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Unlike Arnold, I was happy to see Chris's "Scooping Language Log" post.  In the first place, it's a compliment that he thinks LL is some sort of standard to measure himself against, if only in temporal terms. And in the second place, it's a Good Thing for All of Us to have more people competing to note, link, and comment on language-related topics.  So scoop away, say I.


  1. Fresh Sawdust said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

    Ooh, I say, a potential fight! My money is on you to win, Mark, but please make sure you don't flash too much cleavage (of whatever sort) in that there mudpit. And talking of scoops, make mine a double Mint Choc Chip, please :)

  2. Mr Fnortner said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

    Aww, you were supposed to say "First!", Sawdust.

    [(myl) Gee, guys, thanks for maintaining the discussion at such a high level. In fact, I don't disagree with anything that Arnold said, it's just that he was annoyed and I was pleased, which is a difference to be noted, but not to be fought over.]

  3. Simon Cauchi said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

    Maybe I'm stupid, but it baffles me why these posts are classified under "Gift ideas".

    [(myl) Arnold used the classification "This blogging life", for obvious reasons. I chose "Gift ideas" as an invitation to others to give us the gift of posts similar to Chris's. Your level of intelligence is none of my business.]

  4. Fresh Sawdust said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

    I might've said first if I were sure I would be. Guess I'll just have to console myself with my MCC ice cream and the good odds I got on one of the bearded ladies (Mark "Unlickable" Liberman :) to win!

  5. Fresh Sawdust said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

    Sorry Mark, I'll try to think of something highbrow to say (unfortunately nothing is coming at the moment). But seriously, I do agree more with what you've said than Mr Zwicky (but if enough people say that won't it seem a tiny bit like everyone's ganging up on poor Arnold?).

  6. Drew Ward said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

    I actually think this is a good outlook regarding the stature of LL. I know that there have been many times that I've been in the midst of a discussion on some linguistics forum or another with neither side conceding. Often though a single post on the same topic from the Language Log generally ended discussion quite quickly. Perhaps there is no drive toward a prominent place by the contributors of the log, but the quality of the observations and discussions that appear herein have definitely lent a certain level of prestige to the site.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. empty said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

    "a Good Thing for All of Us" has a Winnie the Pooh flavor, right? "Rabbit hasn't Learnt in Books, but he can always Think of a Clever Plan", and so on. It seems to me that Arnold Zwicky was having an Eeyore moment. (Everybody is entitled to some of those.) Piglet once told himself that Eeyore would be good at "Making a Loud Noise Until Rescued".

  8. empty said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

    (No offense, Mr. Zwicky, and no disrespect to your views; I'm just having my bit of fun.)

  9. Q. Pheevr said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

    Empty, I read it as an instance of the hackish expression a Good Thing. (The Jargon File traces the origin of the expression to 1066 and All That, which is, of course, from the same country and time period as Winnie-the-Pooh, though somewhat diffferent in tone.)

  10. Marit said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

    At least these two posts guided me to some blogs about NLP, which maybe was what I was looking for when I found this blog. As a computer science student and non-native English speaker, some of the posts on this blog go over my head.

  11. Arnold Zwicky said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

    I'm going to bow out of this, because people are just going to gang up on me… BUT I never said there was anything wrong with all sorts of people posting useful links and comments; I did deprecate the view that this was a competition.

  12. Chris said,

    December 15, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

    For the record, I appreciated Arnold's post as well as Mark's and thought they were two side's of the same coin: what role does blog interaction play in the blogging process? I find this to be a very interesting question, one that both Arnold and Mark addressed, either directly or indirectly. Arnold duly noted that I was just "joshing", but he used this as an opportunity to explain his own blogging philosophy, which I found very sane and thoughtful. I like his point that we are all volunteer bloggers and as such we post at our own discretion, as our fancy, interests, curiosity, what have you, dictate. This is what makes blogging such an interesting process: it is ours entirely. I find this empowering. Arnold also notes the negative effect competition can have. Just look at how sad paparazzi have become, all in a vain effort to scoop one another. Clearly, a culture of scooping can have negative effects.

    Mark's point reinforces a critical fact: there just aren't that many linguists in general, even fewer lingo-bloggers. I am an avid fan of LL and my posts often play off of theirs.

    "Competition" is the wrong word for it, but I am interested in being part of a community of lingo-bloggers and negotiating my own unique identity within that community. My 'scooping LL' post was, I now realize upon reflection, a rather amateur way of establishing my place in that community. So, perhaps I am the Jan Brady of lingo-blogging, hehe.

  13. Peter Taylor said,

    December 16, 2009 @ 5:36 am

    @Arnold Zwicky, I don't think any lynch mobs are going to form until someone calls you a prescriptivist. Then it might get nasty.

  14. joanne salton said,

    December 17, 2009 @ 5:32 am

    Doesn't "scoop" have a dated feel? I thought that journalists were worrying more about how the internet is changing/destroying their jobs at warp speed than worrying about scoops now. Who would use it outside of a joke when all the news is all over the internet in no time?

  15. Stewart said,

    December 17, 2009 @ 11:29 am

    I am just thinking about ice cream.

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