A long campaign season with genuine gaffes and alleged misstatements began its culmination with the first presidential debate. Like many citizens, linguist Geoff Pullum, a visiting professor at Brown, was watching.
Grammarian Geoff Pullum is the Gerard Visiting Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences at Brown University and professor of general linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. He is also a frequent blogger on language and politics on Language Log and Lingua Franca.
In a conversation with David Orenstein, he cited several specious analyses of word choice and syntax that have been used unfairly against candidates. The often ill-informed critiques stand in stark contrast to the way people are typically inclined to overcome the misstatements of others as they extract understanding from clumsy speech. Pullum will be listening closely to the presidential and vice presidential debates. (more…)