Talk:Mi'kmaq hieroglyphic writing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Writing systems (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article falls within the scope of WikiProject Writing systems, a WikiProject interested in improving the encyclopaedic coverage and content of articles relating to writing systems on Wikipedia. If you would like to help out, you are welcome to drop by the project page and/or leave a query at the project’s talk page.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Native Americans, Aboriginal peoples, and related indigenous peoples of North America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.

big dictionary of all mi'kmaq logographs?[edit]

Is there one big book or website that has all the known mi'kmaq logographs conveniently sorted by english (or french or whatever)? I want to look up various words and see how they are rendered in the old mi'kmaq script.-- 22:08, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


There is currently a dispute on whether or not to include a link to a certain site on the article. Please, if there is disagreement, please discuss things at the talkpage, don't just battle it out in edit summaries. Thanks, --Elonka 18:14, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I quite agree. I also did not think it was appropriate to blank the Fell section. That's POV. I reject the Fell "hypothesis" of course, but it's a fact. I'm on holiday in Brittany at the moment and my copy of Fell is at home, so I can't check. But deleting the link to the website, and blanking the whole Fell section are certainly not the right way to do things here. -- Evertype· 07:49, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

I usually side with SA, but not this time. I had a nasty fight with this article trying to show that Fell is garbage, with someone who was apparently Mi'kmaq, and I think it's good that we have a section to debunk it. The obscurity of this script means that a lot of people that come here will have learned about it through Fell, and I think we do need to show them where he stands. kwami (talk) 08:07, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Please stick to "debunkings" that have been reliably sourced somewhere. If these "debunkings" are published for the first time anywhere on wikipedia, isn't that the definition of OR? ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 17:36, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
One does not need an "external debunking" to "prove" that the heart-and-lungs meaning 'good' does not mean 'truth'. It simply doesn't. It is not a question of "original research". We have, however, linked to other Wiki pages about it. I will check my original Fell books when I get home regarding the section and try to improve its external references. -- Evertype· 08:42, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
But ውይይት is right, if it's made up for Wikipedia, it's OR. It's not so much proving that 'good' doesn't mean 'truth', it's the conclusions we draw from that. The reason it seems suspicious to me is that it's too good a match: after several millennia, I'd expect the meanings (and the graphic forms) to diverge more than that, so I'd draw the same conclusion from the opposite reasoning. If we can't debunk Fell without our own analysis of the data, then maybe it would be better to remove the section completely. kwami (talk) 08:55, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Please don't indulge in Wiki-fetishism... The rules are not there to make it difficult for us to contribute to articles articles in a meaningful and useful way. I see nothing in the article that is objectionable, and I would strongly object to summary deletion. -- Evertype· 22:21, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
My point is that "good"-"truth" is actually a very good semantic match, so to say Fell is wrong because they don't match is disingenuous. That's one of the problems with OR. kwami (talk) 00:35, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I cannot agree. (1) Fell (or this source) doesn't show the Egyptian heart-and-lungs accurately. (2)
nfr with phonetic complements
F35 I9
may mean 'good' but
F35 F35 F35
nfrw (a plural) means 'beauty'. With other determinatives the character is used to mean 'the Crown of Upper Egypt, Neferḥotep', 'zero' (nfr pw 'not', 'there is not'); nfrt 'cattle', nfrw 'young men', nfrt 'fair women'. Fell's evident suggestion that it means 'truth' is simply inaccurate as 'truth' which is written m3't with
Aa11 U1
. So compounded with that error, I don' t think 'holy' is a "very good semantic match". Particularly as the Míkmaq character is far more likely to have been derived from the Christian orb of the earth surmounted by the cross than the Egyptian heart-and-lungs. Moreover the same problems are (easily!) found with all four of these examples. I don't think there's any disingenuity here. -- Evertype· 07:48, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I kind of agree that the Fell hypothesis deserves to stay, as a search on the Mi'kmaq writing system seems invariably tied to Fell and his Egyptian hypothesis. This website gives a nice and detailed explanation about the whole theory and history. And although I'm not suggesting that the theory is truth, it is also briefly mentioned on Mi'kmaq websites as well, such as this one. So if references could be improved, there should be no reason to keep arguing the section's notability. - Io Katai (talk) 16:28, 9 August 2008 (UTC)


I have before me "parallel versions" of part of Psalm 116 in Fell's America B.C.. The brashness of Fell's fiction is truly staggering. The text is actually from Psalm 113:11-14 "In exitu Israël" (though the numbering of psalms may differ between the Vulgate and other versions) and Fell doesn't even draw the Míkmaq correctly. Then below that he gives a set of Egyptian hieroglyphs; evidently he would have us believe that the syntax of Míkmaq and Egyptian are the same as well. In the New American Bible the citation is Psalm 115:3-6. Fell also gives two tables of one to one "correspondences"; "goodness" is not there. I am not really sure how to present this material. A proper debunking (including line by line criticism of his Egyptian in the psalm at least) would probably constitute original research. Discussion? -- Evertype· 08:28, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree he is both sufficiently notable to include and needs debunking. I'm not sure how to go about it, though. kwami (talk) 10:05, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
It is a question of a claim about translation. If someone published a theory saying that La plume de ma tante est sur le bureau de mon oncle was equivalent to यच्छापि सार्वभूतानां बीजां तदहं, would it be "original research" for a Wikipedian to demonstrate why this theory was false? -- Evertype· 17:13, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
It's OR to interpret the relevance of the difference. No problem if the translation is completely off. But if it's a matter of how accurately the glyphs are drawn and whether the semantics are really close enough, then that's rather like us debunking Nostratic or some such based on our expectations of what such a relationship should look like. We could have a near-perfect match and it still wouldn't mean much (as in rongorongo & Indus), but if you say a match is close enough and I say it isn't, how do we decide? kwami (talk) 20:05, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
There is no match of any kind. Fell altered the data to make his theory sound plausible. The false equivalence of the French and Sanskrit I give above is not a matter of "interpretation". It's a matter of fact. Not judgement. बीजां bījaṁ does not mean 'bureau'. It means 'jewel'. Perhaps my analogy was poor. Fell's "equivalent" lines of Míkmaq and Egyptian are not falsely equivalent because I argue that they are. They simply are not equivalent, and this can be demonstrated. ANYONE who knows anything about Míkmaq and Egyptian would know this at once. Since (let us say) you do not, I could show you. Would this be "research"? No... it would be demonstration. -- Evertype· 21:11, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Hey, I'm not going to revert anything you add to this, because I know you're right, and I've added similar things to other articles. But I don't agree with your argument. Regardless of phonetic complements,
can mean 'good' (reduplicating it, after all, makes the root nfr plural, demonstrating that the root nfr is associated with this glyph and not just the phonetic complements). The fact that a glyph or root can have other derived meanings is irrelevant; the core meaning is 'good'. Yes, Fell's drawings are sloppy, but the graphic match between Micmac 'holy' (assuming that it's drawn accurately) and a correctly drawn
is decent, as is the semantic match between 'good' and 'holy'. We therefore have a reasonable semantic and graphic match, especially considering the separation of space and time. Now if we had a hundred such examples I'd think the proposal looked pretty good. The problem for me is that a look-alike or three can easily be coincidence, just as English much and Spanish mucho are coincidence, or Latin ta and kana た are coincidence, and also that other etymologies are plausible, given the missionary influence on the script and the graphic similarity between Micmac 'holy' and Christian symbolism. I'd argue that we have a good match, but that it's insufficient; you argue that we don't have a match at all. This isn't fact vs. fiction, it's a difference in opinion on how to interpret the evidence. It's OR. kwami (talk) 22:06, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
It's a heart-and-lungs, not the Christian orb-and-cross. This isn't research. It's just what is. Anyway the image we have is not actually Fell's drawing, and I will do what I can (I am very busy at the moment) to upload something better. -- Evertype· 12:07, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Just wondering -- if a fringe view like this hasn't been debunked, is it really significant? Doug Weller (talk) 22:27, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Granted, rational sources such as Cape Breton University[1] make no mention of him, and I'd rather not give him any more publicity, but Fell has had reasonable exposure, and Micmac writing is so obscure that a large number who've heard of it have heard of it through Fell. Rather than debunking him here, though, maybe we could have a link to the Fell article and debunk him there? kwami (talk) 23:22, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Debunk him how? Source? Doug Weller (talk) 11:33, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Type of script. Move?[edit]

More important than this debate over Fell is the script itself. Is it pictographic or logographic? The article contradicts itself. They also aren't 'hieroglyphs', so we should move the article. Where we move it will probably depend on what kind of writing it is. kwami (talk) 23:25, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Found this unsourced comment:

On a careful examination of the hieroglyphs, so called, it seems evident that on the original substratum of Micmac designs or symbols, each of which represented mnemonically a whole sentence or verse, a large number of arbitrary designs have been added to express ideas and words which were not American, and devices were incorporated with them intended to represent the pecularities of the Micmac grammar as understood by Kauder. The explanation of these additions has never been made known. Kauder died without having left any record or explanation of the plan by which he attempted to convert the mnemonic characters invented by the Indians into what may be considered an exposition of organized words (not sounds) in grammatical form. *) Another source quotes that about 5701 characters were used in printing above book and that the stencils of the Micmac script are still existent (this was in 1880 !)

kwami (talk) 23:41, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't see any reason to move away from "Hieroglyphs". That's the common name for them. -- Evertype· 23:56, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
For the same reason we renamed "Maya hieroglyphs": They're not hieroglyphs. What about the nature of the script? kwami (talk) 00:03, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Did you? On what grounds? What do you thing "hieroglyphs" are? In any case Míkmaq hieroglyphs are called that in a primary source published in English and in French in 1921, and then again in 1995 a major work Mi'kmaq hieroglyphic prayers was published. I would oppose a move on the basis of theory on the word "hieroglyph". -- Evertype· 00:24, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
There was a long discussion on that talk page.
I take it you don't know what type of script we're dealing with here? kwami (talk) 00:41, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Better question, what constitutes something to be Hieroglyphs? The article itself gives no real definition asides something 'partly logographic', whereas the term 'logographic' is also known to incorporate ideograms. Although the Mi'kmaq writing does not phonetically represent parts of speach, it does represent (in entirety or not) both abstract and concrete ideas. The question should rather be, is Mi'kmaq, along with the little known Ojibwe Hieroglyphs, a full writing system or purely a mnemonic device? (The article Wiigwaasabak suggests complex writing or mnemonics) And whatever result, wouldn't the new title (assuming something like Mi'kmaq Script) of this article be more controversial or misleading than the current? - Io Katai (talk) 00:59, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
You mean 'script' would be misleading if it isn't true writing? Yes, I agree, but then 'hieroglyphs' is misleading for the same reason. kwami (talk) 02:54, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Long discussion on what talk page? I don't quite understand the "challenge" you make in that you "take it" that I don't know what type of script we're dealing with here. It's partly logographic with some phonetic components. It is less alphabetic than Egyptian is, but typologically it is similar to Egyptian. With phonetic components it is a bit more than mnemonic, in my view. The point is that it has always been called "hieroglyphic" and it's not really for us to be changing that. -- Evertype· 08:57, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
So what's the deal, Kwami? What have you against the typological description? -- Evertype· 12:20, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
'Pictographs' is the answer. There's no 'always' about it. Kenneth Croft, reviewing The Alphabet: A Key to the History of Mankind by David Diringer, International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Jul., 1949), used the word 'pictographs'. See [2] and [3]. And while we are at it, from The Canadian Guide to English Usage. "'The Aboriginal people formerly called Micmac now spell their name Mi'kmaw (singular; pronounced MIKMAW) and Mi'kmaq (plural; MIKMAK). The Union of Nova Scotia Indians and the Mi'kmaq Grand Council have adopted these forms and request that others follow their practice". Change the name but leave the current name (of course) as a redirect. Doug Weller (talk) 12:59, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but they are not "pictographs" and I would not consider a 1949 review of Diringer to be authoritative in this matter—certainly not more authoritative than Schmidt & Marshall's 1995 Mi'kmaq Hieroglyphic Prayers which edits, transcribes, and translates them. And the primary published sources of these call them Hieroglyphs. That does not mean they are Egyptian of course... though the fact that they were originally and chiefly used for ecclesiastical material makes "sacred writing" (ἱερογλύφος) apt enough. They're logograms. Some glyphs are used exclusively for individual words (a character which looks like <A> for instance is read aqq 'and'), others for a range of morphemes, and there are some phonetic components which help to disambiguate or to indicate parts of speech. -- Evertype· 13:54, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
The '49 review was just to show that not everyone calls them hieroglyphs. Doug Weller (talk) 14:21, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
My objection was to calling them pictographic at one point and then contradicting ourselves by calling them logographic. I've reworded the intro so that we're calling the pre-missionary script pictographic and the missionary script logographic. Please correct me if I'm wrong. kwami (talk) 19:25, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Chart in Fell section needs much clarification.[edit]

Hi, All.

The chart/table in the article's section on Barry Fell's interpretation is barely self-explanatory, if at all. There's no obvious statement of the source of the image showing the first two columns of figures, no obvious statement of whether the comparison that it contains is supposed to be right or wrong. And then we have the third column, with a similar lack of explanation.

With a bit more effort than I believe should be necessary, I can guess that the two left columns are Fell's comparison, and that the third column is supposed to be some real Egyptian writing, and that the rightmost column is first describing what the Egyptian figure (the one mentioned by Fell and also appearing in the third column) represents (but first we have to have a combination of letters and numerals that is meaningless to the uninitiated unless they follow the link), and then saying that it's used in a certain word (both transliterated and translated), and then explanation of how Fell's interpretation falls short.

I believe an increase in labeling and in complete sentences and defining parenthetic clauses would reduce the amount of time many readers need to understand the chart and would make the chart accessible to more readers.


F35 heart-and-windpipe; used as shown in nfr 'good'. Used three together this means 'beauty'. Does not mean 'truth'.

could become something more like

This Egyptian hieroglyph represents a combination of the heart and the windpipe. It is shown here as part of the Egyptian word nfr, meaning "good".

... And I realize, now, that I'm not even sure how to finish my new version, because "Used three together" is unclear. A trio of what means beauty? Three instances of nfr, or three instances of heart-and-windpipe, or what? And stating, out of the blue, that this "Does not mean 'truth'" calls only for us to guess that Barry Fell said that some use of that symbol, or of a symbol like it, meant truth; but we aren't even told whether he was saying the sign meant truth in Egyptian, in Mi'kmaq, in both, or what. President Lethe (talk) 06:48, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

I am making an attempt to clarify the chart. -- Evertype· 15:31, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Fell chart and Egyptian[edit]

I see this was deleted recently, but without discussion. I'd like to see some discussion before seeing it deleted. I've seen some suggestion of Original Research over the years, and seen the chart called a "rebuttal". Perhaps the text in and about the chart can be made more neutral, if it appears otherwise. -- Evertype· 15:30, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

OK, I've edited the chart and the description of the Egyptian Hieroglyphs and their usage should be clearer now. I have added links to the Globus crucifer, Pentagram, and Trinity. -- Evertype· 16:10, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
It still doesn't exactly seem "neutral" because the anti-Fell POV is represented loud and clear, albeit completely uncited and relying on some editor's personal expertise and observations. The pro-Fell POV, on the other hand, is cited -- but nobody who holds that POV could possibly say this is "neutral". Typical wikipedia. By the way, Fell discusses many other close similarities than these, if you would pick up one of his books in the public library, and not just some 1992 periodical article. (talk) 17:34, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Our NPOV policy is clear on this - the article should make it clear that Fell's stuff is not accepted by the mainstream, and the mainstream should have more coverage. If, of course, this is at all significant, and the only reason it would be here is being covered by reliable mainstream sources. Dougweller (talk) 18:06, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Sounds more to me like someone's arbitrary opinion being enforced here. Fell's books are easily accessible and may be found in any mainstream public library in the US. You, without any sources, have reached a personal "determination" that they are not "mainstream" and are thus to be suppressed and / or ridiculed without sources. (talk) 18:38, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I understand the argument, but here's a thing. Reading Egyptian isn't "original research" any more than "reading German" is. If somebody says that the Irish word árachas derives from the German word Versicherung, it isn't "original research" to say, or to show, that it is not. Basically that is what Fell did: he made claims about relationship based on superficial glyph similarity, and in the case of the "heart-and-windpipe" for instance it seems to me to be encyclopaedic to give a neutral description of the Egyptian. But that's like me knowing German and Irish. Fell's hypothesis is a fact, but just showing an example doesn't help the reader to know what's wrong with it. I like the fact that the article has a genuine msit alongside Fell's misleadingly-drawn msit. As I say, if we need to tone down the "judgement" in the description of the hieroglyphs, that is fine, but I think deleting this explanatory material would be a disservice to people interested in learning about the facts and fictions of Micmac Hieroglyphs. I have not, for my part, said that Fell's books are to be suppressed—I have not suggested that the Fell hypothesis be deleted from this article. But it is clear that his claims about Egyptian are incorrect. -- Evertype· 19:10, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your reasoned response. But if it was all that "clear" to me, trust me, I wouldn't be here. Evertype, I sincerely hope you bother to get a copy of Fell's widely-published book on the subject, and read everything he says about these similarities in his own words, so you can know of what you speak. They go far beyond those four glyphs. That shoddy "Science Frontiers Online" website on which this article's section is based, doesn't do him justice whatsoever, nor does it represent the shapes or meanings correctly as Fell did, so it's a bit like attacking a strawman. (talk) 19:34, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Books on UFOs, etc. can be found in every library. So? Have you read WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE? Fell's ideas are not taken seriously except where he wrote about his own academic speciality. Dougweller (talk) 20:18, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I was addressing Evertype. His responses are not based on fallacious logic. (talk) 20:30, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
It's not up to us to evaluate Fell's thesis from primary sources (his own writing). That would be OR. We use secondary sources: how has his thesis been received in reliable academic sources? The answer: it's universally panned as nonsense. We therefore state that it's nonsense, reflecting the consensus of the scholarly community. That's how an encyclopedia works. — kwami (talk) 00:39, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
If Fell makes a claim about a hieroglyph which is false, it is not OR to point that out here, any more than if any other author claims that Kuhlschrank means 'blender'. -- Evertype· 09:14, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Incredible how you can write your own original rebuttal, refuse to read the actual source being rebutted, rely on a complete misrepresentation from a third-rate website as the only source of information on his thesis, basically state "this is nonsense so we can say so, and that's also neutral because we correct editors say so" and then smugly proclaim "that's how an encyclopedia works." But no matter. Wikipedia is what it is, and most users are already well aware of that factor. Thankfully, it's not that hard to get unbiased information on this subject elsewhere. (talk) 01:05, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
If we're being biased, the solution is simple: Provide us with reliable sources that show we're wrong. If you're unable to do that, then of course we aren't going to pay much attention, any more than we would to someone claiming the moon is made of cheese. — kwami (talk) 01:51, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I have, of course, got a copy of Fell's book at home. (I am not home right now.) I will have a look at its claims about Egyptian Hieroglyphs there, and (if warranted) will revise the text in this article to reflect Fell's claims. Don't hold your breath, however: since there isn't a connection between French-missionary designed Micmac Hieroglyphs and traditional Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Fell's claims very likely will not hold up. The book I have at home, by the way is America B.C.. If there is another book, do let me know which one. -- Evertype· 09:12, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Evidently the primary sources containing Fell's hypothesis are:
  • Prepositions in hieroglyphic Micmac. ESOP 7 (2), No.156: 143-145.
  • The Micmac manuscripts. ESOP 7 (2), No.157: 146-150.
  • The Micmac manuscripts - 2. ESOP 7 (2), No.162: 167-181.
I have sourced a copy of this number of the Epigraphic Society Occasional Publications. -- Evertype· 09:27, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
I certainly appreciate the effort Everytype has put into the section. Unfortunately, I feel there are legitimate concerns regarding issues of undue weight and original research that need to be considered. Perhaps the material might be better dealt with in the main Barry Fell article. Regards, ClovisPt (talk) 18:05, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Why not discuss this at the Barry Fell article and refer to it with a brief paragraph? As far as I can see, this has zero notability and zero chance of being correct or even remotely significant, so I really don't see what this stuff is doing here. --dab (𒁳) 11:20, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

I deleted all but a brief mention. Think the article looks OK without it. If not, please keep discussing. Itsmejudith (talk) 18:09, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
I support the version of the article as edited by Itsmejudith. ClovisPt (talk) 20:27, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

I do not support the deletion at this time, and I've reverted it. That's a lot of material, and it's being discussed. In particular it has been suggested that primary materials be looked at. I've ordered these and it will take some time to arrive. In the meantime, there's no need to rush to delete this material at this time. "Undue weight" will probably not be so relevant as the article grows, though this may take time; the writing system is complex. Over the years there have been discussions about deleting the Fell stuff entirely, but if we do somebody else will surely just return with it in time. What the discussion does (and should) do is examine the origins of at least some of the Micmac glyphs. Comparison with Egyptian already does help here (msit and nb). Dab, you're right, Fell's hypothesis isn't "significant" in terms of decipherment but it sure is "attached" to Micmac, so pretending it's not there by deleting it... well, that just won't work in the long run. Fell's article is about Fell. This article can and should examine Fell's error and point it out as neutrally as possible—it is refutation, but that doesn't mean it's Original Research. As I said before, when someone who does not know any Egyptian claims that a double flight of steps means 'exalted one' and it doesn't, it's not Original Research for someone who does know some Egyptian to point that out. Is ordinateur French for 'surveyor'? No, it isn't. -- Evertype· 20:28, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
So please leave the material there for the time being. Maybe we will have consensus to delete, or modify, or something, but please let's wait till we get a chance to see the ESOP sources. After all this material has been on this page for a good while. A little more won't hurt. Having said that I have worked to improve the description of the hieroglyphs and make the text at least a bit more neutral. -- Evertype· 20:31, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

I think a good argument can be made that the whole Egyptian thing is undue weight for a fringe idea. But I wouldn't want to see it deleted either. IMO it would be more appropriate in the Barry Fell article; here we could simply say that there have been some fringe ideas about links to Egyptian, link Barry Fell, and leave it at that. — kwami (talk) 21:38, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

For consistency with the way that fringe theories are treated in the encyclopedia, mention of Fell's theories should be kept to a minimum here. Some mention of Mi'kmaq "decipherment" would seem to be appropriate in the article on Fell, but it still isn't appropriate to engage in original research, and also Wikipedia is not the place to carry out debunking, however much we want to see the truth prevail. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:57, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Explaining the correct translation of a word is not "debunking". Anyway, I'm grateful for patience as we explore this. However, with regard to Fell's work, Micmac was entirely peripheral to his main focus. It would be really pointless (and not "more appropriate") to have the Micmac/Egyptian stuff on his page, in my view... it's only of interest to people interested in Micmac. With regard to Micmac... there aren't very many ideas in the world about Micmac Hieroglyphs. Fringe, perhaps, but attached. -- Evertype· 22:30, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
I will go with whatever Doug Weller advises on this one, and suggest others should do so too. I glanced at your userpage Evertype, and on that basis will advise that you should pursue this off-wiki and publish in an academic journal - i.e. where original research is expected rather than deprecated. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:43, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for "glancing". I guess. In any case, I can't think of any "academic journals" which would find this topic fresh enough to publish an article on Fell's hypothesis. But you've avoided the argument. Fell effectively says "these things are identical because their shapes are the same (even when they are not) and because their meanings are the same (even when they are not)." Pointing out that Fell's identification or analysis is incorrect by showing an accurate glyph and giving the actual translation is not Original Research. If Fell said that ordinateur was French for 'surveyor' it would not be Original Research to demonstrate that ordinateur in fact meant 'computer'. That would be simple literacy. The only reason it looks like "research" is that you don't know Egyptian Hieroglyphs, I warrant. "The letter 'b' is used for the sound /k/." Well, no, it isn't. And saying so is Sesame Street (one of these things is not like the others), not OR. -- Evertype· 08:58, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Fell is not a reliable source for anything but his own opinions. This article is really pretty bad as it isn't discussing how they were used, why they were maintained over a period of time, the importance of the translation of the prayer book, etc. Fell should be at the most a minor gloss here, a short paragraph saying he was of such and such an opinion and then making it clear that this isn't the accepted opinion. We also should not be emphasising the word 'hieroglyphs' above 'pictographs', both are used in the literature and I'm not sure what the best title is for this article. Dougweller (talk) 11:13, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Pictographs would mean that it's not true writing. — kwami (talk) 12:11, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
It's referred to as pictographic writing in this source [4], other sources and our article Writing talk about pictographic writing, so I don't see a problem. Thanks for your recent edit, by the way, which I've enhanced and referenced. The 'sucker fish' in question is a river fish, not the ocean ones, by the way. Dougweller (talk) 12:57, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it says some signs are derived from pictographs. That's different. Our writing article says that pictographs are inadequate for a full writing system. AFAIK, that's correct: there is no known pictographic writing system. Our description in this article, assuming it's accurate, speaks of phonetic components. That's not pictographic. — kwami (talk) 22:09, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Ok, but we should probably check about the phonetic components. I note that no page number is given and there's no preview for the source. Dougweller (talk) 05:08, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

The use of the word "pictographic" in some source doesn't mean that the word evinces a proper analysis of the writing system. It means that the glyphs look like pictures. (As I stated above and long ago, the script is logographic with phonetic components). -- Evertype· 12:58, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

What should actually be in this article?[edit]

As it stands, per my comment above, I think this article needs expansion, with Fell a minor side-note so to speak. It didn't take me long to find, as an example, this [5] - the article should say something about what was translated into pictographs and why. It says it was popular but doesn't explain why. Dougweller (talk) 11:24, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

Interesting reading. IMO, though, Fell doesn't really belong here at all. It's hard to imagine an account that wouldn't have undue weight. — kwami (talk) 12:10, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
I found "Bruce Greenfield also notes the important role of performance with respect to Mi'kmaq hieroglyphics; see Greenfield, "The Mi'kmaq Hieroglyphic Prayer Book: Writing and Christianity in Maritime Canada, 1675-1921," in Edward Gray and Norman Fiering, eds., The Language Encounter in the Americas" and "A similar control of forms of literacy is evident in eighteenth-century Acadia, where the Spiritan missionary Pierre Maillard fostered the use of Mi'kmaq hieroglyphics but was reluctant to teach the Roman alphabet because the ability to read in French might lead to political unrest among his Native charges.33" in Warkentin, Germaine. (1999). “In Search of ‘The Word of the Other’: Aboriginal Sign Systems and the History of the Book in Canada.” Book History. Volume 2. It's this sort of stuff that we need, not fringe stuff about Egyptians. Dougweller (talk) 13:13, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Fell does belong here because wrong or fringe or whatever, he still did write about Micmac hieroglyphs. We've similar fringishness in Ogham and Runic if I recall. There should be more than the Fell stuff here, but the Fell stuff at least should be accurate. -- Evertype· 13:00, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
I found the strange Fell section a bit of a shock when I read it, but I agree that it at least relates to the article's topic. The question is whether Fell is notable according to reliable sources. If enough quality references can be found, the section should stay. Furthermore, if he is merely FRINGE, then he doesn't belong. But if he is notable FRINGE (his speculations are of real interest to academicians or to Native Americans), then he belongs with a "FRINGE" note. Debunking is neither needed nor appropriate here, unless done by citations; the real issue is notability as shown by quality references. David Spector (talk) 23:15, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

I think I was too permissive in my comments; on re-reading the section, I see that it contains not a single outside reference, just a reference to a book written by Fell. Unreferenced material in WP can be removed by anyone for good reason, and my good reason is lack of notability. In the absence of any references at all to these speculations, there is no way that the section meets Wikipedia's policies. Therefore, I will remove it. If you are a fan of Fell and wish to restore it, be sure to add reliable references. Otherwise, someone else will remove it. David Spector (talk) 23:22, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

As stated by other editors above, Fell himself is notable, he wrote on the topic and it does represent a viewpoint picked up by others or that has some following. Even if you consider it "fringe", we still ought to report on it, not suppress all mention of it from wikipedia. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 00:02, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Dear Til, the issue here is not just FRINGE, but NOTABLE. If you're familiar with WP policy on notability, you know that several references to RELIABLE SECONDARY sources are required. ANY statement in a WP article that has insufficient references showing notability can be removed at any time by any WP editor. I merely exercised my right to do so. Your only claim to notability is that some WP editors stated that his viewpoint is notable. This is not enough. In fact, it is not even admissible. I sympathize that such an interesting viewpoint may be "suppressed" from WP, but this is common, and it has happened to me; but WP policy always comes first, before the actual knowledge of any WP editor. It's really not such a bad policy. You may be able to find other fora on the Web for posting this information on Fell. Please revert your reversion of my removal in accordance with WP policy, which I believe is quite clear in this case. Unless you have an additional objection to the deletion? David Spector (talk) 21:11, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

No, because I dispute your assertion that Barry Fell's writings are not notable or pass GNG. They probably aren't notable to you because you personally disagree with them. The previous consensus on how to treat Fell in this article is better than blanking out all mention of his theory relevant to Mi'kmaq hieroglyphic writing, as you are doing. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 21:15, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
Fell is notable, but not everything he says belongs on Wikipedia. In this case it dominates the article. This doesn't seem to be significant enough to be included - it seems to receive scant mention in reliable sources. I know you don't like our NPOv policy but WP:UNDUE applies here. Dougweller (talk) 18:25, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I think you are wrong, and you are now suppressing / censoring all mention one of the significant published viewpoints regarding the subject, Mi'kmaq hieroglyphic writing, because you are trying to enforce your personal POV about the question. I suppose I should make a request for comment here. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:04, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Throwing out logical red herrings about "alien abductions" in your edit summary doesn't help much. In terms of a logical argument, this has no valid connection whatsoever. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:14, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
It's an NPOV issue as I've said, so take it to WP:NPOVN. Dougweller (talk) 21:14, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
It may be worth including in the article on Fell. If this article were well developed, then it might belong here per WEIGHT, but as is it's too much. — kwami (talk) 02:43, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Oh, look. Pointless deletionism has made an article less interesting. Yay, Wikipedia. -- Evertype· 05:37, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

What about Chinese/Asian origin theory?[edit]

I don't ever recall hearing the Egyptian theory, I'm more familiar with the Chinese/Asian connection. Also, is this the actual Mik writing, or some White/missionary imposed scribbles assigned to their heathen language as was often done with other Natives? Could Kublai Kahn's fleet have been blown to North America by that typhoon in 1281, like debris from the Fukushima tsunami? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Well even if Kublai Khan's fleet did get blown to Nova Scotia, but there are no sources whatsoever suggesting that, then unfortunately we can't mention it per WP:VER. Talk pages are not a forum for shoe-horning your own original speculation on the subject. And yes this is original Mi'kmaw writing, not invented for them by the French - but there is indeed a school of thought that says if non-white races had any signs of intelligence, the only possible explanation is that whites must have taught it to them, therefore they say the French must have taught the Mi'kmaq to write in hieroglyphics. We call this school of thought "white supremacism". Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 19:01, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
We have an article for that Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contacts#Fringe theories. For a better explanation of why it's not in article other than this, see WP:FRINGE. Heiro 19:13, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
What fringe theory? The anon's speculation about Kublai Khan having something to do with this topic doesn't even rise to the level of a fringe theory, because I'm pretty sure nobody else has ever suggested any such thing before. This is pure abuse of talkpage. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 19:18, 16 January 2013 (UTC)