New York Times on the PSAT Glitch

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Mon Jun 2 16:03:19 UTC 2003

At 10:56 AM 6/2/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>On Sun, 1 Jun 2003, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>#a sad side fact in all of this is that linguists are widely regarded
>#in the media (and by more intellectual publications like the American
>#Scholar, Harper's, etc.) as being partisan, even fanatic.  the problem
>#is that we claim to know some truths about language, and trumpet them,
>#even when common sense, not to mention the publications of talented
>#amateurs, tells educated people that we are just wrong.
>Is it, perhaps, also partially due to Chomsky's status as both
>  (1) the only linguist most people have ever heard of and
>  (2) a "partisan, even fanatic"  advocate of certain political views?
>-- Mark A. Mandel

Only in part, I think (although I did hear him called a "crackpot" by an
interviewee in a followup segment on C-Span 2 yesterday).

If, in answering a query about language, we called ourselves "English
teachers," we'd get immediate respect--due to the odd reverence (combined
with hatred) of p.s. English teachers.  And then throw in a Latin case
paradigm or two, and you're elevated even higher.  "Linguists" are regarded
as dabblers in other languages (and maybe as suspect multiculturalists), I
fear--so what do we know about English?

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