Sur la linguistique

Why was it that, back then when we were in Comparative Literature, we thought Linguistics was the other cool field? I think it had to do with not being a discipline that reproduced a nation-state or the Area Studies model, and that was theoretical, and that (we thought then) could begin to dismantle colonial arrangements of knowledge. And Philology was falling out of fashion. I announce that I have now decided Linguistics is about as uncool a field as can be found. I am for Philology and against Linguistics, on grounds that linguists do not speak languages or know anything about them. Linguists with deep knowledge of a language other than their own may receive an exception, as may those who study their own language exclusively. All others, however, are frauds. They should return their degrees, and resign their professorships. If you do not realize there is a difference between being a fully educated speaker of a language and a person who is functional for tourism in it, then you have no respect for it or for its speakers, let alone for it as an academic field; you have no business remaining in play.


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