Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Mar 6 01:54:33 UTC 2001

At 2:57 PM +0100 3/6/01, Paul Frank wrote:
>  Paul Dean trashes Words on Words, but
>since he thinks linguists are linguisticians perhaps he's not to be
>trusted. It's published by Penguin and the University of Chicago.
You're right, he's not.  _Words on Words_ is a comprehensive
dictionary of quotations about language, and it's quite good,
although not perfect--certainly the best resource for this purpose,
although not quite up to the standards of Fred's Oxford Dictionary of
American Legal Quotations. I was a reader for the U. of Chicago Press
on the Crystals' book proposal, so I had the opportunity--not to
mention responsibility--of looking at the entire manuscript, although
I haven't purchased the published version.  Safire mentioned it
favorably in a recent column, but I hope even Barry wouldn't hold
that against it, as he always has nice things to say about DARE too.
I didn't find any egregious errors in the ms., but I did note several
of my favorite quotes missing--I don't know if they snuck them into
the published (cis-Atlantic) version, or if they ignored my comments
and just reprinted the Penguin version.

As for "linguistician"--I've come across it and assumed it was used
as a disambiguator, but it has always struck me as pompous, so I (and
most of us) are resigned to putting up with the polysemy of
"linguist".  I recall a posting somewhere in which someone was
complaining that the "-ician" is too redolent of "beautician" and
"dietician", but I wonder if that's a fair critique (i.e. turning
linguistics into a pink-collar profession).  Certainly nobody who
studies phonetics or syntax objects to "phonetician" or
"syntactician" on those grounds.   How do others feel about the
distinction between "dialectologist" and "dialectician"?


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