LINGUIST List 5.1129

Sun 16 Oct 1994

Disc: "linguistician"

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Mike McHale, linguistician
  2. Karl Teeter, English terms in -ician
  3. Sheila Embleton, Re: "linguistician"

Message 1: linguistician

Date: Fri, 14 Oct 1994 12:00:31 linguistician
From: Mike McHale <mchaleAI.RL.AF.MIL>
Subject: linguistician

As far as "linguistician" identifying us with beautician, morticians, and
the like, there are things much worse - such as politician :-)

Actually my dictionary had 40 such nouns including academician, acoustician,
dialectician, logician, mathematician, musician, obstetrician, pediatrician,
phonetician, physician, rhetorician, statistician, theoretician, and
zendician. I, myself, don't find linguistician a comfortable mouthful, but
then again I consider myself a computational linguist.

 Michael L. Mc Hale |
 Rome Laboratory |
 525 Brooks Road, Suite 10 |Email:
 Griffiss AFB, NY 13441-4505 |
Areas of Interest: NLP, GB, MRDs, EIEIO

Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: English terms in -ician

Date: Fri, 14 Oct 1994 13:53:40 English terms in -ician
From: Karl Teeter <>
Subject: English terms in -ician

Thanks to Robert J. Pensalfini for setting me straight on these. I am
too lazy to look up references these days, and was quoting from my
65-year old memory of a discussion on the matter about thirty years ago in,
I think, Studies in Linguistics, where Robert A. Hall proposed the term
"linguistician" and Einar Haugen didn't like it. I don't either, and
surely usage makes "linguist" in our use correct by now! Yours,
Karl (=Karl V. Teeter, Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus, Harvard
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Re: "linguistician"

Date: Fri, 14 Oct 94 20:53:32 EDRe: "linguistician"
From: Sheila Embleton <EMBLETONVM1.YorkU.CA>
Subject: Re: "linguistician"

The Concise OED cites "linguistician", meaning "one who is versed in
linguistics", from 1897, in The Classical Review, giving the quote
"The earliest linguisticians regarded vl in the words for twenty as a
by-form of dvl". This pre-dates Robert Hall's birth. The term
"linguistician" is more common in British usage than North American,
even if it is definitely archaic now (although I know some people who
regularly use it). Thus, Robert Hall could not have invented the
term, although perhaps he was an advocate of it (cf. Karl Teeter's
statement that "it was first proposed in print years ago by Robert A.
Hall". Somehow this all implies to me that there was an earlier debate
amongst linguists (/linguisticians...) as to what term to use, and I
would be interested in hearing about that earlier debate. Perhaps, as
a beginning, Karl Teeter could provide us with more information about
when/where Hall first proposed this in print?

Sheila Embleton (;
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue