Chops; F-cknut

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu May 6 14:45:35 UTC 1999

Come on now Larry and Barry. Let's get out of this what we we should.

First, Larry is right to chastise Barry for expecting the entire world to
sit up and take notice of etymological work.

Second, Larry misses the opportunity to note that (once again) folk
linguistic expression firmly establishes ("your guess is a good as mine")
that those things which engage linguists scientifically are taken to be
"matters of opinion" in the real world.

That, of course, in the face of minority language and variety treatment in
schools (by legislators and the public) and a long list of linguistic
"desirables" is what is disturbing, but, as his been pointed out on this
list before, scientists must take some of the blame on themselves for not
"advertising"  what they have found out AND the validity and
"scientificness" of the procedures they use. It is not an entirely
science-fiction world in which linguistics could come to be better-known
(and even more highly regarded) by real people.


>At 11:30 PM -0400 5/5/99, Barry A. Popik wrote:
>>      And then, just to guarantee my complete despair, and beyond all hope of
>>any correction, there was this, on a May 1, 1999 Op-Ed page of The New York
>>"Please don't ask why New York is called the Big Apple; your guess is as good
>>as mine."
>Come now, Barry; that op-ed piece was a cabbie's list of questions asks not
>to be asked, and assuming his passenger is neither you nor one of the ads-l
>readers acquainted with your postings on the subject, his comment is
>completely accurate.

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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