Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 12:34:16 -0500
From: Mark Mandel
Subject: Re: pomo

Larry Horn writes:

ANd I must say, he doesn't SOUND like someone on the staff of the OED. ("I've
never heard it, so it must be gibberish"

And Fred Shapiro says:

I too was taken aback by David Shulman's reaction to the word _pomo_ and by his
description of himself as a staff
member of the OED. Let me point out, however, that Dave has been a major
contributor to the OED, although
I do not believe he has ever been a staff member. Let me also point out that
Dave's comments may perhaps be
influenced by advanced age or poor health, if this is not too patronizing. I
hope that Dave will not be judged too harshly
for these comments; he has undoubtedly contributed more to our knowledge of the
English language than the great
majority of the people on this list.


Can we please judge Dave on his own words, rather than on misreadings and
misquotations? As quoted by Barry Popik,
he actually wrote:

> I am on the staff of the Oxford English Dictionary. Unless he can
>explain it, it will never be an English word. A nonce word, yes, and even
>gibberish, but not English.


Not Larry's "I've never heard it, so it must be gibberish", but
UNLESS [the user of the word] CAN EXPLAIN IT...
[emphasis added].

The actual comment requires no excuse. Yes, the rest of the quote is grumpy in
tone, but I might be grumpy too on seeing
an unfamiliar word used without explanation.

Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 796-0267
320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA :
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