On Being [-AGR]—How to Disagree in
& P. Vish
Continuing in the tradition of trailblazer Metalleus (“Important Idioms in Contemporary Science”, Lingua Pranca, 1978), hanger-on H. D. Onesimus (An Interpreter’s Dictionary of Linguistic Argumentation, 2008), and Johnnies-come-lately Cy Tayshon and M. Paktphaq-Torr (“Reviewerish Field Notes,” SpecGram CLXXV.2, 2016), we are proud to move another few gems from high atop the mountain of implicit cultural understanding of linguistics and academia out onto the plain of explicit common knowledge—where both masters and novitiates may contemplate their many sparkling facets. Below we present a selection of “disagreement” words used by academics—in person and in print—and a translation that revelas what they really mean.
Contrary to...—You were wrong but it’s cool; it happens to us all.
Counter to...—You’re wrong but you’re also on my tenure committee so we’ll pretend it’s still cool.
In direct contradiction to...—Give it up. You’re arguments suck, so does your “data”.
Serves as a counterpoint to...—Look at me “critically engaging” with people who proved me wrong. I’m so mature. Ignore the empty box of tissues and the leftover ice cream tubs.
Serves as a counterexample to...—You thought you had me but no! I found this totally not made up example from Proto-Etruscan.
However...—Move over, Columbo, I’m about to drop my stunning bit of evidence right here.
Pace—Yo, home boy, my argument’s like satin / But yours is so bad that I had to use Latin.
It is tempting to think that...—You’d only be tempted if you are the sort of person who looks up to see if “gullible” is written on the ceiling.
Subsequent analysis shows that...—My theory pwns your data.
More recent work has argued that...—Ha ha ha, losers! Looks like you were only right for half a century! I blow my nose in your general direction.
So, it is your position then...—I’m just going to summarize your argument here so you can see what what a total fool you are. Positively 4th Street.
Bless your heart!—Rot in hell, you ignorant pig.
Really?—How did someone like you even get to the big kids’ table to discuss this?
Interesting—Please excuse the glaze covering my eyes and my phony smile.
Can I just say...?—You win, but I need to save face so please indulge me for a moment.
Appears at first sight to be...—Only if you’re blind and not thinking straight.
Has been previously analysed as...—Look at me with my fancy new data!
Wow—I want the resignation of whoever invited this clown to the conference on my desk this morning.
I like your conventional approach to this problem...—But, really, there has been a ton more research on this since 1953.
Can you at least agree...?—Please, the department chair is in the room, my last review was “below expectations” and I swear I will repay you big time.
So you’re telling me...—I want to hear you say this again, just to be sure when I go to the Dean.
I may be just a country boy, here, but...—Prepare to be eviscerated.
Although that belief is shared by many linguists...—Can’t you fools see that this is why nobody respects our field?!?
Largely follows the analysis of...—If you can’t be bothered to do your own thinking, I can’t be bothered to comment on the details.
This assertion may be convincing to those of some theoretical persuasions—I’m thinking of those persuasions that were popular in the 1950s.
I find your argument implausible—My first-year grad students will enjoy ripping this apart in my Linguistic Argumentation class next semester.
Your data...—Unlike other reviewers, I have actually looked at the data itself, and boy does it open you up to the following devastating critique!
That was the conventional approach...—Bell-bottoms were once fashionable too. That didn’t make them worthwhile.
An intriguing, unconventional approach—Ha ha ha, this nut probably thinks the Earth is flat, too.
But...—No one uses “but”; it’s too easy to understand.