Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Tue Mar 6 11:11:54 UTC 2001

This is from Paul Dean's review of David and Hilary Crystal's Words on
Words in the Times Literary Supplement of February 16, 2001:

"Indeed, there are those who insist that the word 'language' is itself a
metaphor. Here we might have looked for some quotations from
linguisticians, but to our surprise, and evidently to their embarrassment,
the Crystals admit that 'on the whole, linguists (sic) are remarkably
unquoteworthy', mostly offering 'nothing by way of dramatic or memorable
expression' - quite a banning indictment!"

The sic is in square brackets in the review, but the Swiss keyboard I'm
using only has round ones (then again, it makes up for it with all sorts of
diacritical marks). I've only ever come across the word linguistician in
dictionaries. Is Paul Dean a pedant? And a mistaken one at that?

By the way, what do professional linguists (i.e. those trained in
linguistics) think about the popular use of the word linguist to designate
someone who knows several languages but does not necessary know anything
about linguistics? I wouldn't call myself a linguist myself, since I
wouldn't know a morpheme if it hit me in the face, but other people
sometimes do call me a linguist for the simple reason that I know a couple
of languages.

Paul Frank
Business, financial and legal translation
 From German, French, Chinese, Spanish,
Italian, Portuguese and Dutch into English
paulfrank at | Thollon, France

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