An Interpreter’s Dictionary of Linguistic Argumentation
by H. D. Onesimus and his small furry friends
Published 2008. Hardcover, xii + 207 pages. Price: USD $207.xii
An especially important resource for first-year graduate students in Linguistics, An Interpreter’s Dictionary of Linguistic Argumentation explains the real meaning behind frequently-used terms in the linguistic literature. This compact guidebook tells you what established scholars really mean when they use certain well-established modifiers in their academic prose.
Here are a few examples of the terms which are interpretively defined within its pages.
As used in: “X is a well-established cross-linguistic tendency”
Possible meanings: 1. Of the six grammars I have on my shelf (which constitute a random sample of the world’s languages, since they were collected based on non-linguistic factors—namely publication price), two of the (unrelated) languages show this feature; 2. I once heard a linguist mention this feature in a talk about some language which I’ve forgotten the name of; 3. This feature is found in English.
As used in: “X is an especially important feature of the Y family”
Possible meanings: 1. X is the first feature of the Y family that was reported on by a linguist; 2. X is the only feature that has been found to be common within the Y family, and therefore, is the only evidence that this is a family; 3. X is the easiest feature of the Y family to explain to non-linguists; 4. X is a feature of the Y family that I once wrote a paper about.
As used in: “Based on the evidence presented in this study, we can arrive at the following tentative conclusion.”
Possible meanings: 1. Actually I have additional evidence that this conclusion is false, but I am saving that evidence so that I’ll get another publication out of it; 2. Actually I have evidence that this conclusion is false, but I didn’t discover the evidence until a couple of hours before the deadline for submitting this paper, so I didn’t have time to redo the analysis and account for it; 3. I finished this paper so late at night that I don’t have any idea what conclusion I have made here, and I’m sure not going to be held responsible for it.
As used in: “The status of phenomenon X is well-established in the literature”
Possible meanings: 1. My dissertation advisor believes in X; 2. No one believes in X now, but everyone did up until about 1950; 3. I once wrote a paper defending X.