ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Tue Jan 4 14:11:39 UTC 2011

I always assumed that the military use of "linguist" referred to people who know more than one language. They usually function as translators, not merely interpreters. In fact, many rarely if ever serve as interpreters at all.

Perhaps the OED listing should remove the "interpreter" entirely. As V describes the entry, it seems to be little different from defining "dog" as 'a fice'.

Sent from my iPad

On Jan 4, 2011, at 7:41 AM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> I was puzzled to discover that OED lists "linguist n. †3. An
> interpreter. Obs.". There is an apparent exception made for China, where
> the term may be "perhaps not yet obsolete". The last citation is from 1882.
> Yet, the term is alive an well in the US military--where it came up
> repeatedly over the past decade in connection with the Iraq War and,
> particularly, because of DADT that forced the removal of a number of
> "army linguists". Language Log has had some coverage of this, but, as
> far as I can recall, never mentioned the OED entry.
> The bottom line is that there is nothing obsolete about it. It might
> have been restricted to jargon and regionalism (e.g., China), but it is
> still being used regularly.
> VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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