A Pair of Fruits

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Feb 27 20:41:05 UTC 2008

At 1:26 PM -0500 2/27/08, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>This thread seems to me to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the
>role of chance in everyday life. I went to 3rd grade with someone named
>"Turnipseed"; what are the "odds" that a "Butters" and a
>"Turnipseed" would be in
>the same neighborhood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1947 (and be the
>same age)? Duke
>hired two guys in the English Department in 1966 named "Clum" and
>"Clubbe"--what are the "odds" that Duke Enlgish in the same year
>would have acquired two
>assistant professors whose last names were separated by only one distinctive
>feature? Low, I suppose, but not particularlty interesting.
>Coincidence abounds--and is generally so unremarkable as not to bear
>mentioning. Having two fruits on the same reporting staff is
>unlikely, but not much
>more surprising than, say, having a "Badger," a "Wolf," and a "Fox."

Or than a field as small as linguistics was 40 years ago having a
(Herbert) Paper, a (Herbert) Penzl, a Postal, and a Stampe all active
and (of course) writing.


>In a message dated 2/27/08 12:51:33 PM, thnidu at GMAIL.COM writes:
>>  Ask on "ANS-L: American Name Society" <ANS-L at listserv.binghamton.edu>.
>>  m a m
>>  On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 12:06 AM, Doug Harris <cats22 at frontiernet.net>
>>  wrote:
>>  > I just happened to notice, on a story from Washington
>>  > in today's NY Times ("Bush Cool to States' Call for
>>  > Public Works Projects," on the lede US page) that that
>>  > newspaper has another fruity reporter in the capital.
>>  > The first, R.W. Apple, is, alas, no longer with us.
>>  > Robert Pear may have been there (in DC, and at the
>>  > Times) for a goodly while, but I just noticed the
>>  > biologic similarity in the names. What are the odds
>>  > of two similarly-based reporters being named after
>>  > (or the same as), say, vegetables?
>>  > dh
>>  >
>>  >
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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