241 CHRONICLESnthat an academic can be just as wicked an infighter as thenjournalist, Ronald R. Butters, editor of American Speech, isnpleased to denounce “the inanities of such know-nothing ‘popngrammarians’ as Edwin Newman, Theodore Bernstein, WilsonnFollett, and especially that vitriolic, sophomoric poseur,nJohn Simon.”nAlso noticeable from this quotation is more than a hint ofnthe special hatred linguists feel toward John Simon. Danielsncalls him “poisonous,” as do other linguists, so that “thenpoisonous Simon” stands in the order of “the wily Odysseus.”nSome linguists seem eager to remind us that Simon is foreignnborn, in Yugoslavia, and that, despite being educated as a boynin England and later in the United States, and receiving anPh.D. from Harvard, he still speaks — or so they claim—withna foreign accent (Daniels). His not being native born explains,nfor some linguists at least, his supposed lapses in idiom and hisnconservative attitude toward language change. The honor rollnof those exploiting this new and easy principle of argumentnincludes Finegan and Quinn. A twist is added by Wallace W.nDouglas, who opines that all is explained by Simon’s graduateneducation: “Except for the late Bergen Evans, I’ve nevernknown a Harvard PhD in English, even from the old philologicalndays, who knew beans about his own language.”nBecause he has argued against the elimination of so-callednsexist language, Simon receives a lot of attention from thenlinguist Julia Penelope (formerly Julia Stanley), whose recentnpublished work on sexist language often seems to rely on angernfor argument. In one article she fills five printed pages withnvituperation against Simon, but somehow never gets around tonexamining his basic views of language and the reasoningnbehind his conclusions. To her it is enough to say that Simon isnantifeminist and has “castigated” the National Council ofnTeachers of English and the Conference on College Compositionnand Communication for their “egalitarian frenzy.” He hasneven gone so far as to show, on one occasion, a lack ofndeference to “serious students of the English language likenDwight Bolinger.” “In short,” she writes, “Simon is a mannwhose ignorance is exceeded only by his arrogance.” Not a badnsentence; but then she adds the reference to Simon’s nativenlanguage not being English.nAll this blends with another bad intellectual habit of thenlinguists—the attribution of base motives and mean values tonan opponent and the concomitant neglect of rational argument.nHere, the linguists speak as one. They seem to base theirnopinions mainly on Charles Carpenter Fries’s 1940 identificationnof standard English as the dialect of educated professionals,nthat is, as merely social habit or insignia of class. But laternwriters such as Robert A. Hall Jr., Daniels, and Quinn gonbeyond Fries’s conception to indulge in populism; they denouncenlanguage critics for being undemocratic, elitist, snobbish,ndiscriminatory, intent on maintaining class distinctions,nmean-minded, and self-seeking. Language critics supposedlyncriticize certain locutions, not because they have any objectivengrounds, but because their personalities are warped.nWith the exception, however, of Julia Penelope, linguists donat times offer some sound arguments to expose weaknesses innthe language critics’ position. Relying usually on intuitionnbased on their long experience, language critics sometimes donmake errors that a little research could have corrected. Still, thenlinguists, priding themselves on their objective knowledge ofnlanguage, often abandon themselves to subjectivity whennnnshowing up the language critics by neglecting the ordinarynstandards of evidence. Hall, who excoriates language critics andninsists that Americans have been made insecure about theirnability to speak and to write, cites no language critic andnsupplies no evidence. Customarily, Quinn’s evidence consistsnof isolated sentences from the Oxford English Dictionary, butnhe never tells the reader the precise section number in an entrynfor a word; as a result, to check his claims, one has to searchnthrough page after page of long entries, an especially blindingntask for those of us who use the compact edition of the OED.nAlthough he is commenting on American English and althoughnhe reproaches the language critics for not usingndictionaries, he himself never refers to Webster’s New InternationalnUnabridged (2nd or 3rd edition). The Dictionary ofnAmerican English (1938-1944), or A Dictionary of Americanismsn(1951). At one point he laughs at Simon the traditionalistnfor using the latest educational jargon; perhaps, he slylynsuggests, Simon’s use of the vogue word audit (as in “to audit ancourse”) will appear as an example in the next supplement tonthe OED. But if Quinn had been able to close his favorite, thenOED, and open a copy of Webster’s Second, he would havendiscovered an entry for audit, presumably evidence that thenword has been around for some 50 years.nDaniels, a professor of education with training in linguistics,nalso has rather careless ways of supplying evidence. In his thirdnchapter, a historical survey of writers through the ages whonhave worried about the decline of language, only 16 referencesnare from the text of the writer, while 61 are “cited bynso-and-so.” Not only is Daniels probably unaware of thencontexts of his brief quotations, he also makes it difficult for hisnreaders to understand these contexts. So taken is Daniels by anSumerian teacher of “writing” who complained 4,500 yearsnago about the poor ability of his students that he chortles overnthis several times. But he himself admits that the Sumerian’sncomplaint was about scribesmanship, or what we would callnhandwriting. Why chortle?nEven plain errors are frequent in some of these books,narticles, and reviews by linguists. In a review of Quinn’s book.nButters gives Cornelia Evans the new first name of Candice.nOn a single page of a review article, Douglas renamesnCopperud (the language critic) Copperman (a critic of educa-nHon) and uses the word stigmata as “honorable insignia.”nBesides referring to the OED as a prescriptive rather than andescriptive dictionary, Quinn, berating Newman, reveals hisnbelief that the following are derivatives, formed by adding -izento the first morpheme of the word: realize (which was actuallynborrowed from the French realiser); baptize (from the Greeknbaptizein); and capsize (which is of unknown origin, butnprobably not a derivative, since no one has ever discovered annentity called a caps to which ize could be added). At timesnDaniels implies that Arn and Charlene Tibbetts’ book wasnreally written by one person. He believes that the two booksnpublished in 1870 and 1880 by Richard Grant White lackn”linguistic sophistication” and that White was stupid to claimnthat English has no grammar, when all that White—like SirnPhilip Sidney—meant was that English is not an inflectednlanguage like Latin or Greek. Baron, in his condemnation ofnSimon’s book, claims that Simon mentions no language criticsnwriting before 1966; actually, Simon cites Eric Partridge andnH.W. Fowler a total of nine times. All this fudging andnfumbling suggests that attacking language critics temporarilyn