Duke University Alumni Magazine

Please limit letters to no more than 300 words. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Include full name, address, and class year. Our fax number is (919) 684-6022 and our internet address --for Forum and class notes only--is: dukemag@acpub.duke.edu


     I remember reading letters to the editors in the past unfairly criticizing you for English language usage that is quite acceptable in contemporary journalistic writing, linguage that only a reactionary, pedantic grammarian could object to. But I can't let pass your quote ["Poised To Fulfill a Promise," July-August 1996] from Karla Holloway, Kenan Professor of English and Linguistics: "There's a part of one's professional life that is controlled and a part that's at the behest of whomever is looking at it...."

     Is this "whomever" really from Professor Holloway, or did one of your zealous copy editors improve her! I like it when Professor Holloway goes on to say "I am bi-dialectal -- proficient in both standard (acultural) English...." Indeed.

     If professionals can't get "who-whom" straight, why don't we just drum "whom";used "whomever" out of the language? Who needs them?

Kenney Withers '51
St, Augustine, Florida

     I was appalled by the concepts expressed in the [Holloway] article that standard English is a dialect and that standard English is acultural. Standard English represents an incredibly rich culture and is in no sense "bicultural." It is associated with our artistic achievements, our customs, our religions, and our economic organization, to mention a few.

     Rather than bi-dialectal, it would have been more appropriate if the article had stated that Professor Holloway spoke standard American English as well as a dialect of American blacks. The speech that identifies her ethnic community represents a failure of our educational system to teach our citizens standard English. As far as I know, there are no educated people of any race who use that dialect in their daily lives. I would hope that the dialect is not taught in any context except to understand the literature that contains some black-dialect content.

R. Earle Sweat '57, M.D. '61
Santa Rosa, California


     Your readers might enjoy seeing this record of my pilgrimage to a statue of the original Blue Devil in Alsace, France. This statue honoring les Diables Bleus was created by Andre Bindler as part of his folk-art village in the Vosges mountains of eastern France. Bindler's village included scaled-down reproductions of landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and Charles DeGaulle, as well as the houses and people from his own neighborhood. A few years ago, the entire miniature village was moved to the Ecomusee d'Alsace, a collection of endangered historic buildings from all around Alsace.

     My wife, Jane, and I were visiting the Ecomusee d'Alsace with a crew from the University of North Carolina Center for Public Television to shoot several episodes for the fall season of The Woodwright's Shop. The timber-framed buildings of this region of Europe, tucked between France, Germany, and Switzerland, are among the most beautiful in the world. Wc filmed segments with Alsatian blacksmiths, wheelwrights, and a master carpenter in the city of Troyes, I was also able to study the operations and design of this open-air museum to help me in developing a similar site in North Carolina.

     Other Blue Devils wishing to make the pilgrimage will find the Ecomusee d'Alsace just north of the French city of Mulhouse (pronounced Mooloosze), If' you can't make the trip yourself, I hope you can catch the program when it airs this fall on PBS.

Roy Underhill M,F. '75
Williamsburg, Virginia


     With great interest I read your article "Summertime and the Living Is Hectic" in the July-August 1996 issue, Summer is when the Conference Services Office thrives. Conference Services coordinates many of the campus facilitics for the summer programs mentioned in the article.

     During summer 1996, the university, through Conference Services,hasted seventy-four different program sessions attended by 7,200 participants. Many of these participants enjoyed the beauty and experienced the life of Duke's campus for the first time. As a service to the summer programs, Conference Services produces a brochure, Summer at Duke, which wi11 detail information about each summer program, including a brief description, dates ot the program, contacts for additional information, and costs, This brochure will be available in February 1997 and may be obtained by calling (919) 681-4441.

Jim Hodges
Manager, Conference Services
Duke University


     In your article "Making It on the Hill" in the May-June 1996 issue of Duke Magazine, you include quotations from "James Guth, a political science professor at South Carolina's Clemson University," I believe that you meant to say that Professor Guth is at Furman University (in Greenville, South Carolina). If there is a political scientist at Clemson University with the name James Guth, then I may be wrong, You may have later information than I have.

     Although I do not agree with everything printed in the magazine, I do read portions of every issue. I appreciate the effort you put forth in order to make it as good as it is. Best wishes for continued success.

Ray C. Roberts Jr. '50
Greenville, South Carolina

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