English Language and Creationism/ Englische Sprache: Gott unschuldig

Language Log (Geoff Pullum) berichtet, in Kansas wird schon wieder unterrichtet, dass die englische Sprache vor 500 Jahren von Gott erschaffen wurde (er hat sich wohl einiges von Deutsch und Französisch abgeguckt). Die Theorie heißt “intelligentes Design“. Allerdings sind keine Linguistik-Experten bereit, als Zeugen aufzutreten:

bq. Six years ago, when conservatives previously held a majority of seats on the Kansas board of education, they established guidelines encouraging schools to give equal time to the theory of linguistic creationism, which claims that English was created directly by God five hundred years ago at the start of the Great Vowel Shift so that the King James Bible could be translated into it. But this triggered a backlash, and they lost control of the board, which repealed the guidelines. Now that conservatives are back in a majority position, they are instead promoting the teaching of the intelligent design theory. But linguists are not willing to appear at their scheduled hearings on the subject.

Many of my students of English would have disagreed that the English language was the result of intelligent design.

Meanwhile, in a parallel development, recent events have cast doubt on the suggestion from Texas that Tony Blair is the result of intelligent design.

Spätere Anmerkung / Later note:
Apparently this story is not true, but was invented by Geoff Pullum as a joke (see comments on TEFL Smiler). It just proves that not only do many Americans have strange ideas about Britain and Germany, but I have strange ideas about the USA.

9 thoughts on “English Language and Creationism/ Englische Sprache: Gott unschuldig

  1. I definitely never heard about that theory before but it made me laugh quite a bit.
    What is next? Britain was created by God as a by-product while practising the creation of the American continent?

  2. Thanks Margaret, for clarifying this. It could have well been true considering the US movement against evolution theory in schools. I wasn’t that much surprised when I read it, really.

  3. ha. :)
    i fell for it just as well… and i was born in the place. entirely believable story. actually i’ve seen nuttier which *were* verfied and true.

  4. Hanning: Mark Liberman says that is probably an urban legend:

    >>”Ma” Ferguson is an especially unlikely person to have taken such a position seriously, since she had a college degree (from Baylor), and campaigned against the KKK and against prohibition. In the 1890s, a degree from Baylor would have meant pretty much the full-scale traditional classical education; and even before that, anyone trained on the McGuffey’s readers that were universally used in American primary schools would have understood that the different parts of the Bible had originally been written in other languages.

    Thus Ma Ferguson was unlikely in the first place to have held the opinion that Carter’s speechwriter atributes to her, and also not so likely to have used the argument, at least not seriously.

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