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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 2:35 pm 
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Eddy the Great wrote:
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Linguistic diversity is terrible for people who can't learn foreign languages for some reason.

Linguistic diversity is a loss of time and energy.

I know that in the long run some languages and cultures would disappear, but IMO it would be a minor inconvenience.


What about that? That hardly seems like someone who is opposed to conformity.


That's a utilitarian view. Despite all its bluntness, I'd say it's true. Linguistic diverstity is a loss of time and energy, and if small languages die out, it's a minor inconvenience.

But then, many beautiful things are a loss time and energy, and when some obscure frog species becomes extinct somewhere in the Amazon rainforest, it's a minor inconvenience.

That said, I really think linguistic diversity is a good thing. I don't claim I have any logical reasons to this, just as I don't have any logical reasons to be worried about the fate of those frogs. (Yet, strangely, many people seem to think that being worried about frogs is completely logical while being worried about languages makes no sense.) My reasons are entirely sentimental, and I'm proud of that. Having emotions makes me feel human.

Yet, IMO, everyone has the right to choose their language(s). We shouldn't force anybody to speak a language against their will. However, we can, and I think we should, try to hinder the process of language death. I can bring myself to accept (but not share) an indifferent "let things run their course" view on the matter, though. But if somebody suggests we should try to accelerate the said process, then that's an offence - not mainly against me, but against anybody who still want's to speak an endangered language.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 3:22 pm 
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bicoherent wrote:
(Now that gives me an idea for a conlang based on the Chinook Jargon -- there's already Saiwosh, I know.)

It was a surprise to me when I realized that nobody else had made a conlang based on the Chinook Jargon. Perhaps other conlangers did, but AFAIK they didn't post their creations on the Internet. Keep us posted! :)

Tuomas Koukkari wrote:
That said, I really think linguistic diversity is a good thing. I don't claim I have any logical reasons to this, just as I don't have any logical reasons to be worried about the fate of those frogs. (Yet, strangely, many people seem to think that being worried about frogs is completely logical while being worried about languages makes no sense.) My reasons are entirely sentimental, and I'm proud of that. Having emotions makes me feel human.

We all love languages, otherwise we wouldn't be on this board. IMO an international auxiliary language would enable people to communicate with the rest of the world while preserving some linguistic diversity. I guess that in the long run, the 400 or so languages with written literatures would survive, but not the 5,000/6,000 ones which are spoken by small groups and almost never used in writing. They are very likely to disappear even faster under present political conditions anyway.

When a frog species disappears, life itself is weakened. Some species are resistant to diseases which kill closely related ones: for instance, AIDS is lethal to humans but not to our very close cousins the apes. Maintaining biological diversity is a vital necessity.

OTOH even if there was only one language left on the Earth, new languages would appear in the course of centuries if communications between human communities became difficult.

Dead languages can be resurrected if certain conditions are met. But no new animal species is likely to appear in our lifetimes, and dead species cannot be resurrected.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 3:49 pm 
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I pretty much agree with you, Legros, but I think 400 might be a small overesimation. About 150-200 seems more likely to me. Not that I base this on anything... If you actually did some estimates, ok.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:10 pm 
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zmeiat_joro wrote:
I pretty much agree with you, Legros, but I think 400 might be a small overesimation. About 150-200 seems more likely to me. Not that I base this on anything... If you actually did some estimates, ok.

I remembered the number from Michel Malherbe's "Les langages de l'humanit?" - and I couldn't find it in the book again tonight. However, according to this website there are about 100 / 200 written languages in the world, so you're probably right.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:53 pm 
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Legros: argh, now I feel really pressurized. :) I'll definitely keep everyone posted if I do come up with something. I promise!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:51 am 
Lebom
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Quote:
Legros said:
When a frog species disappears, life itself is weakened. Some species are resistant to diseases which kill closely related ones: for instance, AIDS is lethal to humans but not to our very close cousins the apes. Maintaining biological diversity is a vital necessity.

OTOH even if there was only one language left on the Earth, new languages would appear in the course of centuries if communications between human communities became difficult.

Dead languages can be resurrected if certain conditions are met. But no new animal species is likely to appear in our lifetimes, and dead species cannot be resurrected.


I disagree with this. When a species of frog disappears, then an opportunity arises for another species to move into that niche and (possibly) evolve into a new species.

Life evolves - it is conditioned to evolve, and make the best use it can of any opportunity that presents itself in the environment. While the range of environments is being narrowed through human activity (such as excessive logging in the tropics), it is also being expanded through human activity (cities and foxes, landfills and seagulls).

And evolution is happening today - a good example being the Corona virus that causes SARS. Or the regular evolution of the Influenza virus.

And while global warming is a worrying trend, it is not as if the planet hasn't been there before. The past few million years have been some of the coldest on record (thank you, Antarctica). Biodiversity in a colder global climate is more restricted, and species tend to be physically smaller - the giant mammals of the Paleogene Age were long gone before our ancestors learned to hunt in packs. A warmer climate may well lead to greater biodiversity in a few thousand years time.

As for language evolution, check out the spread of Estury English across England over the past 40 years - wouldn't it have been more logical for the English to be speaking a more American idiom, given the cultural impact of Hollywood et al? Yet the fastest growing dialect is one that many people sneer at, and teachers do their best to stamp out. I blame the kids, myself.

Just some thoughts.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 9:56 am 
Lebom
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Legros wrote:
Tuomas Koukkari wrote:
That said, I really think linguistic diversity is a good thing. I don't claim I have any logical reasons to this, just as I don't have any logical reasons to be worried about the fate of those frogs. (Yet, strangely, many people seem to think that being worried about frogs is completely logical while being worried about languages makes no sense.) My reasons are entirely sentimental, and I'm proud of that. Having emotions makes me feel human.

We all love languages, otherwise we wouldn't be on this board. IMO an international auxiliary language would enable people to communicate with the rest of the world while preserving some linguistic diversity. I guess that in the long run, the 400 or so languages with written literatures would survive, but not the 5,000/6,000 ones which are spoken by small groups and almost never used in writing. They are very likely to disappear even faster under present political conditions anyway.


Yes, that's probably the sad truth, and there isn't much we can to stop the process. I'm only saying that we should at least not try to accelerate it any further.

Legros wrote:
When a frog species disappears, life itself is weakened. Some species are resistant to diseases which kill closely related ones: for instance, AIDS is lethal to humans but not to our very close cousins the apes. Maintaining biological diversity is a vital necessity.


The Earth has survived mass extinctions before. We're nowhere close to what have been the worst situations. A single frog species shouldn't matter much. Yet I don't think that it's a good thing if it disappears - especially not if this is caused by human activity.

Legros wrote:
OTOH even if there was only one language left on the Earth, new languages would appear in the course of centuries if communications between human communities became difficult.


Possibly... But irrepairable damage would nonetheless have been done, and it would take thousands of years before there'd be anything even resembling present-day linguistic diversity.

Legros wrote:
Dead languages can be resurrected if certain conditions are met. But no new animal species is likely to appear in our lifetimes, and dead species cannot be resurrected.


That's not necessarily entirely true; there are experiments to resurrect some extinct animal species, and nobody can yet tell whether or not they'll succeed. But I'm not so sure if this whole point is very relevant. As I said, I'm only against wanting to reduce linguistic diversity.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 1:35 am 
Lebom
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Rik wrote:
Quote:
Legros said:
When a frog species disappears, life itself is weakened. Some species are resistant to diseases which kill closely related ones: for instance, AIDS is lethal to humans but not to our very close cousins the apes. Maintaining biological diversity is a vital necessity.

OTOH even if there was only one language left on the Earth, new languages would appear in the course of centuries if communications between human communities became difficult.

Dead languages can be resurrected if certain conditions are met. But no new animal species is likely to appear in our lifetimes, and dead species cannot be resurrected.


I disagree with this. When a species of frog disappears, then an opportunity arises for another species to move into that niche and (possibly) evolve into a new species.


In the long run, yes.

Rik wrote:
Life evolves - it is conditioned to evolve, and make the best use it can of any opportunity that presents itself in the environment. While the range of environments is being narrowed through human activity (such as excessive logging in the tropics), it is also being expanded through human activity (cities and foxes, landfills and seagulls).


That's true. But. We're creating a world-wide monoculture, as a few species which adapt well to human cities, notably rats, seagulls, and humans to name a few. This sucks, in the short run.

Hmm, I'm not being able to argue this effectively, logically at the moment. It's all sentimental. From my paleontologist point of view, it's all inconsequential. Mass extinctions open space for exciting new animal groups, in 10 million year or so. But, if we really send the world ecosystem into such a cascade, the chance that we ourselves survive it are not good. And I happen to like humans. Evolutionary pre-programming, you know.

From my more general biologist point of view, the loss of information and beauty, if nothing else, on that scale is a truly hideous thought.

Rik wrote:
And while global warming is a worrying trend, it is not as if the planet hasn't been there before. The past few million years have been some of the coldest on record (thank you, Antarctica).


That's absolutely true. Problem is, "global warming" is a bad name for it. It's more "climate destabilization". And the past few million years have been the least stabile climate on record. And we don't know how bad it's going to be, or what it's going to do. It's possible that plants will accelerate growth to absorb extra CO2 and drain it back down, returning to normal. It's also possible that plant respiration rates will go up even faster, leading to a poistive feedback cycle, producing more CO2.

It's possible global warming will warm the globe. But it's also possible it will send a rush of fresh water into the oceans from melting ice caps, disrupting salinity-driven ocean currents, shutting down a major global temperature regulation system, which could bury, say, London in ice in a few thousand years.

And its a process with great momentum. A lot of effects that are produced today will unfold over the next 50+ years. Which means even if we cut human modification of atmosphere composition right now, it would still get worse for quite a few decades, before even started to get better. And, of course, we're not cutting those processes right now, so it will be that much longer.

I truly believe that life will go on, what ever humans do, but its still up in the air whether humans will be around to see the recovery from the crisis.

But, it is instructive to look at Mars and Venus. Both once had favorable condidtions. Then something went terribly, terribly wrong on each planet. Positive feedback loops, runaway effect crashed each planet; something littel gets started, but its self reinforcing and eventually the you've got CO2 ice caps, or 460? (C) surface temperatures.

Those two and Earth are the only data points we have. By our limited knowledge, statistically, life-nurutring conditions on Earth should have crashed billions of years ago. They haven't, probably mostly because Earth has some significan advantages over Mars and Venus. But we don't have any guarantee how long that'll keep the Earth going.

No guarantees, and it behooves us, in this position of doubt to play it, at the very least, a lot safer than we are currently.

Rik wrote:
Biodiversity in a colder global climate is more restricted, and species tend to be physically smaller - the giant mammals of the Paleogene Age were long gone before our ancestors learned to hunt in packs. A warmer climate may well lead to greater biodiversity in a few thousand years time.


The giant mammals of the Paleogene were long gone, replaced by the giant mammals of the Neogene, and then they in turn were partially replaced by new giant mammals in the Pleistocene. Then our ancestors learned to hunt in packs. Were are the giant mammals now? Well, Africa. And one or two scattered elsewhere. But the megafaunas are gone, man. And it hasn't been for very long.

A warmer climate will probably lead to more biodiversity, but probably not in a few thousand years. Maybe ten thousand years. Maybe it'll take a lot longer, depending on what exactly happens. A more disrupted climate will not lead to greater biodiversity. The Permian-Triassic taught us that. Yes, every mass extinction has lead, eventually, to an explosion of exciting new forms and lineages. But on several occaisions, it has taken 10 Million years for diverstity to return to previous levels.

Sorry to come down so hard. I sympathize with your position, it's an easy position to come to, after studying a bit of paleo. But I think it's one that's born of half-knowledge, and that it is a dangerous one. At least to any future I want to see.

Tuomas Koukkari wrote:
The Earth has survived mass extinctions before. We're nowhere close to what have been the worst situations.


I disagree. The last 50,000 years (an fairly brief geologic time) have seen elevated levels of extinction noticable elevated from background levels. These rates have accelerated steadily over tha period. I think it is all to possible to see this developing into a Class 2 mass extinction. There are some estiamtes from pretty believable sources along the lines of 24% of mammals extinct in the next 30 years; and 50% (some estimate higher) of [i]all[i] animal species extinct in the next 100 years.

The other great apes could go in the next decade, from habitat loss and the bush meat trade. I don't know about you, but I'd have a hard time living with that.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:26 am 
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Aidan wrote:
But, it is instructive to look at Mars and Venus. Both once had favorable condidtions. Then something went terribly, terribly wrong on each planet. Positive feedback loops, runaway effect crashed each planet; something littel gets started, but its self reinforcing and eventually the you've got CO2 ice caps, or 460? (C) surface temperatures.

I wonder if Mars and Venus ended up the way they did because they evolved "intelligent" life? 8) I guess this must already have been thought of, so everyone who knows anything about the subject will have ten reasons off the top of their heads why it ain't so. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 1:41 pm 
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Aidan wrote:
Tuomas Koukkari wrote:
The Earth has survived mass extinctions before. We're nowhere close to what have been the worst situations.


I disagree. The last 50,000 years (an fairly brief geologic time) have seen elevated levels of extinction noticable elevated from background levels. These rates have accelerated steadily over tha period. I think it is all to possible to see this developing into a Class 2 mass extinction. There are some estiamtes from pretty believable sources along the lines of 24% of mammals extinct in the next 30 years; and 50% (some estimate higher) of [i]all[i] animal species extinct in the next 100 years.

The other great apes could go in the next decade, from habitat loss and the bush meat trade. I don't know about you, but I'd have a hard time living with that.


Ei jumalauta... (I had to use a Finnish swearword, because nothing I know in English would accurately describe my feelings right now). I'm shocked. I didn't know the situation was this bad (and I thought I had actually studied the matter a bit, but, obviously, I've been studying the wrong material or something).


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 8:00 pm 
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Ahribar wrote:
I guess this must already have been thought of, so everyone who knows anything about the subject will have ten reasons off the top of their heads why it ain't so. :)


Yeah, pretty much. They both spiralled off out of control pretty early in the history of the solar system. It's doubtful that they have ever supported anything more complex than bacteria, if that. And, especially Mars, it's pretty likely that we would have seen fairly easily confirmed archaeological signs if any civilization had ever existed. Though Venus, we probably wouldn't have, considering its universal cloud cover, and infernal surface conditions.

Tuomas Koukkari wrote:
Ei jumalauta... (I had to use a Finnish swearword, because nothing I know in English would accurately describe my feelings right now). I'm shocked. I didn't know the situation was this bad (and I thought I had actually studied the matter a bit, but, obviously, I've been studying the wrong material or something).


In my dialect of English, the phrase is "holy shit" :?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:19 am 
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Aidan wrote:
In my dialect of English, the phrase is "holy shit" :?


Well not quite. If holy shit is :x then "ei jumalauta" is more like :evil: .


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:00 am 
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If people would learn English as well as their own one:
This could happen as it is but it doesn't because not everyone has a particular want to communicate with English speakers and not everyone can be arsed even if they feel like it. There is no shortage of resources for learning English and the people who don't learn English now aren't likely to be able to learn it any easier if it was obligatory.
You'd just be forcing people to do what they can do now by choice.

If people would learn English and forget their own one: If everyone would speak English, loads of people would lose words for their religion, social structure . If they would include these concepts into English, they wouldn't be speaking English anymore; they'd be speaking an English creole. English does include many loanwords to describe other cultures but it is never enough for said cultures to describe themselves, only for them to be described by outsiders because the semantics, probably the most imortant part of any language, are different.

Legros wrote:
1. Linguistic diversity is terrible for people who can't learn foreign languages for some reason. Just imagine how a Hmong monolingual must feel in the USA... In Mauritius, Creole monolinguals can't read newspapers or books and are in fact barred from clerical jobs, their language having no official status.
That's the fault of the institutions barring them from the jobs, not the fault of linguistic diversity.

Legros wrote:
3. Linguistic diversity hinders political unity. For example: Europe, again.
So? Lack of political unity has hardly done much bad to Europe.

Legros wrote:
There are American-style shopping malls even in non-English-speaking countries. And Britney Spears albums are bought all over the world by people who can't understand the lyrics. I don't think that shopping malls and certain musical styles would be necessary consequences of English as an international auxiliary language. The spread of those cultural traits has other causes.
Having a separate language does not prevent other people cultures from influencing your own. But it does prevent people's own one from disappearing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:14 pm 
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I personally think it would be best if people wrote in and spoke to each other in formal situations in a constructed language. They could add in as many idioms as they wanted but could only use the standard version in schools, law and the major media.
At home people should be able to speak (or sign) whatever they wish. The issue with linguistic diversity is that while it may be fun for a conlanger or a language buff, it is inconvenient for the average person when they travel who just wants to be able to book a hotel. Furthermore, most science is in English, which proves that-at least in some areas-a single language can almost completely replace all others. And finally, if everything was written in the standard language then if one knew that language everyone who loved languages would be able to read about other languages' without having to learn an intermediate language... I have personal experience with this from trying to get Chinantec roots for my conlang, but having the only online dictionary (I can't afford interlibrary loans in my city to get the actual book) be bilingual in Spanish and Chinantec... So I translate the Spanish on the Internet into Spanish and then search the dictionary for the Chinantec. Obviously, this is prone to error.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:47 am 
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The issue with constructed languages is that while it may be fun for a conlanger or a language buff, they are inconvenient for the average person doing anything.

Most people do not in their everyday lives spend most of their time travelling. And those that do might just actually go and try and learn the language(s) of the place(s) they go to. They spend most of their time with others who speak the same languages as they do. You don't need to teach all French people Esperanto or whatever when almost everything they're going to do in a day where they need to know a language involves French anyway.

abeygail wrote:
most science is in English,
Prove it.

abeygail wrote:
And finally, if everything was written in the standard language then if one knew that language everyone who loved languages would be able to read about other languages' without having to learn an intermediate language...

But they wouldn't be able to read in the other languages which is also important if you're wanting to actually be fluent in the language while you're not in a country that speaks it. And there's probably many more people who try to practise or learn a language than there who try to learn about them.

Anyway, that's just the way things are. Only some people will decide to write about a certain topic and some topics are more popular to write about than others. Unpopular topics might only be written about in one language. If people have to learn an intermediate language in order to read something, why make everyone do so and not just those who want to learn about the topic and why not make the intermediate language the language of the writer instead of some IAL?

abeygail wrote:
(I can't afford interlibrary loans in my city to get the actual book)
Couldn't you just walk or take the bus to whichever other library does have the book and get it out there?
How much does interlibrary loans cost anyway?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:49 am 
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Wow.... I can't believe this thread still exists. And it looks like I was one stubborn bone-headed kid. :?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:09 pm 
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Ran wrote:
Wow.... I can't believe this thread still exists. And it looks like I was one stubborn bone-headed kid. :?


That's what I hate about the L&L Museum. In the other forums (except Almea iirc) your youthful stupidity is pruned eventually. Here, it's saved for all eternity.

I would be more than willing to recreate a number of the threads in here that I participated in if the other posters were willing to help :)

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 Post subject: Re: Linguistic Diversity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Post deleted due to retardedness.
Still visible below.

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Last edited by Zumir on Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Linguistic Diversity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:50 pm 
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Zumir wrote:
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Really, my ultimate goal is to have the world speaking a constructed language designed to make people think more clearly, rather than a natural human language like English, which has a lot of problems.

...And Whorfianism rears it's ugly head.

(although who knows, what with Pirahan and all. I'll have to keep my eye on that.)


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:41 am 
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Mecislau wrote:
Ran wrote:
Wow.... I can't believe this thread still exists. And it looks like I was one stubborn bone-headed kid. :?


That's what I hate about the L&L Museum. In the other forums (except Almea iirc) your youthful stupidity is pruned eventually. Here, it's saved for all eternity.

I would be more than willing to recreate a number of the threads in here that I participated in if the other posters were willing to help :)
And then, in seven years, regret your present stupidity as well? :P

Welcome to the world of academia (the JSTOR part of it in particular). :P

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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:56 am 
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Serafín wrote:
Mecislau wrote:
Ran wrote:
Wow.... I can't believe this thread still exists. And it looks like I was one stubborn bone-headed kid. :?


That's what I hate about the L&L Museum. In the other forums (except Almea iirc) your youthful stupidity is pruned eventually. Here, it's saved for all eternity.

I would be more than willing to recreate a number of the threads in here that I participated in if the other posters were willing to help :)
And then, in seven years, regret your present stupidity as well? :P

Welcome to the world of academia (the JSTOR part of it in particular). :P

Really, welcome to the internet.


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