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From: Damien Broderick <damien@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
Subject: (urth) linguistics and sf
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 15:01:22 +0000

< This post is interesting, because I recently saw a book by Jack Vance
called _The Languages of Pao_, which said something like "The first
science fiction book based on the science of linguistics" on the
cover.  I have no idea what the story is about.  Since Wolfe says he
was influenced by Vance, particularly the Dying Earth books, I
wondered if there are any stories where someone has noticed any
emphasis on linguistics.

prion >

Practically everything by Samuel R. Delany.  Except that, alas, his notion
of linguistics is still mired in Saussure and the whole erratic poststruck
recension via Lacan.  The NATIVE TONGUE/JUDAS ROSE books by Suzette Haden
Elgin, a linguistics prof, in which Xian ayatollah-oppressed wimmin
implausibly invent a language for themselves that more truly reflects their
distinctive experience, and excludes the foe (a language, as it were, that
men can't hear).  Vance is full of (a crudely emphatic parody of) the Whorf
posit, as are various other classic '50s Campbell-era stories and novels.
Some guy with a Frog name who's a computational linguist and whose fairly
recent book has GLASS in the title.

At risk of a hernia, I lug out my Clute/Nicholls ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SF - yep,
there's a long detailed entry by my old pal Peter Nicholls, who inter alia
makes the disgraceful error of  writing `deep structure' (the hidden
cognitive substructure of variant sentences meaning the same thing) when he
means `genetically-ordained grammar template' (the phenotypic universals
instilled by a common genotype rather than by personal experience or
cultural tradition - which can only set choices from those menus - required
by regnant Chomskyan linguistics).

Damien Broderick

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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