Track(ed) record

Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Nov 19 17:07:29 UTC 2010


My me too was serious: like you, I had always wrongly assumed that
track record was a record that people had kept track of. My lame
little post-scriptum joke was also serious: I thought you were
breaking your own rule. But it turns out that your rule is more
discriminating (in the best sense of the word) than I had assumed:
your introspection generates and explicates linguistic data; other
folks' introspection is so much chatter, to borrow a word. So I sit
corrected again.

As for top posting, there are good arguments for it:
<>. And good
ones against it. It makes no nevermind to me.


On Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 5:51 PM, Ronald Butters <ronbutters at> wrote:

> 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, Â <ronbutters at> 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?

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list