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A NOTE ON THE PRONUNCIATION OF HSHIBBOLETH" had no definite meaning. "But," he went on to say, "I put them in because, according to the folklore at this university, the Council wants that kind of language." His candor was refreshing to an interviewer who has talked with great numbers of less forthright applicants. But he was only admitting explicitly what is self-evident in too many other applications. Granted, that an applicant can hardly be censured for trying as best he can to impress the selection committee; and granted, that in some fields of endeavor the ritual use of language to persuade rather than to inform is appropriate; still an applicant addressing a jury of competent and responsible social scientists ought to be aware that word dropping will not conceal an intellectual vacuum but may well make even a basically valid proposal look meretricious. But let us not hastily lay more blame on the applicant and his mentors than they deserve. For perhaps there is here a more chastening lesson for the Council and its staff. Have we failed to communicate to the academic public a correct impression of what the Council is trying to do? Have we inadvertently encouraged our friends and their students to conjure with jargon? Have we failed to insist loudly enough that the advancement of social science must be brought about by giving meaning to some of the words just mentioned, not by using them as mere shibboleths? E. S.

Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him and slew him. . . Judges, 12:6 A MYTH appears to have gained credence in some quarters of the academic community, to the effect that failure to utter certain powerful words (without too much regard for their meaning) will be as fatal to an application for a Council fellowship as was failure to pronounce Shibboleth correctly when challenged by the ancient men of Gilead. The passwords by which aspirants seek to gain admission to the guild of social scientists change from year to year. Among those currently in vogue are model (variously used to refer to a system of equations, a paradigm, a taxonomy, something else, or nothing in particular), multiva1'iate analysis (connoting almost anything except monistic determinism), parameter (by which the user mayor may not mean a statistical datum), interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach (too often connoting a general lack of discipline), and computer (for wbich read usually computer, but sometimes tabulating machine or even desk calculator). When pressed to explain what he meant by his statement that he would use "a flexible configurational mode of analysis," a fellowship candidate avowed that his words

SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL 230

PARK

AVENUE,

NEW

YORK,

N.Y.

10017

Incorporated in the State of Illinois, December 27, 1924, for the purpose Of advancing research in the social sciences Directors, 1965:

WILLIAM O. AYDELOTI'E, BERNARD BAILYN, ABRAM BERGSON, JOHN R. BORCHERT, DORWIN CARTWRIGHT, JOSEPH B. CAsAGRANDE,

HAROLD C. CONKLIN, LEE J. CRONBACH, KARL A. Fox, WILLIAM

J.

GOODE, JR., MORRIS H. HANSEN, CHAUNCY D. HARRIS, PENDLETON HERRING, GEORGE

H. HILDEBRAND, DELL HYMES, THOMAS S. KUHN, STANLEY LEBERGOTT, GARDNER LINDZEY, QUINN McNEMAR, FRANCO MODIGLIANI, LOUIS MORTON, FREDERICK MOSTELLER, J. ROLAND PENNOCK, DON K. PRICE, LEO F. SCHNORE, HERBERT A. SIMON, DAVID B. TRUMAN, RALPH H. TURNER, JOHN USEEM, ROBERT E. WARD

Officers and Staff:

PENDLETON HERRING,

President;

Vice路President; ELBRIDGE SIBLEY, BRYCE WOOD, Executive Associates; Staff Associates; CATHERINE V. RONNAN, Financial Secretary

PAUL WEBBINK,

C. ISBELL, ROWLAND L. MITCHELL, JR., BEN WILLERMAN,

16

ELEANOR

Profile for SSRC's Items & Issues

Items Vol. 19 No. 1 (1965)  

Items Vol. 19 No. 1 (1965)