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Re: *here* a history, *there* a history
At 10:13 26/6/98, Padraic Brown wrote:
>Thank you for realising the vast impact upon modern history of the USA!
Well, one would've to be pretty moronic not to notice it, methinks.
>That's been my point for months. There is no USA *there*,
No MacDonalds & no CocaCola I can live with - but no Laurel & Hardy? Ah
>_can not_ have the same history. I am in full agreement that it's the
>language itself that sparked my interest; but languages _die_ in a vacuum
>with no history and culture to shape them.
Possibly I've given the wrong message, so let me say straight away that I
have no problem with "alternate histories" or with those who wish to
"discover" them. It's just something that I personally cannot get
With language I understand the sorts of ways languages tend to develop
diachronically; I can recognize sound changes that are likely & unlikely
&c. &c. I have a fair knowledge of the way Romance langs have developed &
have some knowledge of Welsh. In other words, when Andrew was developing
the language I was on familiar territory & it was something I found
When I comes to 'alternate histories' things are different. I can indulge
in things like "What would've happened if Bony had won at Waterloo?" "What
would've happened if Richard III had defeated Henry Tudor?" "What would've
happened had Carthage defeated Rome?" &c. &c. But the differences between
the various THEREs and *here* soon start multiplying exponentially when I
try it and I'm soon in unknown territory, without landmarks & feeling
It's purely personal: with one exercise, 'alternate languages', I'm quite
at home & can get quite enthusiastic, but with the other, 'alternate
histories', I'm soon lost & foundering. But I have no problem with those
can handle 'alternate history'; indeed, I admire those who can carry it off
The only times I'm likely to jump in, so to speak, is if (a) someone says
something about history *here* which seems to me seriously incorrect or -
as in the remark which prompted this exchange - something which puzzles me,
or if (b) someone suggests an 'alternative history' which seems to me
highly implausible (e.g. Theravada Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka visiting
the Kemrese in the 6th century & converting them to Buddhism, or 7th
century Kemrese settlement along the Mississipi basin, or .....).
...but enough of my rant also.