Mission of the American Dialect Society--the "so what?" question

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Nov 1 22:42:18 UTC 2003

At 2:21 PM -0600 11/1/03, Gerald Cohen wrote:
>    We all marvel at the achievements of DARE and OED for their
>historical documenting of the English language.  But how did those
>achievements come about?
>Answer: by the determined, inspired searching of people like Fred
>Shapiro, Barry Popik, George Thompson, Douglas Thompson. These and
>their fellow researchers are the unsung heroes of lexicography,
>receiving perhaps a brief mention in a dictionary's introduction, but
>otherwise usually seeing the individual fruits of their labor appear
>without due credit.
>    That lack of repeated credit-giving cannot be changed. But surely
>a scholarly organization devoted to the study of the the
>English/American language can see to it WE give as much due credit as
>possible to the people producing their steady contributions (please
>avoid the word "spewing"); this is truly a labor of love.
And as such, we'll want to correct Jerry's reference so that it
properly credits Doug Wilson, with whose postings I for one have been
consistently impressed.  Yes, that reference to the non-existent Doug
Thompson was a mere typo, but since Doug Wilson is too modest to
correct it himself, I thought I might intercede.  (As far as the
proposed "LEX" vs. "DIA" labels--for me these categories are neither
mutually exclusive nor mutually exhaustive for ads-l postings.  But
"ANTE" for antedates would seem to be relatively straightforward.)


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