[Fwd: Re: [FUNKNET] Lakoff critique]

Daniel Everett daniel.everett at uol.com.br
Sat Jun 11 00:38:58 UTC 2005

I don't think that it is necessary to beat the horse so severely, Paul.

I think you and Tom are both right. On the one hand, I did read the
Lichtman article, and I didn't find it nearly so interesting in a
linguistic or cognitive sense as you seem to. I thought it was mainly
political. On the other hand, it did have a grain of
linguistic/cognitive interest.

In general, I think that a solid linguistically or cognitively based
discussion of political discourse/politics is relevant to Funknet or
Cogling. But I think Tom would likely agree. (Don't want to put words
in his mouth, though.)

What I think that we would all disagree with is making room on these
lists for  discussions that are principally political. (Discussions of
evolution also should be focussed on what insights might be provided
for linguistic or cognitive studies. ) On the other hand, I think all
of us would be happy to see discussions that connected linguistic or
cognitive issues directly to politics in some interesting way. I cannot
imagine that Tom would disagree.

So there is no reason, so far as I can see, to insinuate that Tom is
throwing his weight around inappropriately.


On 11 Jun 2005, at 01:29, Paul Hopper wrote:

> I'm forwarding this comment to FUNKNET readers because Ed Blansitt
> seems to have omitted the FUNKNET address.
> I wonder if either Ed or Tom actually bothered to read the Richard
> Lichtman article that Tahir Wood drew our attention to, or whether you
> just picked up on the body of his message (which quoted the opening
> paragraph of Lichtman's essay, by the way--it was not a political
> comment by Tahir!) and categorised it off the cuff as +political,
> -linguistic, and therefore beyond the pale.
> If you'd read the article, you'd have found a very pertinent comment
> on Lakoff's approach to metaphor and on cognitive linguistics. I for
> one find this at least as relevant to functional linguistics as the
> discussion of evolution that took place last week. (So, Ed, would your
> "narrower definition" of linguistic functions include, or not include,
> discussion of evolution? Please tell us, so that we can be informed
> for future reference what we may and what we may not discuss in this
> forum.)
> As a founding member of the FUNKNET community, I find it troubling
> that a discussion group whose raison d'etre was liberation from the
> confines of structuralism should find itself subjected to the
> imposition of a new set of arbitrary theoretical constraints, cast,
> ironically, only a little bit further out than structuralism. But
> then, there's a word for what happens when revolutionaries come to
> positions of power: Politics.
> Paul
Daniel L. Everett
Professor of Phonetics & Phonology
School of Languages, Linguistics, and Cultures
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL UK
Fax: 44-161-275-3031
Phone: 44-161-275-3158

"It does not seem likely, therefore, that there is any direct relation
between the culture of a tribe and the language they speak, except in
so far as the form of the language will be moulded by the state of the
culture, but not in so far as a certain state of the culture is
conditioned by morphological traits of the language." Boas (1911,59ff)

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