Nobody's Perfect Dept.

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Tue Dec 19 19:35:39 UTC 2006

> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at UMR.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Nobody's Perfect Dept.
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> -----------------

>      I personally find it embarrassing to see anyone with
> very limited expertise in a scholarly area join a group with
> members who do have great expertise in the area and then
> berate the experts for not going along with his way of seeing
> things.  A bit of deference towards those with profound
> knowledge of a subject would really be in order--certainly
> for someone whose efforts are supposed to better the world.

As a layperson on this (very non-lay) list, I have to say that I have
been treated with respect and courtesy, beyond what I deserve.  My
background is electrical engineering and I do the word hunting for fun.
Scholars such as Gerry Cohen, Jon Lighter, Jesse Sheidlower, Ben Zimmer,
the staff of the OED, and others have been more than kind to me, and
have made me feel part of a community that I really have no claim to be
a member of.

It's only common sense, however, that part of the reason for the
collegiality I have been given is that I constantly bear in mind that
what I can bring to the table is simply a desire to look things up, and
the willingness to spend the time and effort to do so.  I have no
illusions that I have something profound to say to people who have
studied a subject for their adult lives, while it has been but a
sideline interest of mine for a few years.  And I certainly wouldn't
presume to tell people who write dictionaries that they should use a
different system of spelling.

The American Dialect Society -

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