be comparing apples to oranges. You really can’t compare two ethical frameworks or two schools of environmentalism and expect to agree exactly. Occasionally you might agree on an over-arching concept – survival of a human culture outweighs the killing of a few whales, whales have moral value because they have been shown to experience pain, a localized animal population’s loss is not significant if the impacts on the species’ global presence/gene pool is largely unaffected; BUT you will almost always disagree with what that conclusion means or what should be done about it.

    Quite honestly, I’m inclined to do far more serious research into this situation than to take such a poorly constructed and sensationalized article at face value. It would be like believing a tabloid article with grainy pictures and awful grammar. Culture, economy, nutrition, morality, the possibility of cruelty AND species survival are all important considerations and you really can’t have a solid “stance” on an issue until you can defend your position on all fronts.

  44. says

    One quote from the finale, as I recall: “If the whales are so intelligent, where are their hospitals? Where are their aeroplanes?”

    someone needs to watch Hitchhiker’s Guide, I see. sure, that was about dolphins, but it works out the same.

  45. says

    One quote from the finale, as I recall: “If the whales are so intelligent, where are their hospitals? Where are their aeroplanes?”

    There are of course, as in any debate, idiots on both sides.

  46. petrander says

    For the record: I am actually not a big fan of pilot whale killings or whale hunt in general, nor am I attacking mr Watson and his organization. I know too little of that particular situation. I am merely responding to what I percieve of as potential rationalizations or pseudo-arguments based on language, to which I try to contribute my particular knowledge of the area.

    When he is trying to convince English-speakers into believing that the Faroese themselves admit that it is murder, rather than just killing,

    I don’t see any evidence that he’s doing that.

    I meant to write “IF” instead of “WHEN”, because I haven’t seen the actual footage, so I did not mean to judge mr Watson.

    If people are aware of and not purposefully trying to twist the meaning of words, then I have nothing more to add.

  47. ChasCPeterson says

    strange pitbull: Here we are once again.
    No, I’m sorry, but I still differentiate between intellectually honest rational argument and conscious attempts to manipulate via rhetorical language tricks. (Call me naive, but from my perspective I’m quite sure that not all communication is purposeful manipulation–which is, as I know you know, what I’m talking about.)
    I haven’t been trying to manipulate you, or any other reader, at all. (Nor, I admit, have I tried very hard to convince anybody of anything via intellectually honest rational argument.)
    And no, it has little to do with me not liking the motive. I too find the Faroese pilot-whale hunt appalling in its scope and brutality; it would make me happy less unhappy if it were ended forever.

  48. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    No, I’m sorry, but I still differentiate between intellectually honest rational argument and conscious attempts to manipulate via rhetorical language tricks. (Call me naive, but from my perspective I’m quite sure that not all communication is purposeful manipulation–which is, as I know you know, what I’m talking about.)

    Yes, that’s profoundly naive, but it’s not the kind of naivity which will bring you harm, since it’s also profoundly self-serving.

    Of course it’s all purposeful; there isn’t any other way it could be. But I suggest the objection you meant to make is that it’s not always consciously deliberate.

    The line that you draw for differentiation is also self-serving, since it lets you consider yourself better than people who don’t draw exactly the same line. But it’s obvious to me that Watson is being intellectually honest since he is explicitly offering up his motivation.

    I haven’t been trying to manipulate you, or any other reader, at all.

    Wrong. If you didn’t want something here, you’d have already dropped out of what you consider a fucking stupid argument.

    (But please do understand that I’m not offended by your attempts at manipulation. You’re welcome to keep it up all week as far as I’m concerned.)

    And no, it has little to do with me not liking the motive. I too find the Faroese pilot-whale hunt appalling in its scope and brutality;

    Yeah, I already figured that from your comment about their intelligence; it reminded me something you said a while ago, possibly about great apes.

    I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer. The motives I assume you’re comparing are that near-pathological desire for accuracy that everyone still participating in this thread probably shares, versus whatever it is, born of my cynicism, that causes you to say “Here we are once again.”

  49. ChasCPeterson says

    heh, not just profoundly naive, but self-servingly so? *shrug*

    If you didn’t want something here, you’d have already dropped out

    Nah. My real reasons for posting reactionary comments here–what I’m actually ‘attempting’–have very little to do with ‘wanting something’, but even if they did it doesn’t follow that what I want is to ‘manipulate’ somebody.
    For example, I might just be acting out my near-pathological desire for accuracy.

    Watson is being intellectually honest since he is explicitly offering up his motivation

    Okay. Watson is explicitly offering up his motivation for deliberately twisting crafting his rhetoric; he clearly explains why he chose to be misleading in disguising an emotional appeal as a linguistic argument while building in sufficient plausible deniability.
    Kudos to him. He’s refreshingly honest about his flirtations with dishonesty. Give him a CLIO.

    Look here: Watson himself gets cheesed off about the same kind of word-games. Tu quoque! he sez.

  50. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    heh, not just profoundly naive, but self-servingly so? *shrug*

    Yes, it’s good for the individual to remain as unaware as possible of anything which could trigger negative self-judgment.

    Nah. My real reasons for posting reactionary comments here–what I’m actually ‘attempting’–have very little to do with ‘wanting something’, but even if they did it doesn’t follow that what I want is to ‘manipulate’ somebody. For example, I might just be acting out my near-pathological desire for accuracy.

    The pathological part is how it causes you — and me, I know, I share this tendency — to try to punish those who say things which contradict one’s own sense of accuracy.

    To accomplish this more effectively, you try to manipulate others into sharing both your view of what is accurate and your desire to punish. (Though the latter usually doesn’t take much effort; people are often eager to punish if they feel they’ve been slighted.)

    For if it were only about obtaining accuracy, and making it available to others, you’d already be done here. You’ve gotten the information you deem sufficient and you consider it well-available to everyone in this thread.

  51. petrander says

    Mord is the cognate.

    But drab and drap do mean murder.

    https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mord

    https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mord

    We may already be beyond this, but I didn’t feel this was explicitly addressed in the discussion above:

    Please notice that the Wikipedia articles describe “drap/drab” as the killing of another person. The Danish article state that it is “an act that causes another person’s death”. This does not necessarily mean “murder”, but can also mean “manslaughter”. Murder of course being intentional. Other forms of this act, like euthanasia, are also covered.

    The Norwegian article actually defines “drap” as intentional to start with, but also adds that the word “mord” can be used to describe “drap” in its most blatant and punishable form. It then describes different situations where “drap” would be less punishable or even acquittory. It mentions that “drap” that is well-planned and calculated as “cold-blooded murder”.

    This actually reinforces the notion that the more accurate translation of the term would be “killing” not “murder”. Clearly, there is a highly similar distinction between “drap” and “mord”, as there is between “killing” and “murder”.

    Now I don’t know if mr. Watson was aware of this distinction, when he made his infamous mis-translation, but as I understand he was aware at a later stage. If he didn’t retract the translation at that stage, then he is at best simply trying to save face. In my world, that is the kind of leaning-to-dishonest communication that I would expect from a politician. Well, he could also simply be in denial. In neither case does this paint a very positive picture of him in my eyes.

    Basically, people should man up and admit whenever they made mistake. Especially when that mistake causes people to be misled.