Skeptical Linguistic Essays

By Paul M. Postal | Go to book overview

14
Junk Linguistics
The Bottom Line
I assume the previous seven chapters have given good grounds for the belief that junk linguistics is not only existent but also widespread and well entrenched. This raises the inevitable question of how to deal with it.My suggestions are these: It seems proper and reasonable to consider junk linguistics as a kind of pollution of the scholarly environment. Viewed from that vantage point, if one wants less of it, then one should proceed as in (1)–(5):
1. No matter what one's place in the linguistic world, with respect to junk linguistics:
a. Don't produce it.
b. Don't pretend it doesn't exist.
c. Don't justify it.
d. Don't excuse it.
e. Don't praise it by only faintly damning it.
f. Do tell others not to produce it, pretend it doesn't exist, justify it, or excuse it.
g. Do try to deepen one's understanding of the difference between junk linguistics and real linguistics.
h. To the extent one can, try to expose it for what it is.
2. If one is a referee or reader, then:
a. Don't accept it.
b. Don't cover it up.
3. If one is an editor or publisher's representative, then:
a. Don't publish it.

-337-

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