Can one ever overcome a bad reputation?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Nov 25 14:13:26 UTC 2010

At 11/25/2010 12:21 AM, Paul Frank wrote:
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
> > In 1675 John Allyn advised Fitz-John Winthrop, "beware of haveing any
> > linguist in your company".
> >
> > (In passing, he didn't mean at the dinner table or tavern.)
> >
> > Joel
>What did he mean by "linguist"? A student of languages? A philologist?
>A polyglot? A skilled orator? A cunning linguist? (Heard that one in
>1982 and never had the opportunity to throw it into a conversation.)
>In 1675 he surely wasn't referring to practitioners of what's now
>known as the science of linguistics.

Someone who knows more than one language.  In
this case, English and one of the Algonquian
languages, particularly Massachuset.  This was
just before the outbreak of armed hostilities in
King Phillip's War, and the English were very
anxious about whether the Indian translators they
were employing were reporting truthfully.  And some weren't.



>Speaking of the word linguist, my guess is that a pet peeve of many
>professional linguists is the popular use of the word linguist to
>refer to someone who speaks many languages. To quote Shakespeare (Two
>Gent. IV. i. 57):
>And partly, seeing you are beautified
>With goodly shape and by your own report
>A linguist and a man of such perfection...
>Similarly, a pet peeve among many professional translators (not me) is
>the tendency of journalists and ordinary people to fail to distinguish
>between the word translator and the word interpreter, applying the
>word translator to both. But I've crossed over into forbidden
>anecdotal territory...
>Paul Frank
>Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
>Espace de l'Europe 16
>Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
>paulfrank at
>paulfrank at
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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