Tuesday, July 13, 2010

what do you say to a linguist?

Here's a clever site by David R. MacIver that compiles stereotypical responses to the "What did you study" question. two responses so far for linguistics. I'm sure we can add many more.


What do people say to Linguistics?
"Oh, my grammar is horrible. You must hate that..."
"So how many languages do you speak?"

8 comments:

D. Sky Onosson said...

The one I usually get is "So what are you going to do with that?"

I still don't have an answer.

Chris said...

hehe, it's a tough one.

CoffeeTeaLinguistics said...

I usually get pretty good questions. People will ask about different dialects often. On the "what will you do with it?" question, it doesn't happen as much when you're talking to other academics/researchers.

Chris said...

Coffee..., so true that within academics, people are more attuned to what linguists do. But once outside, they all think we're junior high school English teachers, hehe.

Szwagier said...

Any votes for "Isn't The Language Instinct" a great book?"?

That usually gets me frothing at the mouth...

Chris said...

haha, or "Isn't Strunk & White" just the greatest!

KellyK said...

So, not having read the book, I'm curious why it makes you froth? Is it that bad?

I majored in English, which is another "So what are you going to do with that?" major.

Chris said...

I can't speak for Szwagier, but Pinker promotes a particular view of language in the book, namely Chomskyan, which many linguists today would consider innacurate. Nonetheless, Pinker was an excellent psycholinguist back-in-the-day.

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