A Letter from the Publishers Babel Vol I, No 3 Contents The Dangers of Publishing Preliminary Findings—Pablo Palabras

Look What The Postman Dragged In

*Editorial noteIn the past, Tim Pulju took responsibility for answering all correspondence from our readers, and, as we mentioned previously, apparently took responsibility for writing much of it also. In fact, we’re not entirely sure some of the letters printed in this issue were not in fact written by him, but we can assure the readers that all responses were written by the WLS Publications Committee, a far more respectable body than the former committee of one.


   I neither wrote nor submitted the letter attributed to me in Vol. I.2 of your journal. In fact, for all you know, I didn’t even write this one. I am seriously disturbed by the lax standards which permitted publication of a spurious document. Let me say, for the record, that I have never met Bill Spruiell; I have no evidence that he is an abuser of alcohol; and last, I am not now nor have I ever been associated with the Peace Corps. I am English. There is no Peace Corps in England.

                   Colin Renfrew
                   Manchester, England

P.S. You will note that I do not live in Ploughville, England. To my knowledge there is no such place as Ploughville, England.

Dear Professor Renfrew,

   Even if you did not write the above letter, we are sure that it must accurately reflect your sentiments. Please accept our assurance of shared disregard for Tim Pulju.

To whom it may concern:

   There is no one named Jim Stowell listed in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, phone book. Moreover, it is entirely certain that the Cambridge linguist whose name is quite similar to “Jim Stowell” did not write the letter attributed to Jim Stowell. I’m not sure what you’re trying to pull here, but whatever it is, please cut it out.

                   Sign me
                   “A Concerned Linguist”

Dear Concerned,

   Once again, it’s all Tim Pulju’s fault. We hope that his tongue cleaves to the roof of his mouth, and all his crops wither and die, and one tenth of his cattle die, and so on.

Dear WLS,

   Georg Strudelfest’s article, “Language: The Failure of Modern Philosophy” (Vol. I.2), is yet further evidence of the author’s inattentiveness to major philosophical trends of our day and his general unfitness as a scholar. Since I am familiar with his previous work, I was saddened but not surprised to find that Strudelfest completely ignored the work of the neo-post-Sartreans in his discussion; more unexpected was his apparent lack of knowledge of the Stockholm school’s brilliant reformulation of the Nietzschean theory in terms of glossological primitivism. Most distressing of all is his failure to cite any of the relevant Marxist literature; again, one must assume he hasn’t read it. How can a man who knows nothing of the field of linguistic philosophy get his criticism thereof published in the journal of a major linguistic society? I do hope that in the future you will at least publish articles by more serious philosophers as a counterweight to Strudelfest’s empty (and, I might add, non-rigorous) musings.
   As a final note, I would like to point out that it was Sapir, not Bloomfield, who discovered the sein / dasein / nichtsein distinction, although it was Bloomfield who popularized it.

                   Antoine Jomini
                   Lausanne, Switzerland

Dear WLS,

   I would like to comment on Zoltan Lazar’s review of Carrie Cameron’s book on voice systems. I have not read Cameron’s book, but I have read Lazar’s book on voice in Hungarian. In his review, Lazar comments that either he or Cameron’s informant must speak a weird dialect, since their respective grammaticality judgements almost never agree.

   Cameron’s informant’s dialect may indeed be degenerate, as are most dialects nowadaysbut of that I have no direct evidence. However, having read Lazar’s book, I can say that his dialect is the most distasteful variety of Hungarian I have ever encountered, and I am shocked that you would allow such a man to review a book for your journal. You should be informed that the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has branded Lazar as ‘unfit to wield a pen in serious academic authorship’. I hope you will bar him from your pages in the future.

                   Ferenc Kazinzcy
                   Budapest, Hungary

A Letter from the Publishers
The Dangers of Publishing Preliminary FindingsPablo Palabras
Babel Vol I, No 3 Contents