Dec. 9th, 2015

bloodyrosemccoy: (Elocution)
There's this one guy at work who categorically refuses to believe anything I say. He's a nice enough fellow and I actually suspect that he sort of respects me because we do have interesting conversations, but he suffers from the kind of know-it-allism that makes him unwilling to talk about things where he doesn't have the conversational advantage, so he just outright denies it.

So about a year ago the subject of linguistics came up,* and he made a bunch of sweepingly uninformed statements about how sound change works. I tried to gently correct him and share some cool information--based on my being a hobby linguist since I was a tween and, y'know, the degree I have in it--chatting about the ways historical linguistics can reconstruct protolanguages. Unfortunately, everything I said got dismissed with "That sounds like a THEORY to me,"** along with demands that I cite my sources and questioning "how they know" what languages used to be like and then ignoring my answers. I made a brief attempt at engaging him Man-Style in order to gain the upper hand, but he simply REFUSED to believe that historical linguistics was a possible realm of study, and then it occurred to me that I didn't care and so I decided to stick with talking horror movies with him.*** I think he felt bad because he apologized for being obnoxious, but still remained skeptical of my "generalizations" while ignoring the fact that he'd just made a bunch himself.

Anyway today he casually mentioned that he's now trying to reconstruct Proto-Indo-European for a story he's writing.

I considered rubbing in that he's just obliquely admitted that he now was patently following all the stuff he'd been "skeptical" about when I'd said it. Maybe I should have. But while he seems to view conversation as a friendly competition, I don't, so instead I just gave him a couple of resources that might help him out, because I am a HELPER. I'm curious to see what he comes up with, but I also am going to have to remind myself that conversations with him will be kind of combative, so I'm prepared next time.

*I don't know if I've mentioned this once or twice before, but we at the Space Place are a bunch of nerds.

**Which is an extra kind of maddening for someone working in a science museum. YOU SHOULD KNOW WHAT "THEORY" MEANS, DAMMIT.

***I also remembered that he had previously been bizarrely skeptical when I OFFERED him several fucking sources off the top of my head about synesthesia being, y'know, a thing.


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