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8444: Re: 8435: Corbett responds to Coates on the ENGLISH spelling of the name of the Haitian religion (fwd)

From: "Carrol F. Coates" <ccoates@mail.binghamton.edu>
>From Bob Corbett
>I must disagree with Carrol Coates with whom I am normally not only in
>agreement, but to whom I often go for information and help.  However,
>we're back on the issue of the ENGLISH spelling of the name of the
>religion of Haiti, and on this point we disagree.

To Bob, and anyone interested:  the main point of my post concerned the
standard orthography of Haitian Kreyol and the statement (as I recollect--I
did not keep post 8435) that there is no standard spelling.  I hope I am
not mistaken in recalling that that writer made such an affirmation--my
apologies if so).

I did also allude to my past quarrel with an editor at the N.Y. Times and
my future quarrel with Merriam Webster's, should I live so long.  My point
is not one of trying to rule by imperialistic use of language (not even
unconsciously, I hope--but who knows!), but I object strenuously to the
blind acceptance of everything that is in the NEW YORK TIMES STYLE GUIDE or
in MERRIAM WEBSTERS.  In fact, there is no recognition of Vodou as a
religion in either Webster's 10th (the Collegiate edition) or in MERRIAM
The definitions are concerned only with "voodoo" as sorcery.  My use of the
Kreyol spelling to designate the religion (even when writing in English) is
to insist on that distinction, of quintessential importance to me.  And I
will still quarrel with the editors of Webster's when I find time.  They
recognize Buddhism, Islam, and other religions--it is time that they
recognized Vodou.  I have given up on the NEW YORK TIMES, because the
editor was offended by my suggestion that the NY TIMES can be wrong, and he
cited Webster's to me!  

Along with Bob, perhaps, I might agree that no dictionary (including the
OED, which I leave out of my quarrel) and no style guide can constitute
itself as absolute authority.  There are many people with specialized
knowledge and experience that the dictionaries, and even less the style
guides, have not caught up with, but will eventually recognize....
Dictionaries follow and do not (should not) determine usage, in my view.