Tony A. Wright
TWRIGHT at ACCDVM.ACCD.EDU
Wed Apr 30 22:39:51 UTC 1997
Jon Aske wrote:
> Although I am not going to rush to join, it is nice to hear that our
> presence would be tolerated in the GB2MP list. I doubt, however, that it
> would be seen with good eyes if that list received as high a percentage of
> postings from functionalists as this list receives from formalists.
I'd have to agree with you. This is not entirely an issue of formalists
being intolerant, however. By its very nature, Chomskyan syntax is a
more limited domain of inquiry than functional perspectives, which may take
into account everything from discourse factors to neurology (I know that
this is a old sticking point between functionalists and formalists).
This fact itself limits the kinds of posts that would be appropriate on
But I do not think it would be inappropriate for people to write,
for example, "You know, there are analyses of this phenomenon that
account for it semantically. See So and So's forthcoming article."
Or, "My data suggest that this rigid either/or dichotomy doesn't hold
water." Or "You know, there were real problems with the methodology of the
that case study you cited." Or even a little conscience-pricking when
we posit counterintuitive solutions to problems.
> I also must say, why not, that I found Tony's posting a bit disturbing.
> Perhaps it is my imagination, and perhaps it was unintended, but I sensed
> a patronizing attitude in its tone which I would be happy to be spared
> having to hear again in this list. Like that stuff about lacking empirical
> motivation. Was that supposed to be a flame, or what? Good thing we're
> pretty thick skinned around here from having had to put up with stuff like
> that for so long.
I assure you that any patronizing tone was certainly unintended. I only
meant that any perception on the part of FUNKNETTERS, as reflected in recent
they are unusually open-minded and tolerant, either of formalists or of other
functionalists, seems unwarranted based on the number of "flames" that
actually occur. Not that FUNKNET is any more prone to flames than
average. I'm happy with FUNKNET overall, as I've said.
--Tony Wright <twright at accdvm.accd.edu>
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