----- Original Message -----
From: <tgpedersen@...>
To: <Nostratica@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 11:30 AM
Subject: [Nostratica] Re: Gerry!

> Erh, have you done much travelling in the USA, Piotr? You shouldn't be so surprised. Gerry's ideas of European geography is rather the standard view of most Americans.

I could certainly quote some anecdotal stuff from my own experience (like the astounding question I heard from a Utah-born Californian: "Do you still have any Native Europeans in Europe?"). Nevertheless, since I'm not sure about the statistics of ignorance, I prefer to ascribe such ideas and attitudes to individuals rather than nations. There are already more than enough national stereotypes in circulation. I know quite a few profoundly ignorant Europeans and quite a few polymath Americans.

Incidentally, there's this BIT thing (British Invasion Theory), which ascribes the origin of the American language to a migration or a series of migrations from the British Isles in relatively recent times (that would make American a descendant of British English, which is absurd: everybody knows that American English is more archaic -- all the etymological /r/'s are pronounced there, etc.). Needless to say, there are plenty of extralinguistic arguments against the BIT as well. How could a handful of migrants colonise such a vast country in such a short time? And how could they forget so quickly all about the place where they allegedly came from? :-))