Nobody's Perfect Dept.

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Tue Dec 19 02:49:13 UTC 2006


Thank you--your analogy is perfect.  I feel like I'm talking to
Bishop Ussher himself half the time, and that is entirely the problem
here.  You can't argue with a true believer.
And I really don't see his obsession about "Brittish" imports.  This
is an American dialect list, and though there are British
correspondents, as well as Yanks with some British training and
people with interests in dialects on both sides of the Pool, most
people I see answering Tom Z's missives are American-trained
Americans interested in American speech--and a lot of them with
native dialects not a million miles from what I suppose he was born
with, even if we don't say baink or theenk like he "theenks" he
does.  And, being one of those afore-mentioned Yanks trained in both
countries, from what I've seen, the Britishers--or at least the
(Southern/Midland) English, have historically been more prescriptive
about accent details than we have.  We never developed a "Received
Pronunciation" accepted by everyone, even if our "authorities" do
rail against Alabaman or Brooklynese features from time to time.  We
concentrate on morphology and syntax when we want to get really
prescriptive, probably more than they do in fact.  So he knows "sweet
FA" as they'd say over there-- and I know he'd get me for gratuitous
vulgarity if I spelled it out-- about British language attitudes OR
        I really found it hilarious that he trotted out his British card
when I made a reference to Middle English a few postings ago.  As if
we don't have History of the English Language courses here.


On Dec 18, 2006, at 8:36 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Nobody's Perfect Dept.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
>> Mark Mandel has known of my work for years.  He doesn't like what
>> I do.  He
>> has an agenda.  Is he a Brittish import to US?
> Why do you keep accusing those who disagree with your viewpoint of
> being British (or Brittish)?
>> I have brought up many many issues here and have been hectored as
>> no one
>> else possibly ever has for showing different points of view.
> The "different points of view" you've "shown" are akin to someone
> posting messages on a list for evolutionary biology that repeat over
> and over the "point of view" that Darwin was biased and should be
> disregarded since of course God created the universe in 4004 B.C.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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