dialect in novels

lesa.dill lesa.dill at WKU.EDU
Fri Mar 2 17:08:54 UTC 2001

Interesting!I remember once in a biology seminar commenting that the speaker
had attributed to his experimental subjects, in that case, spiders, a
altruistic characteristic because he had perceived it from a human
perspective--anthropomorphism in a very subtle way.  The same thing held in an
evolution class when a student made a statement about natural selection.  The
female finch  knew to choose the alpha male because he would give her
offspring the best chances of survival in the future.  Spiders that feel and
psychic finches.  It strikes me, as Sali suggests, that to attribute rules is
to presuppose some sort of conscious, end-result knowing.  Rules are probably
an artifact (as scientists use the word).  That doesn't make them any less
useful, but it surely does make up realign our thinking.  I'm sure we'd all
agree that we aren't knowingly directing the course of language evolution or
the structure underlying it.

>===== Original Message From American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>At 11:08 AM 3/2/2001 -0500, Bob Fitzke wrote:
>>By all means. The exceptions all arise out of a common ancestor, i.e.,
>>"the rule".
>How come? Exceptions are exceptions because a rule did/does not cover them in
>the first place. Are you suggesting that exceptions are (necessarily)
>divergences from an earlier evolutionary stage when they were covered by the
>same more general rule? Do speakers really acquire a language by rules or are
>rules essentially a by-product of how analysts want to account for linguistic
>behavior (i.e., the behavior of speakers)?
>>Salikoko Mufwene wrote:
>>> At 09:14 AM 3/2/2001 -0500, Bib Fitzke wrote:
>>> >Or, perhaps, when enough of the exceptions coalesce to form a new
>>> rule
>>> >of their own; sort of a "rule within a rule". A type of speciation?
>>> >
>>> "Speciation" presupposes some sort of common evolutionary history, a
>>> sort of divergence after evolving together. Would that be the case
>>> here?
>>> Sali.
>>> **********************************************************
>>> Salikoko S. Mufwene                        s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
>>> University of Chicago                      773-702-8531; FAX
>>> 773-834-0924
>>> Department of Linguistics
>>> 1010 East 59th Street
>>> Chicago, IL 60637
>>> http://humanities.uchicago.edu/humanities/linguistics/faculty/mufwene.html
>>> **********************************************************
>Salikoko S. Mufwene                        s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
>University of Chicago                      773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924
>Department of Linguistics
>1010 East 59th Street
>Chicago, IL 60637

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