LINGUIST List 2.392

Friday, 9 August 1991

Disc: Standard Languages, Trees

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Natalie Maynor, Re: Responses
  2. , RE: standard language.
  3. Bill Poser, tree drawing and Postscript

Message 1: Re: Responses

Date: Mon, 5 Aug 91 10:30:48 CDT
From: Natalie Maynor <nm1Ra.MsState.Edu>
Subject: Re: Responses
I don't think an agreed-upon definition of "standard" (as in SAE)
exists. One way to define it is a dialect based on the language used
by the people in power in a particular country. That's pretty close
to Vicki Fromkin's definition ("the dominant or prestige dialect").
I also like her use of the word "almost" in describing SAE as "a
dialect of English that many Americans almost speak." But then I like
most things about Fromkin and Rodman's -An Introduction to Language- --
which is why I use it when teaching Intro to Linguistics.
For a somewhat extreme (in my opinion) but interesting discussion of
"standard English," see Tony Crowley's -Standard English and the Politics
of Language- (U of Illinois Press, 1989). Although I found some of the
historical discussion tedious (because it was repetitious -- I kept
thinking that the horse was already dead), the last chapter was quite
interesting in its attacks on current (i.e., 1980s) attitudes in England.
 --Natalie (
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Message 2: RE: standard language.

Date: 6 AUG 1991 18:45:13 JST
Subject: RE: standard language.
There was a provocative comment posted 7May (available from UNIWA as
LgBan-Flemish) on whether there could be a std Flemish without some
overt defining grammar or dictionary.
 Perhaps the notion 'standard language' is a classical *stereotype*
combining broad(est) 1: comprehensibility, 2: acceptance as superior,
3: compatability with written language, 4: use in broadcast media &
in cross-dialectal situations, 5: a definition &/or an academy, & maybe
others? Any of these, but not all of them, can be lacking, & every one
of them has problems if U take it as criterial.
 Best of luck, & please tell us your answer.
 ...Ron Hofmann
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Message 3: tree drawing and Postscript

Date: Mon, 5 Aug 91 11:40:19 -0700
From: Bill Poser <>
Subject: tree drawing and Postscript
Andrew Barss says he doesn't know what the BoundingBox comment in
Postscript files is for, so let me explain. This comment
consists of the lower left x, lower left y, upper right x and
upper right y coordinates of a box surrounding the image that the
Postscript code will draw. The comment is not Postscript code,
but is for the benefit of postprocessors that need to figure out
how big the image is so that they can position it properly. It is
required in standard-conforming Postscript code, and is essential
if you want to embed Postscript in other documents. The
coordinates are required by the language standard to be integers,
so CorelDraw has a bug. A lot of PC and Mac drawing programs fail
to produce standard-conforming Postscript, perhaps because of the
tendancy toward vertical integration. This is something to watch
out for if you want to embed one program's output in another's.
I should add that the BoundingBox comment is required
in Postscript intended to be embedded in other documents.
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