Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue Mar 6 17:03:10 UTC 2001

 From Laurence Horn:

>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"?

I have to admit "semanticist" sounds/looks better to me than "semantician".
But "linguisticist" just doesn't seem right somehow.

Both "pediatrician" and "pediatrist" exist, but I've seldom encountered the
latter word. Apparently the pediatricians don't feel stigmatized.

"Physician" versus "physicist" is a little different.

There has been agitation among "technicians" in some fields in favor of the
designation "technologist" -- I'm not sure whether it's purely on
'esthetic'/'linguistic' grounds or whether some conventional job
classification or standard pay-scale may be or may have been involved.
"Technician" and "technologist" are used essentially interchangeably in
medicine and similar fields, I think (they're all called "techs" usually
anyway). But I think in the general language "technologist" may sometimes
evoke an image of Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, while "technician" seems
more plebeian.

-- Doug Wilson

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