Linguistics ‘Hall of Shame’ 30

October 20, 2013

Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues.

30: SUSAN B. MARTINEZ

Susan B. Martinez is unusual among advocates/users of blatantly non-standard methods in comparative historical linguistics in that she has a semi-relevant PhD (in Anthropology, from Columbia) and indeed a specialisation in ethnolinguistics. Perhaps she has never studied the specifically HISTORICAL aspects of the discipline, but even then her approach (nowadays typical only of untutored amateurs) is surprising. If she IS familiar with historical linguistics but REJECTS mainstream thinking on the methodology of the subject, she should state this openly and should ARGUE for her own position.

Martinez’s shift away from mainstream thought (on linguistic and other issues) seems to be connected with her discovery in 1981 of the ‘Oahspe Bible’ (one could usefully start at http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oahspe:_A_New_Bible), a tome produced in 1882 by John Ballou Newbrough by way of automatic writing. This work represents itself as containing new revelations from ‘the Embassadors of the angel hosts of heaven prepared and revealed unto man in the name of Jehovih’. Much of the Oahspe material involves non-standard accounts of early human history. Martinez embraced these notions and they occupy a central place in her subsequent work, where there are many specific references to the Oahspe text as if it were historically authoritative

Oahspe itself contains some strange linguistic material: it is connected with ‘Mantong’ as promoted by Richard Shaver (see ‘Fringe Historical Linguistics 5’, this blog, 26 March 2012, and pp. 102-103 of my 2013 book Strange Linguistics as advertised below), and the text begins with a three-page glossary of ‘strange words used in this book’; these are a peculiar mixture of known words and phrases from English (such as angel) or other human languages (such as Abracadabra) – many of them re-defined in Oahspian terms – and unfamiliar words.

Martinez’s material can most readily be found in her book Lost History Of The Little People: Their Spiritually Advanced Civilizations around the World (available on Amazon). Here she argues that Homo sapiens originated in ‘pygmy’/’negrito’ form and that this ‘lost race’ was later forced out of its homeland on the continent of Pan (‘lost’ in a major flood in early historic times) and was in due course marginalised by its taller offshoots, who came to misperceive their predecessors as supernatural beings (fairies, leprechauns, etc.).

Martinez supports this position with data drawn from various disciplines (archaeology, ethnology, etc.), but there is an especially heavy focus upon comparative linguistics; she traces many key features of known languages to an ancestral language ‘Panic’ used by the pygmies. Like most amateurs advancing such proposals, Martinez proceeds by equating unsystematically and superficially similar words (often very short words, which makes chance similarity especially likely) and (also very short) word-parts (morphemes or putative morphemes, syllables, etc.) from a wide range of languages which are normally considered not to be ‘genetically’ related (except perhaps in ‘deep’ pre-history) and to have had no influential contact with each other. (See my earlier instalments in ‘Fringe Historical Linguistics’ and Chapter 1 of my book on the objections to such methods.)

Martinez’s academic background (which is ‘upfront’; unlike most legitimate scholars, she advertises her PhD on the cover of her book) may mislead some readers not versed in linguistics into taking her linguistic material seriously. However, whatever may be said for the rest of her material, Martinez’s linguistic equations, specifically, CANNOT be taken seriously. Examples of these equations include: the derivation of very many sequences in many languages including -in- from a Panic word ihin (referring to the pygmies themselves); similar derivations involving ong/ang (‘light from above’), su (‘spirit’), ba (‘small’), etc.; and the proposing of novel Panic-based etymologies for familiar words with very well-established etymologies, such as the Spanish word pan (‘bread’) with its very clear Latin etymology; etc., etc.

For Martinez’s career, see http://www.justenergyradio.com/archive-pages/smartinez.htm.

I propose to review Martinez’s book at greater length in the British skeptical press (I will post a reference as & when).

More next time!

Mark

For my book Strange Linguistics, see:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=64212

Copies are available through me at the author’s 50% discount, for EU 26.40 including postage to anywhere outside Germany. Please let me know if you’d like one, suggest means of payment (Paypal is possible) and provide your preferred postal address.


Linguistics ‘Hall of Shame’ 29

October 13, 2013

Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues (a short one this time!).

29: WILLIAM EMPSON

In his book The Structure of Complex Words , 2nd edn (Cambridge, MA, 1989), William Empson focuses upon the complex ‘play’ of semantically rich and variable words such as English man and in the ensuing potential for confused thinking.

Such ideas are by no means without interest; similar material can be found in the work of mainstream linguists. However, Empson’s own grasp of linguistics appears too weak for the task he has set himself. For example, his discussion of the various senses of the English word quite is rendered confused by his apparent ignorance of two key issues. Firstly, the distinction between the word’s two senses ‘altogether’ and ‘to some degree’ is quite sharp: these are discrete meanings, not parts of a continuum, and cases such as He was quite drunk thus exhibit ambiguity rather than vagueness as Empson appears to suggest (this is a matter of linguistic semantics). Secondly, the dialectology of this word is crucial in context. In its second sense, quite has a stronger force – akin to ‘very’ – in the USA than in the UK. The contrast between the two senses is thus even sharper in British than in American English. Writers like Empson need to learn more linguistics before pronouncing on such matters.

More next time!

Mark

For my book Strange Linguistics, see:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=64212

Copies are available through me at the author’s 50% discount, for EU 26.40 including postage to anywhere outside Germany. Please let me know if you’d like one, suggest means of payment (Paypal is possible) and provide your preferred postal address.


Linguistics ‘Hall of Shame’ 28

October 6, 2013

Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues!

28 MINAS TSIKRITSIS

More from the Ancient Greek world: As noted earlier (see ‘Around The World In ‘Mysterious’ Scripts & Texts’ 3, this blog, 28 May 2012), Linear A is one of a number of syllabic scripts found in Crete during the twentieth century by archaeologists such as Arthur Evans. It is visually similar to Linear B, which was deciphered as very early Greek in 1952 by the talented and well-informed amateur Michael Ventris and the linguist John Chadwick; but Linear A itself, as it seems, cannot be read as Greek, and the script has resisted authoritative decipherment. The maverick Cyrus Gordon’s West Semitic interpretation has not been generally accepted; and, although the more mainstream classicist Simon Davis reads Linear A – along with the ‘Minoan Pictographic’, Eteocretan, Cypro-Minoan and Eteocypriot scripts – as Hittite (Indo-European, from Anatolia), this interpretation too is controversial to say the least. (References on request)

More recently, the amateur Minas Tsikritsis (http://www.anistor.gr/english/enback/v014.htm) – proposes (with support from Gavin Menzies, The Lost Empire Of Atlantis, London, 2011; see especially pp. 314-21) that Linear A does indeed represent an early form of (his native) Greek. In fact, he regards fifteen of the symbols on the Phaistos Disk (again, see ‘Around The World In ‘Mysterious’ Scripts & Texts’ 3) as shared with Linear A and B, and ‘deciphers’ part of the Disk text too as Greek. He also proclaims that various bodies of symbols found in various locations spread across Europe, the Near East, India, etc. represent Linear A, and thus indicate (along with his readings of the Cretan texts) that the users of the script operated far beyond Crete and the Aegean. However, the evidence for these identifications appears inadequate; the parallelisms are not patently systematic, and indeed the cited bodies of non-Cretan data are typically too small for systematicity to be manifested.

More next time!

Mark

For my book Strange Linguistics, see:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=64212

Copies are available through me at the author’s 50% discount, for EU 26.40 including postage to anywhere outside Germany. Please let me know if you’d like one, suggest means of payment (Paypal is possible) and provide your preferred postal address.


Linguistics ‘Hall of Shame’ 27

September 29, 2013

Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues!

27 YAHUDA, RHOME, WILKENS ETC ON GREEK

Because of its long history and respected status, Greek – from Mycenaean through Homeric, Classical, Koine, Hellenistic, New Testament and Byzantine/Medieval to Modern (both Katharevousa and Demotic) – is a major focus for non-mainstream claims.

Some non-mainstream theories involve claims to the effect that Greek was the Ursprache. Joseph Yahuda, supported by Konstantinos Georganas, Kostas Katis and others (see also ‘Around The World In ‘Mysterious’ Scripts & Texts’, this blog, 22 May 2012), is one writer who advances this view. Yahuda commences from the claim that Hebrew specifically is disguised Greek, almost all of its words being composed of one or more distorted Greek roots, and goes on to identify Greek as an overall Ursprache and thus to deny the existence of Proto-Indo-European as an ancestor for Greek and other languages. However, even where Yahuda’s claims are not mutually contradictory or are not actually refuted by other evidence, the ‘evidence’ in their favour is of the usual inadequate kind.

Another author of much the same kind is Harrell Rhome. Citing Yahuda and various dated sources, Rhome identifies Greek as the ancestor of Hebrew, Semitic languages generally, Egyptian, Indian languages, etc. Rhome’s main intention here is to lower the status of Hebrew, which he perceives as having been tendentiously exaggerated by Jewish writers. But in fact it is not clear how seriously he himself takes his own account of Greek.

Some other non-mainstream theories involve the Greek legends regarding the Siege of Troy (in modern Turkey) and its aftermath, as recounted in the Homeric poems. Several authors have sought to re-assign the location of the Trojan War and associated legendary events to distant areas, in the Atlantic and elsewhere. On less than persuasive grounds, Iman Wilkens (previously alluded to in ‘Linguistics Hall of Shame 2’, this blog, 23 March 2013) holds that the main actions of the Trojan Cycle really occurred in Britain, France and his native Netherlands. (Compare Daunt and others, who relocate the events reported in the Old Testament). Wilkens identifies Homeric place-names etc. with later British (Celtic), English, Dutch and other local place-names using the usual amateur methods. For instance, he equates Cambridgeshire river-names with the superficially and unsystematically similar Homeric Greek names of rivers in the Trojan Plain.

Felice Vinci instead re-interprets the actions of the Trojan Cycle as occurring in the area surrounding the Baltic Sea. Linguistic details are not at all salient in Vinci’s argument, but he does make a vague comment about ‘Achaean-like place-names’ in the Baltic and naïvely interprets the presence in the Baltic region of Lithuanian (a conservative Indo-European language but not one especially closely related to Greek) as supporting his case.

Of course, the precise location of Troy was not known until relatively recently, and the ‘facts’ of any genuine ‘Trojan War’ and the locations of many associated places remain disputed and indeed often conjectural; but it is very generally accepted that these events, or the genuine events upon which they were based, did indeed occur in the Eastern Mediterranean Greek world, where they appear to be set.

References to any of these writers on request!

More next time!

Mark

For my book Strange Linguistics, see:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=64212

Copies are available through me at the author’s 50% discount, for EU 26.40 including postage to anywhere outside Germany. Please let me know if you’d like one, suggest means of payment (Paypal is possible) and provide your preferred postal address.


The Shellackistan in Khazakstan

September 28, 2013

If the G+ discussion with the pseudonymous Burzynski supporter happens at 900AM, it will appear here:

 

RJB


Linguistics ‘Hall of Shame’ 26

September 23, 2013

Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues (main heritage trips over for now!).

26 W.G. SEBALD & JORGE LUIS BORGES (more oddity than shame!)

W. G. (Winfried Georg) Sebald (1944-2001) was a German literature scholar who spent much of his life in East Anglia, England. He wrote (apparently intentionally) in old-fashioned and elaborate German (an effect which is partly but not completely lost in the English translations to which Sebald himself contributed). His subject-matter is wide-ranging. His best known book is probably The Rings Of Saturn, which (like much of Sebald’s other work) displays the influence of the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), especially the 1940 short story ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’.

The ‘storyline’ of ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ starts with an encyclopedia article about a country which is in the process of being fabricated and hence created by a cabal of scholars; this country is called called Uqbar or (as it is increasingly reified) Tlön, and eventually begins replacing Earth itself as a feature of the ‘real world’.

A substantial part of the story deals with the invented languages of Tlön and with its tradition of ontology/epistemology: a strong version of idealism. The languages reflect (and/or generate?) this position, for instance by having many sequences of short adjectives or else many impersonal verbs with no subjects; indeed, they have no nouns at all. These patterns are extreme versions of some which are actually found in some real languages, such as Apache. The absence of nouns relates to the absence of things (entities) in the philosophy accepted in Tlön – this, supposedly, excludes both propositions and deductive reasoning.

However, even if no entities are recognized, it is not clear that these further exclusions are necessarily implied. Indeed, some of Borges’ own linguistic formulations appear to express propositions, albeit in forms unfamiliar to those accustomed to English or other Indo-European languages. More generally, the linguistic strictures and notions developed by Borges appear interesting and not lacking in insight but as somewhat exaggerated. The same can be said of Sebald’s applications of these notions.

Of course, if either author’s intention be judged STRICTLY fictional, such objections are not in any way damning; and, even if Borges and/or Sebald are to be regarded as expressing genuine ontological/epistemological stances, their positions might still be arguable. But they do appear rather extreme. It is not clear that a language incorporating such features in strong versions would really be usable in practice, whatever philosophical ideas were embraced by its speakers and writers.

More next time!

Mark

For my book Strange Linguistics, see:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=64212

Copies are available through me at the author’s 50% discount, for EU 26.40 including postage to anywhere outside Germany. Please let me know if you’d like one, suggest means of payment (Paypal is possible) and provide your preferred postal address.


Linguistics ‘Hall of Shame’ 25

September 16, 2013

Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues (still between heritage trips!).

25 ILCC INC.

ILCC Inc. (Intergalactic Lovetrance Civilization Center) work to ‘provide more precise guidance to seekers of Truth’. They adopt a Vedantic world-view similar to that of Oak, Knapp and other extreme Hindu writers discussed in earlier instalments of this blog: Hinduism and the Sanskrit language were universal throughout the world for millions of years, until wicked Christians, scientists etc. took advantage of temporary weakness to pervert this paradise and re-write history. ‘Lovetrance’ is ILCC’s name for the civilisation which existed before this outrage and (if they had their way) would exist again. However, they need first to become more accurate about basic historical facts. There follows their account of British history; all of it is grossly in error. Strangely, none of this (except, marginally, 2) relates to these writers’ non-standard ideas on Hinduism, the Vedas etc. 1) First [Britain] was conquered by the Romans, then the Celts. 2) The Celts combined with the ancient Aryan Dravidians… 3) Britain was then gradually conquered by the Mutos, Thangles, Sextons, and Danes. 4) In 1066 French and Germans from Denmark’s royal races conquered and governed over Britain. 5) The British were then converted into Christians. 6) Until Henry VII, French was the national language of England. 7) Then the German royal race was amalgamated into England and the conqueror and the conquered became amalgamated into one Christian community.

More next time!

Mark

For my book Strange Linguistics, see:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=64212

Copies are available through me at the author’s 50% discount, for EU 26.40 including postage to anywhere outside Germany. Please let me know if you’d like one, suggest means of payment (Paypal is possible) and provide your preferred postal address.


Virtual Skeptics: Season 2 Episode 2 Rethink911, Mummies and Congress

September 12, 2013

The Virtual Skeptics is a fun little show Eve and I do with Brian Gregory, Sharon Hill and Tim Farley. It’s on Wed nights at 8:00PM EST.

I talked about a 9/11 Truth poll that was not unlike this poll:

Eve looked into a mummy. Metaphorically.

Sharon gave us the news blur, a quick run through of a number of weird news stories, including the least lucky guy in the world (spontaneous human combustion).

Tim looked at tools that can help skeptics track bills as they move through Congress.

So check us out. We’re pretty awesome.

 


Linguistics ‘Hall of Shame’ 24

September 5, 2013

Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues (between heritage trips!).

24 WILLEM HIETBRINK & OTHERS ON DUTCH

A somewhat extreme proposal regarding language origins is that of Willem Hietbrink and Ronald Lagendijk (both Dutch), who propose in Het Oertaalwoordenboek (Rotterdam, 1994) that all expressions in all languages are ‘corruptions’ of meaningful short sentences in contemporary or near-contemporary Dutch, often via series of intermediate forms (without providing historical evidence of these intermediate forms). For instance, English exact derives from Dutch ik zeg ‘t dich (‘I say it to you’), via ‘k sektik, ‘k sakt. Of course, the chronology does not work; many of the non-Dutch words cited have established etymologies or indeed were themselves already used long before the development of the modern Dutch language.

Hietbrink analyzes Dutch as having 24 consonants and fifteen vowels. (The usual analysis is different; for instance, Standard Dutch is held to have fourteen monophthongal vowels and nine diphthongs. Hietbrink appears to have been distracted by the spelling.) He refers to the Dutch phonological system as ‘the alphabet’; thus he is naïvely folk-linguistic in treating the spelling rather than the phonemics as primary. Indeed, he appears to believe that this 39-phoneme system is valid for all languages. (This is reminiscent of spelling reformers who imagine that their reformed system for spelling English can also replace the International Phonetic Association Alphabet for the transcription of other languages.) Hietbrink goes on to claim that there are thus only 24 x 15 = 360 ‘combinations’ of vowels and consonants that human beings can pronounce, at least as long as they use the Roman alphabet (of course, the spelling/writing system used will in fact have no decisive effect on what sequences can or cannot be pronounced). This assumes that only syllables of the form Consonant-Vowel or Vowel-Consonant occur; but many languages, including Dutch, also permit many more complex syllable structures, such as Consonant-Vowel-Consonant. In addition, even some of the short Dutch words cited by Hietbrink have more than one syllable.

Hietbrink’s work resembles that of early modern Dutch-speaking writers such as Jan van Gorp (seventeenth century) and Simon Stevin (late sixteenth-early seventeenth centuries), who worked before scientific linguistics had developed.

More next time!

Mark

For my book Strange Linguistics, see:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=64212

Copies are available through me at the author’s 50% discount, for EU 26.40 including postage to anywhere outside Germany. Please let me know if you’d like one, suggest means of payment (Paypal is possible) and provide your preferred postal address.


Mami Wata and the Nigerian “Mermaid” Riot

August 27, 2013

(Cross-posted at Skepticality)

This is Bob Blaskiewicz from skepticalhumanities.com.

Last month, a really weird story came out of Nigeria, in what was reported as a “panic” surrounding reports of a “mermaid” appearing in Ibadan. I read about it on Doubtful News. A woman found a strange critter in a batch of frozen fish she was going to cook and sell from her home. It was reported that she shouted out in fear and a Muslim cleric was called in. As Sharon Hill reported it:

News of the mini-mermaid swept through the city causing a big commotion. It was reported in the local news that the first person who took a picture of the creature experienced a broken phone. Then it gets weird. The mermaid, described as “very small in size initially, grew bigger and was fish from waist downward and human being from waist upwards, with mouth, nose, eyes and long hair” was now said to have spoken, begging the woman who found it (also called Ramota Adeyemo or Ramota Salawu) not to reveal it. She was taken to the police station for questioning.

That night, the house in question was vandalized and her daughter was beaten up. The police have since confirmed that what was seen was an octopus. At the end of Sharon’s piece there is a little commentary, she did a little summary:

I’m not clear why the villagers thought it was something extraordinary unless they had never seen one either. A strong superstitious nature of the people led them to believe the finding would bring bad luck upon their village. But notice how the story grew so fast and caused what appears to be near panic!

What makes this so interesting for a skeptic is the way that this story has been presented, as a story of scared people converging on the site of the strange happenings and then how rapidly an intricate and bizarre story spread. And for a Westerner encountering a weird story like this without context it will seem exceedingly crazy. Honestly, I found it hard to believe that mass psychogenic illness could lead to a mermaid panic, though, to be fair, in France there outbreak of nuns meowing in 1844. When you look into the Nigerian case, there is a reason, actually several reasons, and the explanation is very, very cool.

First, however, I am going to tell you what I consider to be the most authoritative version of what actually happened, that of Ramota, the woman who found the creature. She bought frozen fish in the morning and found the critter in there when it thawed. Initially, she threw it out, but then decided to retrieve it and show it to her sister, who had sold fish for years to see if she had ever seen it’s like. An “Alfa”, the muslim equivalent of a pastor, happened to be there–he just came up behind her, she said–and tried to take a photo but couldn’t because the phone went dead. The brother who was there also could not take a photo because his phone went dead.

Ramota then took the critter to her elder brother’s house to show him. He is also an “Alfa.” While Ramota was with this brother, a crowd was forming at her house and she was called home to show them the octopus and disperse the crowd. I’ll tell the next part of the story in her words:

“But by the time I got home, there was a twist in the story. I learnt that the president of traditionalists in Ibadan had gone to report at the police station that I had a strange creature with me, which was inimical to the well-being of the people of the state.

“They had threatened that if the creature was not handed over to them, Ibadan would experience a serious flood disaster and that the 1980 experience would be a child’s play when compared to it.

“I was invited to the station by the police where I met the traditionalist. I told the police that it was a lie that nothing disastrous would happen because what I saw was just dust and not any miracle. I made them realise that I am also a water devotee from the popular family in Osogbo, Osun State. “

While she was at the station, Ramota’s house was ransacked by hooligans (they stole the fish for sale) and her daughter was beaten up. Her day ended at 9:00, and her brother, who had run off with the octopus when the pressure from the crowd got too great, brought the critter to the police the next morning where it was identified.

So what was going on? There are two principal elements to the story. The first element is the way in which Nigerian reporting seems to have been conducted–sources seem not to be ranked, so that the implied authority of the chief of police is not as far removed from that of bystanders outside of the house as it would be in the US. This may just be a style issue, but when the West picks it up it sounds like there is a lot more parity between the two versions than the native readership would probably give it.

The second contributing element is cultural background. Both of these conspired to give us the strange story that we received here.

It turns out that the idea of a water-woman is part of a local, and actually widespread diasporic traditional religion, the tradition of the “Mami Wata,” a word which is apparently a pidgin form of “Mammy-Water.” These are river spirits associated with a very feminine sect. The mami wata is often represented as a woman holding snakes or a half serpent as a half-fish. So this story of the mermaid was not brewed up on the spot. The story basically preexisted the appearance of the octopus, and the sect was in a sense waiting for something like this to appear.

Before I look at the beliefs surrounding the mami wata, I should mention that she is a highly variable figure, understood differently in many regions of west Africa and the diaspora. Her character varies from region to region. This is likely because the name “mami wata” has come to be applied to local water deities who retain their distinct characteristics. Honestly, there is enough disagreement in the academic literature about the origins and interpretation of the character, that one would do well to consult with an expert in West African religion and culture to have a full understanding of mami wata. I would say that it appears that most scholars have focused on one or two regional variations of the character, though there have been a handful of art exhibits that sought to bring together mami wata art from different regions.

What I can say however, mami wata has become increasingly popular over the last century. The stories and images associated with water spirits associate them with feminine beauty and prosperity. They also are reported to appear in human form to seduce young men. If they stay faithful to the mami wata, they are rewarded with wealth; if not, they suffer consequences. However, when misfortune is ascribed to her, those who have attracted her attention join her cult to propitiate her. Mami wata is thought to interact directly with followers, and some of the rituals associated with involve channeling the spirit, who is mostly benevolent. She dispenses health and fertility (but fertility costs you your prosperity). This actually seems to square with what one of the devotees outside Ramota’s house said, that the deity would make Ramota a healer.

It’s hard to say how faithful to the original indigenous water spirit beliefs the modern form of worship is. The current form of worship has clearly been influenced by colonial and economic forces, the same forces that allowed her to spread throughout West Africa and the diaspora. Mami wata has been incorporated into both Christian and Islamic beliefs in this part of Nigeria, adding another layer of complexity. However, I suspect that the figure, and certainly the term “mermaid,” is an interpolation of Western mythologies rather than an expression of a native one.

The takeaway for skeptics, I think, is that no matter how completely bizarre an event may seem, even in the case of a riot over a mermaid, if you dig down, you can usually find an explanation that makes it seem a lot less mysterious.

This is Bob Blaskiewicz from skepticalhumanities.com.

Further Reading:

Drewal, H. J. “Interpretation, Invention and Representation in the Worship of Mami Wata.” Journal of Folklore Research 25.1 (1988): 101-39.

—. “Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and Its Diasporas.” African Arts (2008): 60-83.  http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/mamiwata/

—. “Mermaids, Mirrors, and Snake Charmers: Igbo Mami Wata Shrines.” African Arts 21.2 (1988): 38-96, 96.

Fabowale, Yinka. “Strange creature among frozen fish causes stir in Ibadan.” The Sun (24 July 2013).

Frank, Barbara. “Permitted and Prohibited Wealth: Commodity-Possessing Spirits, Economic Morals, and the Goddess Mami Wata in West Africa.” Ethnology 34.4 (Fall 1995).

Hill, Sharon. “Panic Over Alleged Mermaid Found in Nigerian Town.” Doubtful News (25 June 2013).

Mami Wata.” (Wikipedia)

Olanrewaju, Taiwo. “Commotion over ‘mermaid’ in Ibadan“ Nigerian Tribune (25 July 2013).

—. “Ibadan ‘Mermaid’: Fish Seller’s Daughter Attack, House Vandalised.” (25 July 2013).

Salmons, J. “Mammy Wata.“ African Arts 10.3 (1977): 8-15, 87-88.

Police Dispel Reports Of Mermaid In Ibadan, Says Fish Was Baby-Octopus.” Information Nigeria (24 July 2013).