We have been following with interest the execrable discussion of center embedding (Küçük, Palin, Drome, and M.Adam). The “analyses” presented by the various authors strike us as quite possibly the most heinous atrocities ever perpetrated on Linguistkind.
If it were only the analyses that failed to pass muster, we would confine our reaction to a mere sigh of conference paper proportions; however in this case, even the data itself is repugnantly inadequate, and this cannot pass uncorrected.
The list of “center embedding” languages which has thus far been discussed in this lamentable exchange includes the following: Mam, Manam, Malayalam, Mum, Mutum, E, Ere, and Erre. Sadly, this is only half the story.
Even a cursory glance through the Ethnologue reveals that (Küçük and Palin’s ignorance notwithstanding), there are at least the following additional languages which belong to this class: Mekem, Monom, Efe, Éwé, Noon, Salas, Solos, Laal, and Tennet.
We do not claim to have an explanation for this phenomenon, but we can say for sure that the proposed explanations given by Küçük, Palin and Drome are worse than nothing, as far as their supposed explanatory value.
Herewith, we call upon linguists to offer a meaningful explanation, and thereby rescue us from the drivel being foisted on us by these “scholars”.