authority for prescriptions

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Wed Feb 25 21:59:12 UTC 2004

At 02:04 PM 2/25/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>In a message dated 2/24/04 9:40:39 PM, zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU writes:
><< i don't think i can say this more clearly.  if you want to think i'm a
>blinkered prescriptivist asshole, so be it. >>
>I can't imagine anyone in her right mind thinking bad thoughts about Arnold
>Zwicky, who surely is one of the nicest persons--and very best minds--in
>linguistics in my generation. I apologize for any invidious implications,
>which were
>CHOICE is a journal that, as I recall, uses very small type and contains
>multitudinous entries. However, they could save more space by following the
>practice found in LANGUAGE: simply using the authors' initials. Thus
>"Shuy, Wolfram,
>and Riley (1968)" would be just "SW&R." If CHOICE's general practice is to
>refer to joint-authored books by the name of the first author alone, then I
>would agree that the practice is in violation of what most (all?) style
>say. Or maybe they just made a mistake?
>One related practice that can confuse things even more: authors sometimes use
>the singular in references because they are thinking of the work and not the
>authors, e.g., "Shuy, Wolfram, and Riley (1968) says, ..." As an editor, I
>normally "correct" this  to "say," if only because such authors never use the
>singular when the very is "write."

I do agree that this is a problem we constantly have to work with students
(even grad students) on.  They cite the first author, and sometimes any
randomly picked author from a multiple set, as if that's enough.  They also
often use the singular verb, and they regularly cite only one part of a
hyphenated name (even supposedly savvy American students do this!).  I'm a
prescriptivist on these rules too, simply because it's disrespectful of
multiple authors, their collaborative contributions, and their right to
make their own name order decisions.  Of course, students don't know any
better unless someone tells them; but this should have been done long
before they get to us.  And if journals and reviewers violate the rules,
shame on them.

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