Áltudományos szövegek eszközei a meggyőzés szolgálatában

Helynévmagyarázatok laikus megítélésének empirikus vizsgálata

  • Mariann Slíz ELTE Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem
  • Dávid Wendl ELTE Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem
  • Kitti Hauber ELTE Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, HUN-REN Nyelvtudományi Kutatóközpont
Kulcsszavak: helynevek, áltudományosság, etimológia, téves etimológiák és értelmezések, nem tudományos magyarázatok hitelessége, történeti névkutatás


Methods of persuasion used in pseudoscientific texts. An empirical study of lay perceptions of the linguistic interpretation of place names

The aim of this paper, which presents research conducted within the Onomastics Students’ Workshop at ELTE, is to investigate the effectiveness of the persuasion techniques employed in pseudoscientific arguments (in this case, place-name interpretations). Two of these are commonly used in any pseudoscientific context (invoking non-scientific authority and the use of seemingly scientific terms), and two are specific to the study of language and onomastics (the effect of pseudoscientific theories on the language family of a language and mentioning the historical changes in the name). A questionnaire survey of high school students at four research sites nationwide seeks to discover the extent to which lay language users are influenced by each of these factors in determining the scientific validity of place-name etymologies. The results show that the use of seemingly scientific terms has an influential effect, but that the persuasive power of appeals to pseudoscientific (or even fictitious but apparently academic) authority is more significant. It has also been shown that the choice of a name interpretation associated with pseudoscientific theories of linguistic genealogy does not necessarily imply identification with the claims and ideology of these theories: many respondents chose these interpretations due to the influence of other factors. In connection to reflecting on changes in a name form, the results show that critical thinking is not enough, if not coupled with deep knowledge.

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