[Corpora-List] Stubbs' analogy?

Ramesh Krishnamurthy r.krishnamurthy at aston.ac.uk
Wed Dec 14 11:41:01 CET 2005

Hi Xiaotian,

I remember the telescope image being used by John Sinclair, about
15th C astronomers and sailors,
making the point that before telescopes, most people thought the
earth was flat, and
that the sun orbited around the earth (just as many pre-corpus
linguistic concepts
are now being questioned). But I can't remember exactly how many
years ago I first heard it.
Probably late 1980s...

I use it in my seminars, and I'm fairly sure I have quoted it in one
or two articles, and sometimes attributed
it to John and sometimes not... Like many of these analogies, I think
it gets passed substantially
more by word of mouth than in writing.

I also use the 'particle/wave' analogy for the 'lexico-grammar'
continuum in seminars, but can't even remember where I
first heard that or who from...

Hope this helps.

At 19:00 13/12/2005, Xiaotian Guo wrote:

>Dear colleagues


>I remember Michael Stubbs once used an analogy in stressing the

>importance of the advent of corpora to linguists and the analogy is

>the creation of telescope to astronauts. But I forgot the source.

>Could anybody direct me to the reference?


>Michael, if you could see the query, you are more than welcome to

>reply youself.






>Xiaotian Guo


>PhD candidate

>The University of Birmingham

Ramesh Krishnamurthy
Lecturer in English Studies
School of Languages and Social Sciences
Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
Tel: +44 (0)121-204-3812
Fax: +44 (0)121-204-3766

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