LINGUIST List 7.848

Sat Jun 8 1996

Qs: Lector de Textos,US Langs,Ling & Ballet,"PC" origin

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  1. Juan Suarez, Lector de Textos en Espaqol (y alto parlante de lo tipeado)
  2. "Charlotte Linde", Top US Languages
  3. E. Wayles Browne, Linguistics and Ballet?
  4. "James T. Myers", origin of the phrase "politically correct"?

Message 1: Lector de Textos en Espaqol (y alto parlante de lo tipeado)

Date: Thu, 06 Jun 1996 00:46:32
From: Juan Suarez <>
Subject: Lector de Textos en Espaqol (y alto parlante de lo tipeado)

Me dirijo a Ud, para ver si tiene interes, o puede indicarme
de algun sitio dentro de ese servidor, donde pueda haber
interes en un sistema Lector de Textos en Idioma Espa=F1ol=20
(y alto parlante de lo tipeado). Es muy innovativo, dado
que utiliza la propia voz del usuario. Requiere un equipo
minimo 386 con 4 Megabytes y tarjeta de sonido compatible
con Sound Blaster 16.
Presenta muchas funciones (busqueda dentro del texto,=20
ajustes de todo tipo , etc), que pueden ser muy utiles
a gentes aprendiendo el idioma. Por su puesto, el uso=20
va desde lectura de textos, emails, documentos, hasta=20
para discapacitados.
Por favor, le pido si puede mandarme unas breves lineas
que me guien en mi intencion de ofrecer este sistema que
he desarrollado dentro de esa area.
Saludos y hasta pronto.

- =20
 ,-._|\ Juan Jose Suarez E-Mail: =20
 / Oz \ 7/94 Beach Rd. Melbourne - 3194 - Australia
 \_,--._/ ph: (03)9584-2620 MelbPC User Group
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Message 2: Top US Languages

Date: 07 Jun 1996 13:50:34 -0800
From: "Charlotte Linde" <>
Subject: Top US Languages

 Subject: Time: 1:38 PM
 OFFICE MEMO Top US Languages Date: 6/7/96

I'd like to know what the most frequently spoken languages in the
United States are. In particular, I'm looking for languages other
than English spoken as a first language.

- Thanks, Charlotte
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Message 3: Linguistics and Ballet?

Date: Fri, 07 Jun 1996 21:15:50 EDT
From: E. Wayles Browne <>
Subject: Linguistics and Ballet?

Prof. Svenka Savic of the University of Novi Sad (Vojvodina, Serbia),
who is both a psycholinguist and a ballet critic and dancer, has been
working on a paper with the self-explanatory title
 Lingvistika i balet.

Language and dance are both semiotic systems. Just as there are rules
for combining words into larger groupings, there are rules for
combining gestures into larger wholes, which distinguish what is
possible and what is not possible. She wonders if linguistic
colleagues (or ballet colleagues) have drawn similar comparisons. What
literature can readers recommend? Please write directly to me at

Wayles Browne, Assoc. Prof. of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics
Morrill Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853, U.S.A.
tel. 607-255-0712 (o), 607-273-3009 (h)
fax 607-255-2044 (write FOR W. BROWNE)

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Message 4: origin of the phrase "politically correct"?

Date: Sat, 08 Jun 1996 10:20:32 +0800
From: "James T. Myers" <>
Subject: origin of the phrase "politically correct"?

The recent discussions of the LSA's policy on meeting locations have
raised some ire over the phrase "politically correct." There seem to
be two assumptions made about the use of this phrase and its
abbreviation "PC":

(1) the terms are used primarily by centrists and rightists to criticize
the left and things like affirmative action, anti-racist and anti-sexist
proposals, etc

(2) the terms were invented by the right precisely for this purpose.

Has anybody ever tested these claims empirically? My impression is
that (1) is definitely on the mark: I have never seen "PC" used in the
mainstream media except in the way described.

However, I'm suspicious of claim (2). I suggest that the terms
"politically correct" and "PC" both appeared on college campuses in
the mid-1980's among more LEFTIST students. The terms were originally
used by left-leaning students to poke gentle fun at other specific
leftists or leftist campus groups, not to make fun of non-sexist
language, etc, in general.

I say this because I was a left-leaning student on a college campus in
the mid-1980's, before "PC" reached the mainstream media, and I only
heard the terms used in this more benign way. For example, the first
time I remember hearing "PC" was sometime around 1986-7, when a
student who was a member of some political group on campus was
complaining about certain other members of the group being too "PC",
which she had to explain to me stood for "politically correct". These
were the bossy members of the group that looked at you funny if you
didn't tow the line on some doctrine. Of course, the fact that she
had to explain "PC" to me shows I wasn't really in the loop at the
time, so maybe she knew something about the term's connotations that I
didn't -- but the point is the first time I heard the phrase it was
used by a "liberal", and not in a particulary sweeping, nasty way.

I also have documentary evidence of this early usage. In the
gay-themed (and therefore non-mainstream) independent film "Parting
Glances", there's a scene where the two main characters are arguing in
a taxi cab (I give this detail so you can find the scene when you rent
the movie, which you should) -- one criticizes the other for being "so
politically correct." I can't remember why this epithet comes up --
but the point is the movie was made in 1985-6, and the characters are
all "liberals".

My impression, therefore, is that the terms "politically correct" and
"PC" were first invented as a leftist in-joke (probably primarily on
university campuses) that was then coopted by the rightists, who
brought the terms to the attention of the media, who now use them
exclusively in the rightist fashion. One of those bitter ironies of

So can anyone beat my early citation? I suspect that a search through
campus and underground literature pre-1987 or so will show that the
terms are first used by leftists. Has anybody studied this before?

- jm
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