Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Noah's Ark found, yeah sure

Seen the latest round of 'hey, we found Noah's Ark' stuff in the news? If not, click here.

The scholars consulted on the article sound about like historical linguists when asked about Proto-World: Trying to be patient, but having to work at it.

So, language fans, next time you're asked about the latest claimed discovery of the Mother Tongue, just quote the Cornell archaeologist Peter Ian Kuniholm: the reported find is a "crock."

Image from here.


Jonathon said...

Is it just me, or is the repeated use of a bare percentage to indicate a degree of certainty a little odd?

"It's not 100 percent that it is Noah's Ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it."

I keep expecting a "sure" or "certain" after the "percent".

Mr. Verb said...

Actually, studies show that when numbers like this get thrown around that they indicate pseudo-scientific prose 97.8% of the time.

But in terms of saying '100%' rather than '100% certain', I think that's where current usage is at. I would write it the way you suggest but I'm sure I say it the short way often, esp. if it's '100%' -- maybe it's become a kind of fixed phrase meaning 'certain' or something.