Title text: Cue letters from anthropology majors complaining that this view of numerolinguistic development perpetuates a widespread myth. They get to write letters like that because when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time. Zing!
The comic parodies Sesame Street, an American children's TV show. The Count is a character in Sesame Street who teaches counting to viewers. The Count usually laughs after counting numbers, an innocent version of the sinister laugh that is a stereotype of old Hollywood horror films.
In the book One Two Three ... Infinity, the writer describes African tribes that only have words for numbers up to three and their inability to distinguish or comprehend larger numbers. The Pirahã language of Brazil was originally thought to only have numerical terms for one, two, and many, although it is now thought these words are relative terms like "few" rather than absolute terms like "one." Similarly, see Edmund Blackadder try to teach Baldrick to count beans. Also worth mentioning, some conlangs (Most notably Toki Pona with 0, 1, 2, 5, many), only have very limited number choice, while the Discworld's trolls are less limited than their contemporaries imagine and may even be linguistically related to whoever is behind the comic's Count.
In the title text Randall predicts that anthropology majors will write to complain that this view of primitive tribes is a myth no longer held true by today's anthropologists. He makes a jab at them saying they would have time to write letters to complain about things because they don't have to spend time doing real science and thus real research.
- [A television set with The Count from 'Sesame Street'.]
- The Count: One! Ah ah ah... Two! Ah ah ah... ...Many! ah ah ah...
- Primitive cultures develop Sesame Street.
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I think this is a reference to how many ancient cultures have three versions of grammatical, besides singular and plural, most early languages have dual as well, normally. 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I believe this is also a reference to the discworld universe, where the trolls have a base three number system which is mistaken to be primitive by most (basically one, two, many, many-one, many-two, many-many and so on)188.8.131.52 09:03, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
You are correct, Discworld gets the one two three reference from the one two three infinity by George Gamow. The line the Count uses in the comic is almost a direct quote in the first chapter about the primitive Hottentots tribe. The one other thing I failed to mention in my original creation of this page was the myth about vampires and OCD. That dropping seeds while fleeing vampires was a way to escape because they were forced to compulsively count the seeds. However I wasn't sure how many would remember the myth. Thank you for looking at this. Understudy (talk) 19:23, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
- So they are all counts not one Count?
- And the stake through the heart routine counts as well?
I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 21:45, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Actually, the Discworld trolls have a base four number system, not three. Sciepsilon (talk) 02:19, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Excellent, I have not read the series in many many years. Thank you for the information. Understudy (talk) 22:09, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Bold text 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I like that the TV has many channels. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I hope they send chain letters Elvenivle (talk)
There's a parody in this blog post. --18.104.22.168 06:17, 30 December 2016 (UTC)