grammaticalization Don't misrepresent Kuhn

jess tauber phonosemantics at
Sun Feb 26 21:56:23 UTC 2006

I spoke with Kuhn about a decade before his death (in 1996), and he was not only rather unhappy with the way his earlier work had been distorted and extended to areas like business, but also wasn't sure he was exactly right in the first place anymore. But this is from misty memory. It reminds me of what happened to Einstein's 'relativity' in the social sciences and humanities.

Shows what happens when someone else runs with your football.

Seems to me that 'paradigm shift' is more like an earthquake or someone popping your balloon. Cumulating force imbalances lead to stresses/strains which can be ignored only until something gives either by itself, or because someone helps the process along. If you're lucky you are young enough and far enough from the main eruption to survive without too much need to turn your own work on its head.

As for communicating more- maybe within any subdiscipline and school. But it isn't hard to find people ignoring both established and new findings of someone else's. Nor do people often delve back into the past to bother to find out if they're reinventing the wheel (AGAIN). Insularity/isolation, rather than multidisciplinary interfacing, is the norm in the publish or perish world (speaking as a member of the latter realm). Who has time and resources for anything else?

But storming the gates of heaven is always loads of fun.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics at

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