[Ads-l] semasiographic; xenolinguist

Jeff Prucher 000000b93183dc86-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Mon Feb 20 01:20:10 EST 2017

> On Sunday, February 19, 2017 4:47 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> I'd have preferred "exolinguist," BTW.

"Xenolinguist" is the standard term in SF; the original story is too long for me to tell whether Chiang used "xenolinguist" in it or not in the time I'm willing to spend on it.

I have a hypothesis that the prefix xeno-, denoting extraterrestrial stuff, is used exclusively in SF, whereas exo- (and occasionally astro-, although I think that might be a bit dated) is primarily used outside of fiction. (I have seen uses of exo- in works of SF, which is unsurprising, since most SF is set in an ostensible version of the real world, so terminology that's in current use does slip in.) I've never attempted to test this hypothesis, however -- it's just my impression.

Jeff Prucher

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

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