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armchair linguist

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armchair linguist (plural armchair linguists)

  1. (linguistics, informal) One who undertakes armchair linguistics.
    • 1991, Charles J. Fillmore, ““Corpus Linguistics” or “Computer-aided armchair linguistics””, in Werner Winter, editor, Directions in Corpus Linguistics: Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 82, Stockholm, 4-8 August 1991, Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter, →ISBN, page 35:
      Armchair linguistics does not have a good name in some linguistics circles. A caricature of the armchair linguist is something like this. He sits in a deep soft comfortable armchair, with his eyes closed and his hands clasped behind his head. Once in a while he opens his eyes, sits up abruptly shouting, "Wow, what a neat fact!", grabs his pencil, and writes something down. Then he paces around for a few hours in the excitement of having come still closer to knowing what language is really like.
      1998, Guy Aston; Lou Burnard, The BNC Handbook: Exploring the British National Corpus with SARA, Edinburgh University Press, →ISBN, page 13:
      Corpus users have taken varying positions on these issues, ranging from the ‘weak’ view, that sees corpus data as complementing the ‘armchair’ linguist’s intuitive insights by providing real-life examples and a reliable testbed for hypotheses (see 8.1 on page 143), to the ‘strong’ view, according to which corpus data should always override intuition, and discussion should be confined solely to naturally-occurring examples.
    Antonym: field linguist