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mathematics genius
Posted: 11 July 2011 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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used to be called idiots savants in French

I have no idea whether they were or are called that in French, but they are still called that in English; check any dictionary.  “Savant” by itself can refer either to “a person of learning” or an idiot savant.

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Posted: 11 July 2011 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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There’s an American actor called Doug Savant. Maybe the surname is French denoting a sage or, ironically, a knowall.

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Posted: 11 July 2011 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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venomousbede - 11 July 2011 08:34 AM

There’s an American actor called Doug Savant. Maybe the surname is French denoting a sage or, ironically, a knowall.

Etymonline offers:

savant

1719, from Fr. savant “a learned man,” noun use of adj. savant “learned, knowing,” former prp. of savoir “to know,” from O.Fr., from V.L. *sapere, from L. sapere “be wise” (see sapient).

Consider the name homo sapiens, for instance…

[edited to add missing link]

[ Edited: 11 July 2011 11:08 AM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 11 July 2011 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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“Savant” by itself can refer either to “a person of learning” or an idiot savant.

Thank you.

It appears I may have been precipitate in attributing a French origin to the term “idiot savant”. Seems it may have been an English speaking person who coined the phrase.—There goes a perfectly good English word, gone for a Burton, lost in a fog of ambiguity; I’ll never again refer to Newton, or to any other genius, as a “savant” (might use “idiot” occasionally, though, in reference to a psychologist, especially one who thinks all it takes is a degree, or two, or three).

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Posted: 11 July 2011 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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The judge who condemned Lavoisier to the guillotine supposedly said, “The Republic has no need of savants” (or “the revolution has no need...”. The whole remark, if actually uttered, would have in French, of course.)

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Posted: 11 July 2011 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Lavoisier vs. Marat, earlier, in a dispute concerning the scientific value of Marat’s researches (Lavoisier successfully argued against admitting Marat to the French Academe?--I remain uncertain of this) may have been a major precipitating event. 

I saw this:

When asked for his defense, Lavoisier is famously said to have remarked, “I am a scientist,” to which the tribunal replied, “The Revolution has no need of scientists.”

“La République n’a pas besoin de savants ni de chimistes ; le cours de la justice ne peut être suspendu.”

Are supposed to be the words of the judge. 

In French, does “savants” equate to “scientists?”

Google translate says:

“The Republic does not need scientists or chemists, the course of justice may not be suspended.”

Bearing up the thought.

[edit: further investigation reveals more to the French use of “savant” in classic “tip of the iceberg” fashion...]

[ Edited: 11 July 2011 12:50 PM by sobiest ]
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