Outsiders' views of the value of linguistics

Matti Miestamo matti.miestamo at helsinki.fi
Thu Oct 21 08:26:19 UTC 2010

Dear Fritz,

what about Greenberg & al. (1978: v) quoting a comment by psychologist Charles Osgood:

"... while linguistics had an admirable and well worked out method, it was being applied merely to the description of individual languages. Could the linguists present tell him anything about **all** languages? That would be of the highest interest to psychologists.” 

Greenberg, Joseph H., Charles A. Ferguson & Edith A. Moravcsik. 1978. Preface.
In Joseph H. Greenberg (ed.), Universals of Human Language, vol. 1, 
Method and Theory, v–xi. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Best wishes,

Matti Miestamo

On Oct 20, 2010, at 20:12 PM, Frederick J Newmeyer wrote:

> Hello,
> For a survey article that I'm writing, I plan to assemble quotes from people outside the field of linguistics on what they see as the value, or lack of value, of work done in linguistics. So I would like to cite published quotes from psychologists, anthropologists, literary specialists, etc. on their views about the value/relevance of linguistics for their particular concerns and its value/relevance in general. Can anybody help me out by pointing me to relevant quotes?
> Let me give one example of the sort of thing that I am looking for. The late computational linguist Fred Jelinek reportedly wrote: 'Whenever I fire a linguist our system performance improves'. 
> Thanks. I'll summarize.
> Best wishes,
> --fritz
> fjn at u.washington.edu
> Frederick J. Newmeyer
> Professor Emeritus, University of Washington
> Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University
> [for my postal address, please contact me by e-mail]

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