LINGUIST List 2.431

Sat 24 Aug 1991

Disc: Linguistic novels

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. Ron Smyth, Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
  2. Fan mail from some flounder?, Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
  3. Scott Delancey, Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
  4. , Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
  5. , Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
  6. Jason Johnston, Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
  7. helen dry, Linguistic novels
  8. , Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program

Message 1: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program

Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 14:19:57 EDT
From: Ron Smyth <smythlake.scar.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
Thank you to Joyce Neu for giving me two leads on linguists starring in
novels. Any other contributions?
Ron Smyth
smythlake.scar.utoronto.ca
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Message 2: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program

Date: Fri, 23 Aug 1991 11:57 EST
From: Fan mail from some flounder? <SDFNCRritvax.isc.rit.edu>
Subject: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
Some of SuzetteElgin's books, such as "Native Tongue", have both linguistic
titles and linguistic protagonists. One of my favorite Sci-Fi stories is by
Robert Sheckley, entitled "Shall We Have a Little Talk", whose protagonist is
supposed to learn enough of the language to buy the planet. The new planet he
goes to has a defense mechanism of rapid linguistic change. At one point the
protagonist cries, "Stop agglutinating!"
Samuel Delany's first novel (which contains a number, but I can't remember it)
is based on the Whorfian hypothesis, and there's a book, "Aliens and Linguists"
that talks about the role of linguists in sci-fi.
Susan Fischer
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Message 3: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program

Date: Fri, 23 Aug 1991 09:22 PDT
From: Scott Delancey <DELANCEYOREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
Subject: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
There's a murder mystery by Guy Endore, Detour at Night (1959), whose
central character is a linguist of sorts, who lectures on historical
linguistics and etymology at a small college in Indiana (which my
grandmother told me is supposed to be DePauw, Dan Quayle's alma
mater).
Scott DeLancey
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Message 4: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program

Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 12:26 PDT
From: <>
Subject: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
 <IZZYT09%UCLAMVS.BITNETRICEVM1.RICE.EDU>
For what it's worth. A good source of information (up to the late
seventies) on linguistics according to sci-fi is Walter Meyer's
_Aliens and Linguists_ (1980). U of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-8203-0487
Jonathan Mead
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Message 5: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program

Date: 23 Aug 91 17:17 EST
From: <pchapinnsf.gov>
Subject: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
Since the question about titles has been broadened to novels featuring
linguists, let me mention _Native Intelligence_ by Raymond Sokolow.
The protagonist is sort of a cross between Cal Watkins and Ken Hale.
The book gets pretty surreal toward the end, but is fairly gripping.
Also, Anthony Burgess (of _Clockwork Orange_ fame) -- himself with
some training in linguistics -- wrote a book a few years back about a
linguist, called _The Doctor is Sick_ (I think). I found it rather
boring, don't think I ever finished it entirely.
Good to hear that David Carkeet has written another book. I enjoyed
_Double Negative_, and will look for _Full Catastrophe_.
Paul Chapin
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Message 6: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program

Date: Sat, 24 Aug 1991 05:45:30 GMT
From: Jason Johnston <jcjextro.ucc.su.OZ.AU>
Subject: Re: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
Some science-fiction mnovels dealing with linguistic themes:
1) The Embedding, Ian Watson, 1973-75, London: Quartet Books. Linguists
allowed to peform learnability experiments on children, and a crazy
"self-engulfing" South American language in which an infinitely self-
embedding construct threatens to bring about the end of the world.
2) The Languages of Pao, Jack Vance, 1974, Mayflower Books Ltd. Whorfian
theme of the attempted take-over of a planet by designing and teaching
special-purpose languages (Valiant for the military, Cogitant for
philosophers and Technicant for technicians). Plot foiled when a hybrid
language called Pastiche arises spontaneously and frees everyone from
Whorfian constraints.
3) Babel 17, Samuel R. Delany, 1967, London: Gollancz. Super-linguist cum
code-cracker has to decipher aliens' language to save humanity. The
language is effectively a test for humankind. Deals quite intelligently
with linguistic/semiotic issues such as contrast, markedness, redundancy, etc.
Note that here in Australia we normally get British editions. There are no
doubt corresponding North American ones.
Jason Johnston,
Dept of Linguistics,
University of Sydney
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Message 7: Linguistic novels

Date: Sat, 24 Aug 91 10:27:18 EDT
From: helen dry <hdryemunix.emich.edu>
Subject: Linguistic novels
Patricia Highsmith has a mystery novel--the name of which escapes me--
with a female grad. student in linguistics as the main character. She's
also a young mother; and one of her best lines is
"Six-year-olds don't make good dinner companions because they rarely
discuss what you're interested in. I, for example, am interested in
transformational grammar . . . ."
Well, that dates the book to the 70's, doesn't it? Does anyone know
the book I so vaguely remember?
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Message 8: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program

Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 17:56:16 EDT
From: <elc9jprime.acc.Virginia.EDU>
Subject: Responses: Linguistic novels, Radio program
The novels of Suzette Hayden Elgin (herself a linguist).
Ellen Contini-Morava and Jack Morava
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