Linguists like to argue!?

Salikoko Mufwene mufw at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Tue May 21 12:20:56 UTC 2002

I was amused by the following passage in Steve Olson's (2002) Mapping Human
"Linguists know that many languages are related through descent from a
progenitor such as Proto-Indo-European. But languages and the families to
which they belong seem related on multiple levels, and many of the
relationships are obscure. Relationships that seem obvious to one linguist
are non-existent to another. And because linguists cannot agree on the
criteria to be used to define those relationships, they tend to engage in
the activity for which they are well known: they argue" (143)
Salikoko S. Mufwene
Visiting Professor
Harvard University
Department of Linguistics
313 Boylston Hall
Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Phone: (617)496-4516
Fax: (617)496-4447
mufwene at
or: s-mufwene at

Salikoko S. Mufwene                   s-mufwene at
University of Chicago        773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924
Department of Linguistics
1010 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

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