[Indo-Eurasia] **The Farmer-Sproat-Witzel Model

gruenendahl gruenen at MAIL.SUB.UNI-GOETTINGEN.DE
Thu Feb 8 17:13:24 UTC 2007

Dear George
thank you for your comment and the example, which I found informative.

I think we have to distinguish between format and contents. As for the former, I find 
the very idea of "moderation" problematic, not just because you can overdo it. But 
that's the decision of the individual list founder/owner, and others just have the 
choice between taking or leaving it, I guess. 

> Notice that the post is preceded by a moderator's note from Farmer that 
> exceeds the length of the quoted passage, and notice too that it 
> concludes with a long essay by Farmer, rebutting Mahadevan, (...)

Well, the example you cite (#6030) seems to me a special one in that it's not a post 
by Mahadevan (or a member of the list), augmented with the moderator's comments 
(usually much shorter, if my limited experience with that list is anything to go by). 
Actually it's a post by Farmer himself (who temporarily puts on the moderator's hat), 
and if you aks me, he, like anybody else, should have the right to comment a 
chosen quote as extensively as he sees necessary. In short, the ratio 
Farmer/Mahadevan in Farmer's post seems to me less problematic than you 
suggest. Had it been a post by Mahadevan, I would have agreed with you.

Now to contents. Without going into the details of the debate, I think there is a lot 
that speaks in favour Farmer's position. Let's just take Mahadevan's reference to 
"linguistic features" (Farmer's first quote), the complex prehistory of which alone 
would be enough to account for the length of Farmer comment, I think. Farmer et al. 
have treated these "linguistic features" -- actually the crucial point of the question 
"script/non-script" -- at some length, only to be told by Mahadevan that "it is difficult 
to take [their] new theory seriously (...)". And as far as I can see, that's all he has to 
say on that, apart from references to Hunter et al., which, as Farmer argues, are not 
only outdated but also not pertinent to the issue.

> In short, Mahadevan has been refuted even before he is invited to wade 
> into this "debate."

It follows from the above that the envisaged debate would not start from scratch. 
But that holds for both parties, I think.

Sorry, but up to this point I cannot agree with your criticism.

Reinhold Grünendahl


Dr. Reinhold Gruenendahl
Niedersaechsische Staats- und Universitaetsbibliothek
Fachreferat sued- und suedostasiatische Philologien
(Dept. of Indology)

37070 Goettingen, Germany
Tel (+49) (0)5 51 / 39 52 83
Fax (+49) (0)5 51 / 39 23 61
gruenen at mail.sub.uni-goettingen.de

In English:

GRETIL - Goettingen Register of Electronic Texts in Indian Languages

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