Pragmatics of authors-name order

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Feb 24 19:41:50 UTC 2004

On Feb 24, 2004, at 8:20 AM, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:

> I appreciate Arnold Zwicky's discussion (copied below), which raises an
> important topic that is rarely discussed. But I'm wondering if he is
> merely
> reporting on unwritten rules as he has internalized them, or if he is
> referring to
> rules that have been codified in written form by some authoritative
> source.

i was reporting on divergent practices, which together make it
impossible to conclude, in linguistics and some other contexts, what
the meaning of first-mention is.  and the practices that i'm reporting
on are from my own experience.

it now turns out, from reports here, that there are contexts in which
the ordering has been at least partially codified (principal
investigator last; alphabetical order).  but if you look at the author
ordering in linguistics books, it's clear that more than one thing is
going on.  in the most recent issue of Language (79.4, december 2003),
most of the multi-authored books have their authors in alphabetical
order, but seven do not, and we don't know quite what to make of this:
   Wischer & Diewald
   Gass, Bardovi-Harlig, Magnan, & Walz
   Hellinger & Bussmann
   Satterfield, Tortora, & Cresti
   Selting & Couper-Kuhlen
   Voeltz & Kilian-Hatz
   Weigand & Dascal
(the editors of Language are, of course, not free to rearrange the
authors' names, but must take them as they appear on the books

arnold (zwicky at

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