Publication Information Babel Vol I, No 1 Contents Discourse Gender in Hakka Creole--Keith Slater

Letters to the Editor

*Editor’s note: all replies to readers’ letters are written by the Editor-in-Chief. Views of other, more reasonable members of the editorial staff are likely to be more sensible than those expressed here.

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Cover Design

Dear Editor:

   I have just seen a copy of the proposed cover design for your new journal, and I thought that I should point out a flaw which you ought to correct before you go to press. I take it that the reason you have a world map on your cover is to emphasize that you are the journal of the Worldwide Linguistics Society. Yet you have left off a very important part of the world, full of interesting indigenous languagesnamely Antarctica. You are, of course, simply perpetuating the usual bias of linguists against Antarctican languages, but I had hoped when I heard about Babel that it might be different. If it is not too late, I strongly suggest that you change your cover design; more importantly, I urge you to expand your linguistic scope to include Antarctica.

                    Robert F. Scott
                    London, England

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   On your cover, you have outlined the continents of the world. Does this mean that you, like so many other closed-minded linguists, intend to ignore aquatic languages? Cetacean linguistics is a vast field, and you would do a disservice to yourself, as well as to it, if you excluded it from consideration.

                    Jillian Taylor
                    San Francisco, CA, USA

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To the Colonialist Editor:

   Well, another lousy fascist imperialist in the ranks of linguists. I see that you have used a Mercator projection for the map on your cover. Everyone knows that this projection is part of a foul-minded plot by the oppressive authorities of the Northern Hemisphere to diminish the importance and self esteem of the downtrodden Southern peoples. Please rest assured that when the revolution comes to your neighborhood, you will be on the list of bourgeois enemies of the people.

                    Eduardo dos Santos
                    Luanda, Angola

Dear Ethnocentrist-in-Chief:

   Worldwide linguistic Society, eh? So you’re excluding the many languages of planets other than Earth? Well, you’re no worse than the rest of your sorry kind. With a few exceptions, Earth linguists have limited themselves to Earth languages, with some even going so far as to claim that languages of other planets would be unintelligible to humans. This is nonsense, of course, as anyone who’s bothered to actually examine such languages could tell you. Why don’t you take a look at them?

                    Edgar Rice Burroughs
                    Tarzana, CA, USA

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Babel responds:
   Good heavens. We didn’t expect so much hostile mail before we’d even published any articles. To begin:

   1) We subcontracted out with a graphics company for our cover design. We said we wanted a world map, but we didn’t specify the projection or specifically request that Antarctica be included. Obviously, we should have been more careful. Unfortunately we didn’t notice the problems with the map until we read the letters above, by which time it was too late. We have already paid for the current design, and we don’t have the money to change it.

   2) Admiral Scott: we certainly do not intend to ignore Antarctican languages. Send us an article on one, and we’ll happily publish it.

   3) Dr. Taylor: many of the members of our editorial staff were previously associated with the now defunct journal Psammeticus Quarterly, which had a long tradition of supporting aquatic language research. rest assured that the tradition will continue. And how do you know we weren’t outlining the oceans rather than the continents?

   4) Mr. dos Santos: I don’t like the Mercator projection either, since it distorts sizes amazingly. But that doesn’t mean I’m not an imperialist.

   5) Mr. Burroughs: at the present, all of the members of our organization are Earthlings; we are an Earth-based organization, and while we would welcome extraterrestrials if they asked to join, it would be presumptuous at present to pretend to a wider constituency. Yet we do not exclude work on languages of other planets; indeed, one of the foremost Earth experts on Martian languages, C.F. Hockett, is on our editorial board.

Publication Information
Discourse Gender in Hakka CreoleKeith Slater
Babel Vol I, No 1 Contents