8. Is there a Right Way to Put Words Together?
The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick
Dennis Preston [+]
Oklahoma State University
Dennis R. Preston is Regents Professor, Oklahoma State University and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University. He served as visiting professor at several U.S. universities and in Poland, Brazil, New Zealand, and Denmark. He was President of the American Dialect Society and served on the board of that society and the Linguistic Society of America, as well as the editorial boards of Language and others. His work focused on sociolinguistics, dialectology, and minority varieties and education. He revitalized folk linguistics and has provided variationist accounts of second-language acquisition. Some publications are, with Nancy Niedzielski, Folk Linguistics (2000), with Daniel Long, A Handbook of Perceptual Dialectology II (2002), Needed Research in American Dialects (2003), with Brian Joseph and Carol Preston, Linguistic Diversity in Michigan and Ohio (2005), with James Stanford, Variation in Indigenous Minority Languages (2009), and, with Nancy Niedzielski, A Reader in Sociophonetics (2010). He is a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and holds the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic.
Words and combinations of words don’t have a ‘real’ meaning. They only mean what we agree they’ll mean, and different groups may come to different agreements. Besides, language isn’t a fixed system. It evolves.