LINGUIST List 7.198

Wed Feb 7 1996

Disc: Journal costs, Emphasis

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Alan Dench, journal costs
  2., Emphasis: disc.

Message 1: journal costs

Date: Mon, 05 Feb 1996 14:58:07 +0800
From: Alan Dench <>
Subject: journal costs
While there are many obvious advantages to electronic publishing,
and some very attractive multi-media options in presenting language
material (grammars, dictionaries etc.) on CD-Rom, there are,
I believe a few flies in the ointment.

If I choose to look up some obscure data on the phonology of
some Amerindian language, for instance, I can find a library
which holds back issues of IJAL and probably find descriptive
statements going back decades. If I publish an article today,
electronically, can I guarantee that that article will be
accessible to a reader in 50 years time? Even if someone printed
it out by fax or on laser printer, these media degrade pretty quickly.

If I choose to publish my grammar of an obscure language on
paper, and if I am lucky enough to find a publisher, it may
end up costing any prospective buyer an arm and a leg - the
print run will be quite small. But I can reasonably expect
the volume to survive a couple of hundred years, if looked
after reasonably well.

If I publish my grammar on CD-Rom, I can more or less guarantee
that it won't last more than 20 years. Of course, I have no real
guarantee that even if it did last a little longer, the technology
for reading it would still be around - I've had enough trouble
converting my files from one program to another, and one tape/disk
format to another over the past 15 years to wonder a bit about this.

Electronic media are not long lived. If we have any belief that
the work we do today might be useful to future generations, in
its original published form - not just in the extent to which it
informs the field, and not allowing for the field to occasionally
retrace its steps - then publication on paper is hard to beat.
(Tablets of stone are a little more impractical).
Paper might be expensive, but if you consider that part of what
you are paying for is longevity, the cost is a bit easier to swallow.

Alan Dench
University of Western Australia
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Message 2: Emphasis: disc.

Date: Wed, 07 Feb 1996 10:05:09 EST
From: <>
Subject: Emphasis: disc.
Must disagree with Jenkins in 7.191:

> Strongly agree with Hartman and Shaw. Not only sounds reasonable
> but if we can believe the historians we have all done the same with

> Lincoln's words. What makes sense is "of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE
> for the PEOPLE" But what almost all of us say when we repeat those
> words is, "OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people."

Wrong.* We say it with stress on prepositions, but Lincoln
probably did too; or, at any rate, that stress is consistent with
traditional contrastive stress, not with the bored-public-address
innovation of stressing the background element. "The people" is
the common element in the three phrases. You might stress it once
if contrasting it with a different NP, e.g., "Not government by
contrast here is between three relationships that obtain between
the people and the (process/machinery/act) of government: the
people as object, agent, and beneficiary. (I take the liberty of
translating Lincoln's prepositions to simple single roles.)
Lincoln is speaking of all three of these relationships, together
and in parallel. In this case, contrary to the usual situation in
which NPs carry more information than prepositions, the NPs are
the given information. Stress on the common element in Lincoln's
phrases would be exactly backwards, highlighting the background...
as this peculiar announcer-speak does by stressing prepositions
when they are NOT foreground information.

*(Sorry for brusque style. Am following Jenkins' usage. ;-)

In fact, Lincoln's usage parallels Hartman's example in 7.184:

> Harold F. Schiffman's comment has helped me to see the stressed-
> preposition phenomenon in terms of theme and rheme in discourse.
> If the news story is *about* Jerusalem, then diplomats will be
> going *to* Jerusalem, news will come *from* Jerusalem, and H.
> Kissinger will be *in* Jerusalem. Jerusalem itself, prosodically,
> can fade into the background as taken for granted. But the
> various relationships *to* Jerusalem, expressed by prepositions,
> are new each time and thus "deserving" of emphasis.

For Lincoln the relationships (of government) to the people are
"new each time".

 Mark A. Mandel
 Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200
 320 Nevada St. : Newton, Mass. 02160, USA :
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