Monday, April 09, 2007

Chomsky as "linguistics heavyweight"

So, NPR's thing on the Everett controversy (see below if you didn't read it) included this:
His findings are challenging long-held linguistic theories … championed by linguistics heavyweight Noam Chomsky.
The transcript up at NPR was automatically done, I hope: It had "linguistics heavyweight known Chomsky." But something about calling Chomsky a heavyweight strikes me as wrong — it doesn't work. Wouldn't you say intellectual giant or something? Heavyweight has a bad ring to it here. This collocation shows up pretty often, and it looks like often (usually?) in negative contexts.

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