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The Mail


To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

It is a pity that your staff did not see fit to check with the Department of Linguistics your front-page article (January 8) on Mr. Lakoff's new job insofar as the article touches on departmental courses and emphases.

The following are major inaccuracies:

(1) Far from being "very unimportant," Linguistic theory, including transformational theory, is one of the three major areas of emphasis in the department, the others being Descriptive linguistics and Historical linguistics, and the approach in these areas too takes full account of theory, as of 1969. With M.I.T., at which our students may cross-register, there is no place in the world currently stronger in linguistic theory than Cambridge.

(2) There is more than a "very slim" chance that Lakoff will be replaced. The department members have been interviewing candidates since October, and we expect to make an appointment beginning in 1969-70.

(3) The number of graduate students quoted in the article amounts to two (out of nearly fifty), which coincides exactly with the number currently writing dissertations under Mr. Lakoff's supervision. For them to leave if they wish seems entirely appropriate.

Mr. Lakoff had his start in teaching here, and his (non-Harvard) dissertation was published here. At Michigan, he will have a central position in a newly reorganized department. We are sorry to lose him, and wish him good fortune.... Karl V. Teeter   Chairman,   Department of Linguistics

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