Well, well! As a staunch supporter of NCNC, I hadn't intended to start
this debate, but I may as well pitch in. Unlike some, I trust I can get
by without references to my choice of newspapers or political

On Tue, 16 Oct 2012 16:15:55 -0400
Daniel Bowman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The answer is simple.  Unless dialects are a result of a degradation
> of information content, then they are able to express meaning equally
> well as legitimate languages.

There's a lot more to language than merely expressing meaning. Remember
Jakobson's  discussion of the functions of language?

> the only difference between dialect and standard is sociopolitical,
> not scientific.

And the sociopolitical is not to be the object of scholarly
investigation? (I won't write scientific: I try to be wissenschaftlich,
but "scientific" in English has too much of a whiff of positivism for

On Tue, 16 Oct 2012 15:12:39 -0500
George Corley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> It is a scientific assumption that we have to make: in order to study
> language empirically, one must eschew value judgements (as is the
> case with empirical study of just about anything).  Thus, we assume
> that there is no objective way to determine one language or variety
> as more "legitimate" than another.

The ability to make value judgements is one of the things that
distinguishes humans from animals. To abandon it is to make oneself

As for "objectivity", the concept is equivocal. It should mean
approaching the object of investigation with empathy and without being
tied to a single viewpoint. To interpret it as distancing oneself and
approaching the object from a single external perspective can just
result in ones prejudices going undetected. In the last century there
was a great deal of discussion about the concept in fields like
anthropology and history: it evidently hasn't reached linguistics yet!