End of ADS-L Digest - 5 Mar 1996 to 6 Mar 1996 ********************************************** There are 12 messages totalling 338 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. Survey of e-usage (5) 2. skinny marink? 3. email usage (2) 4. Surveying English 5. Inter-variety miscommunication (2) 6. "Resources on Black Slang" ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 22:33:21 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Re: Survey of e-usage I'll jump in in support of Joan Cook's and Carl Berkhout's notes on the proposed usage survey. As long as it is open-minded in trying (a la Leonard of ancient memory) to find out what the prevailing usage is, as a basis for recommending standardization in FORMAL PUBLICATION and REFERENCES, I think it is something that, as committed linguistic populists, we should strongly support. [Of course, if it starts out with a set of preconceived norms that the survey is a smokescreen for imposing, then I'll raise the banner against it.] But just as no one is going to look over your shoulder and censor your letters to your mom or best friend, this is not an effort to set up an automatic electronic censor on e-mail messages. American Speech is certainly not open to idiosyncratic indulgence in spelling or grammar. Things haven't been that way since the 18th century. While we may lament the loss of options for individual creativity, if you are trying to use a Net search engine to run down references to something, it would not help if users asserting their God-given rights had spelled everything half a dozen ways. There are a few things like DROUTH that I will never surrender on, the Union Army be damned -- we know much more about them in Texas than anyplace else can claim to. But if I am putting out a formal publication on the Net or the Web or whatever may eventuate, I would prefer to have some editorial standards to conform to, just as when I submit papers to different journals I have to conform (grudgingly) to their different bibliographic styles. Even psycholinguistic research shows that it is easier and faster to read text that follows normalized spelling conventions. In the information age, idiosyncracy in areas like this becomes , alas, dysfunctional. If you ever try to do much searching on library or other databases, you'll appreciate why. --Rudy Troike (rtroike[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ccit.arizona.edu)