"esquivalience" is out

Thomas Paikeday thomaspaikeday at SPRINT.CA
Mon Oct 10 15:22:00 UTC 2005

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Bowie" <db.list at PMPKN.NET>
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: "esquivalience" is out

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       David Bowie <db.list at PMPKN.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "esquivalience" is out
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> From:    Thomas Paikeday <thomaspaikeday at SPRINT.CA>
>> From: "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>>At 9:39 PM -0400 10/7/05, Thomas Paikeday wrote:
> <snip>
>>>>On the other points, however, we have to agree to disagree. I view
>>>>lexicography not as a creative effort (as in "creative accounting")
>>>>but as an effort to describe what exists, based on solid evidence,
>>>>similar to anatomy and cartography. An anatomist cannot presume to
>>>>create organs and structures that don't exist, not even plausible
>>>>ones. A route to India by sailing west was quite plausible, but they
>>>>couldn't put out a map of the world based on theories. The route had
>>>>to be discovered first.
>>>Interesting you mention cartography.  Wasn't it precisely the
>>>practice of (some?) traditional map-makers to deliberately invent an
>>>error in the form of (for example) a fictitious island that would be
>>>included on their maps so that anyone else reproducing that same
>>>island on their map could be exposed as a plagiarist?  Nobody is
>>>talking about creating new continents or sublexicons, but the
>>>occasional small island or word seems harmless enough.  (And
>>>occasionally piquant--cf. "The Island of the Map-Maker's Wife" by
>>>Marilyn Sides, a story in her eponymous collection from ten or so
>>>years ago.)
>> I think the idea is good, but the practice is wrong.
> Actually, within cartographic circles, it's seen as not only not wrong,
> but an accepted way for mapmakers to protect their commercial interests.
> Introducing a small error that's not likely to affect anyone (except
> perhaps in a slight annoyance way--i got caught looking on the wrong
> side of the street for an address in West Chester PA once in what i'm
> pretty sure was a case of this) means that mapmakers can catch those who
> unthinkingly simply copied their work and presented it as their own.
> This isn't done with mission-critical sorts of things, of course, but
> for your basic street map? Sure.
> One of these has been documented on MapQuest's map of Alexandria
> VA--Usufruct Ave, which doesn't really exist (not even virtually,
> anymore--MapQuest deleted it from their map once it was outed,
> presumably replacing it with something else). It's a shame, since it was
> even marginally clever, since AIUI usufruct is a legal term for
> someone's right to profit from someone else's property.
> --
> David Bowie                                         http://pmpkn.net/lx
>     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
>     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
>     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.
I agree about cartography and the laws of chocolate. But what's good for
cartography and chocolate may not be good for lexicography, linguistics, and
other sciences in which truth is the main goal of one's endeavour. The end
doesn't always justify the means.

Also, what was considered OK during one age of civilization or in one
culture may not be OK in another. Shakespeare, for example, got away with
plagiarism  before the development of "intellectual property" rights.

By the way, it's interesting how one discussion quickly leads to another and
little-known facts from other branches of knowledge are highlighted. So I
was interested to hear about map-making practices, old and new. THANK YOU
LARRY. Shakespeare scholars, please correct me if what I said above is


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