Jared Diamond’s New Yorker article seems to have caused a lot of trouble. I have read two blog posts by Jessica Palmer: ‘The Diamond Mess‘ and ‘Jared Diamond hides behind the “it wasn’t science” defense‘.
The story itself is very interesting and also very important in terms of scientific, journalistic and ethical integrity. Besides these important topics there was another thing that attracted my attention, the linguistic analyses based on data, namely corpus linguistics:
Taken together, the linguistic analyses indicate that it is extremely unlikely that The New Yorker quotations are accurate verbatim representations of language that originated in speech. To put it simply, normal people do not talk using the grammatical structures represented in these quotations.
A detailed account of the analyses is available at the Language Log: ‘Diamond, the New Yorker, and corpus linguistics‘.
It is interesting to see the role played by linguistics in a 10 million $ lawsuit.