Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 19:10:39 -0400
From: "Bethany K. Dumas" dumasb[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Subject: Re: Dictionary-Thumping
On Mon, 13 May 1996, Tom Creswell asked that I "post the entire message
from which the "dictinnary thumper" paagraph was extracted." Tom said
further that he has
some doubts about the accuracy of the analogy between quoting the
bible as a source of information and doing the same with a dictionary.
Sounds to me like the writer just lost an argument and was trying to
rationalize his indefensible position.
Tom, I could do that, but I don't think it would help. The post was part
of a rather long essay explaining why a listmember had been kicked off
the list. One reason many listmembers (including me) had found the person in
question obnoxious was that he attacked many individuals, using words
that many of us found highly objectionable. When challenged, the
individual quoted dictionary definitions, ostensibly to show that he was
using what he called the "technical definitions" of words. He was, in
other words, ignoring connotative meanings of words in favor of narrowly
denotative ones. In my opinion, the poster I quoted was 100% justified in
taking the stand and action that he did. It would take many postings to
establish the full context, and I would have to get the permission of
many posters, including someone who has been banned from the list for at
least a month.
And all I was interested in was whether others had heard the phrase
"dictionary-thumper" in the same sense.
Bethany K. Dumas, J.D., Ph.D. | Applied Linguistics, Language & Law
Dep't of English, UT, Knoxville | EMAIL: dumasb[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]utk.edu
415 McClung Tower | (423) 974-6965 | FAX (423) 974-6926
Knoxville, TN 37996-0430 | See Webpage at http://ljp.la.utk.edu