connecting the "metaphor" and "linguistics" threads

Subject: connecting the "metaphor" and "linguistics" threads
From: Mark I Halpern <Mark_Halpern -at- SMTPGATE -dot- TESSERACT -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 10:55:46 PST


A little cross-fertilization between two of our threads --
the one on metaphors, and the one on linguistics/usage -- may be
helpful. Specifically, I suggest that we think about the
metaphor that calls language a living thing that needs to change,
or evolve, in order to survive, or to serve its purpose, or
achieve some other important goal. I think that this metaphor
about language -- that is, about our linguistic behavior -- is
one that has reached the point not only of diminishing returns,
but of negative returns.

I have written a paper called "Why Linguists are Not to be
Trusted on Language Usage" that deals with this question at length; it was
cited by Bill Safire in his NY Times Magazine piece of a couple of weeks
ago, and will be published in part by The Atlantic in some early (I hope)
issue. It's much too long to be sent out as an attachment, but if anyone
is interested in seeing the paper, send me your USPS mailing address, and
I'll be glad to send you hard copy.

mark_halpern -at- tesseract -dot- com

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