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Peer review and Salo's "Gateway to Sindarin"

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    From Dorothea Salo s blog of this date (
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 30, 2004
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      From Dorothea Salo's blog of this date
      (<http://cavlec.yarinareth.net/archives/2004/08/30/heuristics-and-
      wikipedia/>):

      > David's book got peer-reviewed; I watched the process. It's a much
      > better book because of the reviewers.

      Just who, we wonders, were these "peer reviewers"? Did anyone with
      sufficient competency in Tolkienian linguistics review this book?
      (Aside, perhaps, from Helge Fauskanger, who we already know parrots
      David Salo in all things "Sindarin", and so hardly constitutes an
      objective reviewer.) Or was it simply a matter of the press lobbing the
      book at some random non-Tolkienian academics, who might easily be
      impressed by the form and (apparent) scope of the book, but have
      insufficient familiarity and competency with the facts and literature
      of Tolkienian linguistics to make any relevant criticism of David's
      methods and conclusions? As Dorothea herself goes on to note:

      > peer review substitutes somebody else's reputation and
      > hastily-formed-and-delivered opinion for the wretched and impossible
      > task of going over the author's work with a microscope

      So did David get merely someone's less-than-informed, and
      "hastily-formed-and-delivered opinion"; or did someone both objective
      and competent actually "go over" his work? In other words, did David's
      book receive an actual review by actual peers, or was it basically
      rubber-stamped by unknowing academics outside the field?

      Dorothea claims to have "watched the process", and that it is "a much
      better book because of the reviewers"; inviting the question: how so?
      Did David actually modify his ideas about "Sindarin" in any way as a
      result of the reviews? Or did he merely correct typos and fix awkward
      wordings to better accommodate a lay audience? Perhaps Dorothea could
      enlighten the rest of us as to its nature, so that we could judge its
      efficacy.


      --
      =============================================
      Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

      ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.
      The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
    • finsen@powerup.com.au
      It could be that it was actually reviewed by qualified linguists rather than hobbyists? caio Graeme ... This message was sent through MyMail
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 30, 2004
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        It could be that it was actually reviewed by qualified linguists rather than hobbyists?

        caio
        Graeme


        >
        > > David's book got peer-reviewed; I watched the process. It's a much
        > > better book because of the reviewers.
        >
        > Just who, we wonders, were these "peer reviewers"?

        <snip>


        This message was sent through MyMail http://www.mymail.com.au
      • Carl F. Hostetter
        Perhaps, as I in fact allowed. But that s rather my point, isn t it? Being a qualified linguist does not mean that one has any familiarity at all with the
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 30, 2004
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          Perhaps, as I in fact allowed. But that's rather my point, isn't it?
          Being a "qualified linguist" does not mean that one has any familiarity
          at all with the scope, data, and literature of Tolkienian linguistics.
          And anyone without these qualifications can hardly qualify as a "peer
          reviewer" for a work on Tolkienian linguistics.

          Carl

          ------------

          On Aug 30, 2004, at 8:23 PM, <finsen@...> wrote:

          > It could be that it was actually reviewed by qualified linguists
          > rather than hobbyists?
          >
          > caio
          > Graeme
          >
          >
          >>
          >>> David's book got peer-reviewed; I watched the process. It's a much
          >>> better book because of the reviewers.
          >>
          >> Just who, we wonders, were these "peer reviewers"?
        • falmarendur
          ... rather than hobbyists? ... I think that a qualyfied linguist isn t the same that a person who knows about Tolkienian languages: you don t need to be a
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 30, 2004
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            --- In elfling-d@yahoogroups.com, <finsen@p...> wrote:
            > It could be that it was actually reviewed by qualified linguists
            rather than hobbyists?
            >
            I think that a qualyfied linguist isn't the same that a person who
            knows about Tolkienian languages: you don't need to be a ling├╝ist to
            know about them.
            The only work that a linguist could make there is to correct
            ortographic errors from the english text, so the tolkienian texts
            should be overviewed by someone else than David Salo
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