Sunday, November 19, 2006

Eric can't argue his way out of a wet paper bag

Eric correctly points out that I didn't represent his side of our little argument properly. Hey, it's my blog, if he wants to put out his side, he should get his own blog. (Truthfully, I barely remember what he said. I don't usually listen to him to intently and there were many other interesting people at the party, like Philadaddy and Parsnip Girl.)
Look, I'm no Pullum, but it seems to me linguifications should be about language. That's true of what I consider the canonical linguifications, the type "In language X there are Y many words for Z" or "In language X there are no words for Z" or "In language X the word for Z is a compound of A and B" or "The word Z originally meant Y". Somewhat less canonical might be ones like "X is invariably followed by Y in a sentence." or "X is never in the same sentence as Y."
See these are claims about language.
While the "X can't even spell Y" type are claims about the individual's linguistic knowledge, NOT the language itself. They're more like the "X cabn't argue his way out of a wet paper bag" snowclones. This seems like an important distinction to me. But like I said, I'm no Pullum.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get writing on my wet-paper-bagification post.

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