anyone for an anecdote fact-check? (yeah, yeah)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 27 19:02:09 UTC 2004

At 2:45 AM -0500 12/27/04, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On the alt.folklore.urban newsgroup, Mark Webb found a citation of the
>Morgenbesser anecdote from 1977 (NYT Magazine):
>Webb later heard that Morgenbesser confirmed the anecdote but was "sick
>of hearing about it":
Thanks, Ben.  Very interesting.  Clearly different from yesterday's
version in at least four ways:

(1)  It's placed in London rather than at Columbia
(2)  The stooge's claim applies to all languages rather than just to English.
(3)  The stooge is unnamed and suffers career death; clearly we're
not talking J. L. Austin here.
(4)  Sidney Morgenbesser's name is spelled "Sydney"

So at least one of these versions is very wrong.  Too bad nobody
asked Morgenbesser for the details he was sick of hearing about,
since they seem to change from telling to telling.


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