Track(ed) record

Ronald Butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Fri Nov 19 16:51:15 UTC 2010


I know that Paul means this as a sardonic joke, but somewhat ironically it tends to illustrate the very point that I have been trying to make, i.e., the difference between the purely personal and anecdotal and at least some level of serious engagement with a linguistic issue. My response was not anecdotal, it was a serious suggestion of a possible folk-etymology for a term that was under discussion in the list. At least one other person on the list found this plausible as well. It also interjects a reanalysis that is not easily detectable from real data. Introspection is one of the accepted methods of creating data in linguistics (though it must be used with care, so must Google Books). The contributors I admire most on the list report introspective data frequently.

On Nov 18, 2010, at 12:53 PM, Paul Frank wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 4:18 PM,  <ronbutters at aol.com> wrote:
>
>> For much of my life I assumed that "track record" meant 'verifiable record; record that people had kept track of'. I assume I am not alone in this folk etymology. Track-and-field sports were not big in my boyhood, and horseracing was barely on the radar.
>
> Me, gulp and duck, too.
>
> Paul
>
> P.S. Isn't this a tad personal and anecdotal, Ron?
>
> Paul Frank
> Translator
> Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
> Espace de l'Europe 16
> Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
> paulfrank at bfs.admin.ch
> paulfrank at post.harvard.edu
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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