Re: Ad Yurii Gloriam (Yuri Selectively Quotes - AGAIN!)
Peter van Rossum (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fri, 17 Jan 1997 12:15:31 GMT
In article <email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (Yuri Kuchinsky) writes:
>> >And here, I would like to quote for you from a relatively new publication.
>> >ISLANDS, PLANTS, AND POLYNESIANS: AN INTRODUCTION TO POLYNESIAN
>> >ETHNOBOTANY, Paul Cox and Sandra Banack, eds, Portland, 1991. In the
>> >article POLYNESIAN PLANT NAMES, Karl H. Rensch writes:
>> >"I do not intend to go back to the question of whether the word _kumara_
>> >[signifying sweet potato, _Ipomoea_], which has reflexes in most
>> >Polynesian langauges, is of South American Indian origin. The case for it
>> >has been proven beyond doubt (Yen 1974)" (p. 98)
>> >So how about you try this one on for size, Domingo?
>> Been there, done that,
>I didn't know your name was Domingo...
Oh sorry, I didn't know only Domingo was allowed to answer. Next time I'll
be politer and raise my hand and wait till you call on me.
>Not relevant? Baloney! The sweet potato and the maize diffusions reinforce
>each other wonderfully...
WRONG, saying it enough times doesn't make it so.
>But perhaps Peter misunderstood? This article by Rensch that I quoted
>from is _new research_. Rench establishes, based on linguistic analysis
>of the word _kumara_, and its congnates, that, and I quote:
>"...the sweet potato reached Polynesia at least twice: once via a
>northern route through Hawaii under the guise of *kuara/*kuala, and once
>via a southern route under the guise of *kumara, with Easter Island as
>its point of entry. In both places a great number of varieties of the
>sweet potato is attested. As Polynesisans propagated the sweet potatoes
>through cuttings, the new varieties came about through a very slow
>process of vegetative mutation, pointing to antiquity of cutivation." (p.
Oh boy, another example of selective quoting. Let's look at some more of
what Rensch says:
The full quote above should be:
"We are now more confident to promote the hypothesis that
the sweet potato reached Polynesia at least twice: once via a
northern route through Hawaii under the guise of *kuara/*kuala, and once
via a southern route under the guise of *kumara, with Easter Island as
its point of entry. In both places a great number of varieties of the
sweet potato is attested. As Polynesisans propagated the sweet potatoes
through cuttings, the new varieties came about through a very slow
process of vegetative mutation, pointing to antiquity of cutivation." (p.
Notice that "more confident to promote the hypothesis" at the start, he
doesn't say his analysis unequivocally demonstrates the case. And below
he goes on to say:
"Returning to the theme of this paper - 'linguistic analysis, expectations
and limitations' - it would perhaps be too much to expect that a linguistic
study of species names and the naming strategies can supply a definite
answer to the question of long-dating cultivation and the spread of the
sweet potato into Polynesia. It will, however, within the constraints of
its analytical approach, arrive at an explanatory hypothesis which can be
critically evaluated against evidence from other ethnobotany-related disciplines
and thus contribute to the advancement of our knowledge about the issue."
Golly shucks, Yuri, seems like you've done it again - using a quote selectively
to make it appear more certain than it really is. Yes Rensch thinks his
analysis supports the Precolumbian human introduction of the sweet potato
but he stops short of saying he's conclusively demonstrated it - it takes
folks like you to try to make it appear he has.
Better luck next time,
Peter van Rossum