carter pate (CPATE@UTCVM.BITNET)
Wed, 18 May 1994 09:33:00 EDT

Have not Rindos and Salovesh (pardon my spelling, Mike, if it's wrong)
just demonstrated my point about analogies and metaphors?

Linguistic drift is anlogous to genetic drift? But should we extend "hard
logic" findings about genetics into linguistics? I wonder if the extent
or role of "randomness" is the same, or if social variables have the same
effects. For instance there is the questionable tale that a lisping monarch
was responsible for some of the features of Castilian Spanish. Regardless of
whether that's true, isn't it fairly obvious that the prestige of a dominant
people left influences in the language of most hispanics, comparable to the
prestige often associated with the "Queen's English" and the acceptability in
former colonies for those Brits who approximate that dialect?

But the value of this analogy is only that it draws our attention to some-
thing worth exploring. Proof must wait upon the "hard logic" applied primarily
to linguistic data. (Am I echoing Spencer and Kroeber's "superorganic"?
Mea culpa!)