Thursday, August 2, 2018

Dunning-Kruger geography

Our president, freestyling:

“I have great respect for the U.K. United Kingdom. Great respect. People call it Britain. They call it Great Britain. They call it — they used to call it England, different parts.”
From Garner’s Modern English Usage:
Great Britain consists of England, Scotland, and Wales — all three on the island known to the Romans as Britannia. (Modern usage routinely shortens the name to Britain.) It differs from United Kingdom, which also includes Northern Ireland.

Some people wrongly think of Great Britain as a boastful name. But it’s not: it’s rooted in history. Great Britain was once contrasted with Little Britain (or simply Brittany), in France, where the Celtic Bretons lived. Although the OED’s last citation for Little Britain dates from 1622, the term Great Britain has persisted (though perhaps not without a sense of pride).
Don’t get me started on the Channel Islands, the Crown Dependencies, and the difference between the British Islands and the British Isles. So many parts!

Related reading
All OCA Dunning-Kruger posts

[The Dunning-Kruger effect: a lack of competence entails an inability to recognize one’s lack of competence.]

comments: 4

Frex said...

OMG, what a useful term, the D-K Effect!
I was so happy to discover lists of Cognitive Biases---this effect is like those.

Of course I have those biases too---we all do--the trick is to try to see them in oneself---but the D-K Effect is extra pernicious: you cannot see it in yourself. (Right? I mean, I think our president's brain is incapable of it---or it sure seems that way.)

It's like people at a certain stage of Alzheimer's don't (can't) know there's anything wrong with them.

Michael Leddy said...

Yep. It involves a marked lack of awareness, as in someone who sings off key and can’t hear it.

Pete said...

Probably the most bang-head-against-wall job right now is that of Trump’s aides who have to brief him on matters far more complex than this one. Seeing how he doesn’t even know the UK, Britain and England aren’t all the same thing, it’s utterly terrifying to contemplate how little he knows about climate science, nuclear proliferation, international trade, etc.

Michael Leddy said...

It is terrifying, for sure.

Can you imagine what he must have been like as a college student? A Penn prof: “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” I like to think that he was flunking out at Fordham when he decided to switch to Penn.