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Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2003 - 9:41 p.m.

Geoffrey Nunberg has gone and ruined my life again. The last time he did so was by announcing, just as I was completing a thesis that relied heavily on his definition, that what he had formerly been calling ‘deferred reference’ wasn’t really deferred at all. I disagree with his argument, but as he came up with the idea of deferred reference in the first place, his opinion has to count for something.

This time around, Nunberg has ruined my life by posting on his website a list of linguistics blogs. I am finished. I will never again get anything done. There’s even a blog written by Geoff Pullum and Christopher Potts (and two others). I should not know about these things.

Incidentally, a third disappointment involving Nunberg is my realization that he doesn’t seem to teach any actual classes at Stanford; I knew he was just a consulting faculty member, but I assumed he’d teach the occasional fabulous seminar. This pushes Stanford down several slots in the List of Possible PhD Programs (yes, the on I should be working harder on generating).


I had to quit grading a batch of rhetorical analyses earlier when I ran across this passage:

“This article was actually a transcript of a speech given at a conference. The speaker is presumptuously Dutch or from the Netherlands.”

L and I have decided that ‘The Presumptuously Dutch’ should be added to the collective societal list of Good Band Names. (Who maintains that master list, by the way? I know about individual lists (no time for links right now!), but who has the list of those lists?)

And then there’s this problem:

[presumptuously [Dutch] or [from the Netherlands]]?

[[presumptuously Dutch] or [from the Netherlands]]?

Which brings up this problem: If x=y, and A is x or y, is A really presumptuous, or merely tautologously arrogant?

My head is spinning. Should you have any answers, or any examples of Presumptuous Dutchdom*, please let me know.

*Dutchhood? Dutchness? Dutchism? Dutchity? Hollandosity?

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