Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 14:45:58 -0400
From: Larry Horn
Subject: Re: pomo

At 12:34 PM -0500 4/23/98, Mark Mandel wrote:

>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.
Well, what makes \ME/ grumpy is a lexicographer assuming that a word s/he
comes across that s/he hasn't heard before is automatically "gibberish" or
"a nonce word" unless the user can explain it. Guilty until proven
innocent? I'd take the default assumption to be that if you use a word in
print that I don't recognize, it's not (contrary to the tacit assumption
here) an attempt at intentional obscurity on the part of the writer. I
still maintain that my reading is a paraphrase (albeit an unfriendly one)
of the original John Simonesque remarks, rather than a misreading of them,
but maybe I'm just being grumpy myself.