George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Mon Feb 23 00:14:11 UTC 1998

I have been overburdened by other responsibilities, and I regret not being
able to participate in the recent discussion. However, perhaps it is not
too late to make an observation, and a suggestion.

In spite of what may have been suggested or implied, the question of the
Aryan migration should not be understood as a dispute between indigenous
scholars as opposed to alien, i.e., European or Western, scholars. No. The
recent posts of M. Deshpande and B. Krishnamurti show that such a division
is wrong.

Since this is a scholarly list, we all have a responsibility to try to make
ourselves reasonably informed about the issues raised. Of course, all
members of the list can and should feel free to solicit opinions or advice
from ziSTas. We also all have a certain right [and even a responsibility!]
to challenge these ziSTas when we are persuaded that they are wrong. But
there is a reasonable expectation that all list members will make some
effort to be informed about the issues that they debate on the list.

Clearly, some members of the list need to pick up an introductory book on
linguistics and read it. There are ziSTas on the list who could recommend
good ones. But beyond that, it might be reasonable to expect that an
extended discussion like the recent one on "linguistics" should be focussed
on a particular issue concerning linguistics, rather than on blanket
assertions about the general inadequacies of linguistics, etc.

A modest proposal: perhaps we can discipline ourselves to focus future
discussions around particular issues and particular texts. It seems to me
that this "linguistics" thread would have been far more useful if we had
all agreed at some point to focus our debate on a key article or book.
Perhaps we could collectively decide to read a particular article by
Schaffer or Witzel or Hock or Parpola or Deshpande or Aklujkar or
Krishnamurti, and use this as the focal point of a debate.

We need to find a way to make this list more rigorous.

Best wishes,

George Thompson

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