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David Salo and scholarly integrity on Elfling

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    In Elfling post 27459 ( ), David Salo flatly asserts, _inter alia_, that the Sindarin word _certhas_ is
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 11, 2003
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      In Elfling post 27459
      (<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/27459>), David Salo
      flatly asserts, _inter alia_, that the Sindarin word _certhas_ is
      "inadmissible ... as a plural", and futher that:

      "The last time I had this discussion, my interlocutor (eventually)
      admitted that _certhas_ must in fact be construed as singular".

      Item 2 of the "Posting Guidelines" for Elfling
      (<http://www.yarinareth.net/David/elfling.html>) states:

      "When you make arguments, please do your best to base your arguments on
      facts (either documentary evidence, or well-argued inductive or
      deductive proof)."

      I insist that the moderators of Elfling require David either to provide
      evidence for his assertion regarding the claimed "admission" of his
      unnamed "interlocutor", or to admit that it is false. David must not be
      permitted to misrepresent the arguments of others without challenge, or
      otherwise to argue solely from his (assumed) authority. If David's
      claimed "admission" is real, it should be easy for him to quote it and
      point us to where the statement is archived. If he cannot or will not,
      then he is renouncing scholarship in favor of convenient untruth.

      For the record -- which David seems anxious that no one else discover
      -- the entire discussion David refers to is conveniently archived at:

      http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/misc/local/TolkLang/messages/Vol41/

      with a little bit at the end carried over from there to Elfling by
      David beginning at:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elfling/message/7371

      As anyone who cares about the truth can confirm for themselves from
      this archive, no one "admitted" that _certhas_ is singular, because
      that was never at issue. Instead, the issue was that Christopher Gilson
      proposed that _certhas_ might have arisen from *_certhath_ by
      dissimilation (as one can see from David's own initial post in this
      thread,
      <http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/misc/local/TolkLang/messages/Vol41/41.01>;
      which proposal David at first dismissed out of hand, arguing that since
      all the nouns in _-ath_ in his (incomplete, selective) list of such
      forms are (he asserted) plural, then _certhas_, which he asserted is
      singular, cannot have any connection with _-ath_. This assertion is
      contradicted by Tolkien's own statement (_Letters_ p.427) that:

      "_ath_ ... was a collective or group suffix, and the nouns so formed
      [were]
      _originally singulars_. But they were later treated as pl[ural]s,
      especially
      when applied to people(s)." (Emphasis mine.) _Letters_ 427.

      In fact, even David came to admit that it is _not impossible_ that
      _certhas_ arose by dissimilation from *_certhath_ (unlike David, I am
      happy to provide the reference for my claim, because it actually
      exists):

      "I do not say it is *impossible*."
      (<http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/misc/local/TolkLang/messages/Vol41/41.11>)

      So in fact the only one who "eventually admitted" anything was David
      himself. Despite his current, unsupported and unsupportable attempt at
      misrepresentation and historical revisionism.

      I trust that the moderators of Elfling will correct this blatant breech
      both of scholarship and of the guidelines of Elfling.
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