Readers should note that the article
either (a) forewarn participants of some of the pitfalls that careless career decisions may drop them into, or (b) get participants to lighten up.3 As to result (a), may your correspondent13 attest its efficacy in this regard from, nay, not bitter, but rather, wry, and personal, experience. As to result (b), if one were to explore the philosophic track through the expert system,9, 10 one might take a philosophic11 view which would tend to this result.
“Linguistics occupies a special place among the social sciences, to whose ranks it unquestionably belongs. It is not merely a social science like the others, but, rather, the one in which by far the greatest progress has been made. [...] The linguist will often find scientists from related but different disciplines drawing inspiration from his example and trying to follow his lead. Noblesse oblige.”
Your correspondent wishes to take this opportunity to heartily commend Speculative Grammarian for once again proving that a linguist’s notion of practical meta-
Regrettably, the article fails in two not insignificant details: first, the lack of provision of a map of its content, perhaps in the form of a state diagram
substantial field research to address. Seeing the pressing need for such information to be made available for the benefit of aspiring linguisticists,20 or to be withheld for the benefit of practicing linguisticists; in short, being aware of the economic value16 of such information, and being unwilling to let the grass either grow under one’s feet or in one’s back yard, your correspondent has already made several applications for research grants18 to acquire such verifiable statistics; indeed, it is only fair to warn your readers that the present subject is now the subject of U.S. and international patent applications.19 The resultant expert system will far exceed the capabilities of the present one, or even of a version 1.1 as outlined above. Its commercial value is ungainsayable, thus one may confidently predict the upcoming release of several major versions and upgrades of a new and altogether improved expert system, TikTok (TM), beginning in the northern spring of 2008. For further design details, please see my upcoming monograph Know your Place: the revolutionary design of TikTok (TM), to be published by Psammeticus Press at $499.95.
“... Philologists, who chase
A painting syllable through time and space
Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark,
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah’s Ark.”
Yet more regrettably, it is readily apparent that the present model must be adjudged grossly deficient in this respect: considered from a games-
“But to the purpose
That they may hold excused our lawless lives;
And partly, seeing you are beautified
With goodly shape, and by your own report
A linguist, and a man of such perfection
As we do in our quality much want—”
Hence a follow-
This plan for research, publication and training will revolutionise the lot of the linguisticist (or linguist), who will be in great demand as a teacher (or, at least, a trainer), or at least, as a teacher of teachers (or a trainer of trainers). And the practising linguisticist (or linguist) will gain the great satisfaction of knowing that he, she or it is playing his, her or its part, like a well-
1 A little contemplation moves one to suggest that possibly, just possibly, the full title of this august journal was chosen as Speculative Grammarian simply to encode a subtle bilingual warning. Knowing full well the propensity of speculative grammarians of every ilk, including Chomskian, non-
2 or Madam, or Intersexed Person, or whatever appellative the Editor may deem best applies to him-, her- or it-
3 That’s lighten up, not light up, dude! As if any responsible SpecGram reader would encourage others to ignore a Government Health (or morals) Warning!
4 As modern logicians no longer hold with the Law of the Excluded Middle, “tertium non datur”, we can no longer reliably and definitively assert that non-
5 The standard “non ‘tertium non datur’” disclaimer applies; see footnote 4.
6 See footnote 5.
7 SG = speculative grammarian; repetition grows tedious; besides, note the first tendency already observed in footnote 1.
8 garam = spice in many Indian languages, borrowed as meaning salt in Malay.
9 As alas, your correspondent did in actuality, before beating a hasty retreat into the intellectually more satisfying, rigorous and, let’s face it, cool, option of a double major including physics; whilst unaccountably diverting, for the other major, to mathematics25 rather than linguistics; which last, thus relegated, became only a pleasant pastime, listening to corroboree songs in the combined music and language lab, whenever the campus afforded no interesting opportunities for student activism, student journalism, ping pong, lightning chess or kibitzing on the 500 players.12
10 Please do not complain that footnotes do not appear sequentially! As they were added manually, so they were added in the sequence in which the words were written, not in that in which readers are most likely to read them.
11 Or more properly, linguistico-
12 A more convoluted than this which one will not readily in something approaching English sentence find, it to create possible, but in German more likely, is.
14 Invariably, his.17
15 See footnote 2.
16 To apprehend this concept, it was incumbent on your correspondent to make another slight detour from that outlined in footnote 9 above. Had this expert system been available to your correspondent at an earlier date, making that detour, into economics territory, virtual rather than actual, might have saved much grief and consequent soul sucking.
17 There’s a Ph.D. in this observation for the astute and politically correct linguistics graduate; a unit or two of sociology or politics might prove an asset in teasing out the strands of the determiners of single sex domination of even intellectual pastimes; then again, a simple reiteration of the norms of political correctness would probably suffice for making such substantive research unnecessary to the achievement of the goal. A word to the wise: if you can’t understand the previous assertion, don’t ask me to be your mentor.
19 U.S. Pat. App. [REDACTED
20 It will profit us nothing to here reopen the old debate, among linguisticists (or linguists) about terminology: whether a linguisticist (or linguist) should be known as a linguisticist or a linguist. That seems as good a reason as most; one trusts one may see the issue vigorously debated once more in the pages of upcoming issues of SpecGram.
21 In the words of the article Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics, at page: You continue working for the government...
22 Richly though they may deserve it.
23 Excepting only Tokelau and Kyrgyzstan.
24 Or appointed representatives, if none are elected in a particular jurisdiction.
25 Mostly, be it admitted, for its superior access to computing machines, to aid in the analysis of chess games and odds on various hands of 500.
|To Whom It May Concern—A Letter from the Managing Editor|
|Assistant Professor’s Song—J. M. Unger|
|SpecGram Vol CLII, No 1 Contents|