Normal people vs. us; ugliness in Illinois

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Sun Sep 15 12:34:38 UTC 2002


This is the easiest question  ever asked on the ADS list. Linguists
(quite abnormally) do not believe that languages are fundamentally
exterior to human cognition. Our not holding that folk linguistic
belief in exteriority (from which nearly all prescriptive principles
emerge) is surely enough to make us abnormal (at least in the numbers

But I doubt if the manager of the apartment building in
Urbana-Champaign had that in mind.


PS: Have we discussed the difficult-to-say (and certainly more
recent) "Urbana-Champaign" as opposed to the easily pronounced
"Champaign-Urbana")?  Both stress patterns (the more irregular xXxxX
versus the lovely xXxXx) and weight (two syllables before three
rather than three before two) militate against the ugly

>At 05:45 PM 9/14/2002 -0500, Matthew Gordon wrote:
>>The second edition of Trudgill's book includes IPA as well as the
>>dictionary-type respellings making it useful to linguists as well as
>>normal people.
>     I did not know linguistics made its practitioners abnormal! I once
>heard this kind of distinction from the manager of an apartment building
>where I stayed at the LSA Institute at UIUC (1999). He said that linguists
>were only on my floor and a second one. All the other floors were occupied
>by "normal people." I stared at him wondering what made linguists abnormal.

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
740 Wells Hall A
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office - (517) 353-0740
Fax - (517) 432-2736

More information about the Ads-l mailing list