Mark P. Line mline at ix.netcom.com
Thu Feb 13 21:37:26 UTC 1997

Karl Teeter wrote:
>         Friends, and Mark: Sorry if what I said seemed obscure.
>         To respond, (1)A "flame" is an ad hominem attack, in my
> vocabulary, and I seem to remember ad hominem attacks on Victor Golla
> and Benjamin Lee Whorf in Marks's messages.

Ad hominem attacks are those in which some (real or imagined) attribute of
a person is forwarded as an argument against that person's actions or

My statements about Whorf were not an ad hominem attack. My response to
Victor Golla was not an ad hominem attack.

> (2) The term for what I said about a linguist becoming a native
> speaker is "metaphor".  I thought the context made this clear, if not, I
> am sorry.

Your meaning of _that_ particular usage was indeed clear from context. I
made my jibe at it because I was (and remain) pissed off because you
unjustly and publicly accuse me of flaming (of mounting ad hominem
attacks). You've used up your credit in my benefit-of-the-doubt department
for a while (which needn't concern you, of course -- I've already
suggested you learn how to use a killfile).

> Mark has suggested that he can give a
> substantive exposition of his position beyond ad hominem attacks and
> attempts to be funny, and I hope he will!

What part of my position is not common knowledge and has not been
substantively exposited? I'll try to fill in the gaps.

The best source I know of on debunking Whorf's Hopi analyses is the pair
of books by Ekkehard Malotki, _Hopi-Raum_ and _Hopi-Zeit_, both of which I
think are available in English translation (probably _Hopi Space_ and
_Hopi Time_, I reckon).

The best source on the consensus definition of "fieldwork" is the
consensus among empirical linguists. Ask them.

The best source on the methodological superiority of real fieldwork (in
the field) over other native-speaker interview techniques (in the hotel)
is almost any empirical linguist who deals with native speakers. But I
don't think anybody here really disagrees on this particular point --
although we still have the terminological squabble about what "fieldwork"

What else in my position needs more substantive exposition?

Oh, and one other thing. Why aren't you complaining to Frances Karttunen
about her ad hominem attack? She entreated me to not talk about Golla or
Whorf in ignorance of their accomplishments. Her assumption that I was
ignorant of their accomplishments was a condescending ad hominem ("I
choose to believe that Mark is ignorant about Golla's and Whorf's
accomplishments, ergo it is unacceptable for him to say anything critical
about their actions or beliefs"). Saying as much in public was a
patronizing attack. Put them together, and you get an ad hominem attack in
anybody's book. Condescending and patronizing, too.

I didn't let her get away with it, of course, and I certainly don't need
aynbody's help fending off such knee-jerks. I'm merely wondering why you
choose to see something in my post as an ad hominem when it is not, while
not objecting to something in Frances' post which obviously _is_ an ad
hominem attack.

-- Mark

(Mark P. Line   ----   Bellevue, Washington   ----   mline at ix.netcom.com)

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