Is Translation Possible?—The Answer Rhymes with Noh—Prof. Trent Slater SpecGram Vol CLVIII, No 2 Contents The Divine Future of Linguistics, Part I—John Miaou
The Science of Transcription and Personality
Þrúðr Óðinsmeyjar, Lulu Über Linguistic University

Graphology, the ridiculous pseudoscience debunked and redebunked many times over the decades, holds that one can determine a person’s primary personality traits based largely on their penmanship. That is of course utter hogwash. Even if the basic tenets of graphology were correct (and they just might be!), one’s personality is likely not to be fully formed by the time one learns to write. Major life experiences, significant physical and biochemical maturation, and important destiny-making choices are still far in the future. Also, one does not necessarily have much to say about how one writes and shapes letter symbols, given the dictates of one’s third grade writing teacher. (Some, who espouse orthographic determinism, would claim that being forced to write in a particular style does in fact shape one’s personality. Again, utter hogwash.)

Graphophonetics, the rigorous new science that I have proven and reproven five times over in the present study, is completely different, despite the common core concepts. Graphophonetics holds that one can determine a person’s primary linguistic personality traits based largely on the way they write when doing transcription in IPA.

There are three key facts about Graphophonetics and the IPA:

To clear the present study from the unfair but likely taint of graphology, I have conducted not a blind study, not a double blind study, but a Quintuple Meta-Blind Study,©® designed by Rosalia Rusalka, Chair of LÜLU’s Statistical Linguistics Department. The study is not only blind, but Meta-Blind because not even I am allowed to know how the quintuple blinding works.

To validate the claims of the newly devised Grapho-Phonetic Linguopsychic Personality Map (GPLPM), I have compared the results of my quintuple-blind graphophonetic analysis with the more traditional, well-established Whorf-Sapir Psycholinguimetric Inventory (WSPI). Both systems identify and quantify similar linguistic personality traits, so why the need for a new system? The main reason is that a person taking the WSPI knows that a linguistic personality inventory is being administered, and they may try to skew the results in a way believed to give a more favorable outcome. GPLPM, on the other hand, can be applied to anyone, living or dead, without their knowledge or consent, as long as an adequate transcription sample is available. How wonderful!

An extended selection of transcription samples (all of “Speculative Grammarian” to better highlight the variation in symbol forms) is provided below. Included is a summary of the most relevant results of Graphophonetic Analysis (which includes variation and choice of letter shapes, slant, spacing, horizontal and vertical alignment, uniformity, specificity of transcription and choice of symbols, similarity to canonical symbol shapes, arbitrariness, productivity, duality, displacement, transmissivity, and discreteness) and a voluntary Whorf-Sapir Psycholinguimetric Inventory taken by the transcriber.

GPLPM: morphosyntactically immature
WSPI: morphologically stunted; not syntactically advanced
GPLPM: theoretically uncommitted
WSPI: non-Chomskian; non–non-Chomskian

GPLPM: theoretically iconoclastic
WSPI: syntactically bold; non-conformist
GPLPM: eager to please; theoretically vapid
WSPI: willing TA; descriptive linguist

GPLPM: destined to be adjunct faculty
WSPI: down-to-earth, no-nonsense, reliable
GPLPM: developmentally delayed
WSPI: strong structuralist tendencies

GPLPM: sociolinguist
WSPI: unfit for abstruse theoretical work
GPLPM: antisociolinguist
WSPI: unfit to work with other linguists

GPLPM: sociopatholinguist
WSPI: unfit to live in polite society
GPLPM: speculative linguist
WSPI: satirical leanings

GPLPM: indicative of linguistic élan and flair
WSPI: shows linguistic verve and style
GPLPM: innovative yet tentative non-conformist
WSPI: potential ground-breaker; needs encouragement

GPLPM: theoretical syntactician
WSPI: sloppy and lacks attention to detail
GPLPM: α has moved on; ready to retire
WSPI: over-the-hill; can’t learn new tricks

GPLPM: Noam Chomsky
WSPI: a bit too slick, tends to believe own hype
WSPI: infelicitous

GPLPM: community college remedial English instructor
WSPI: insecure, tries too hard, fails often
GPLPM: syntactically aggressive yet unsure
WSPI: shows angry syntax and fear of rejection

GPLPM: self-hating closeted functionalist
WSPI: wants to conform, but has strong need to rebel
GPLPM: strong philological tendencies
WSPI: old-fashioned, un-modern, retro

GPLPM: computational linguist
WSPI: preternatural regularity; likely OCD
GPLPM: English Lit major
WSPI: unfit for practicing linguistics

GPLPM: theoretically apathetic
WSPI: strong generative proclivity
GPLPM: descriptive sociolinguist
WSPI: supremely competent and self-assured

GPLPM: strong lexicalist leanings
WSPI: fervent anti-lexicalist
GPLPM: straight-laced herd-mentality conformist
WSPI: strong satirical and parodical motivations

Careful readers will have noticed that the last four samples show a marked difference between the results of the Graphophonetic analysis and the Whorf-Sapir inventory. At first I was concerned that this was a sign of a significant failing in the GPLPM methodology, but in a Triply Meta-Blind Study,©® again designed by Profesora Rusalka, extensive background checks and personal interviews with the subjects and their friends, family, and professional colleagues were conducted for the four mismatched individuals, and a control group of eight other participants. In each case, the conclusions of the investigators (all former intelligence officers from various US three-letter agencies) were much more in line with the results of the GPLPM than the WSPI. My conclusion is that these individuals, consciously or not, were projecting the image of themselves they wanted to portray when taking the WSPI, rather than letting their true selves come through. This again demonstrates the extra usefulness of this sort of Graphophonetic analysis.

• Aldorisio, Prospero (1611), Idengraphicus nuncius.
• Baldi, Camilo (1622), Trattado come de una lettera Missiva si conoscano la nature e qualita dello scriviente.
• Binet, Alfred L. (1904), “La graphologie et ses révélations sure le sexe, l’âge et l’intelligence”, L’Année Psychologique 10.
• Crépieux-Jamin, J. (1988), L’écriture et le caractère.
• Fluckiger, Fritz A., Clarence A. Tripp, and George H. Weinberg (1961), “A Review of Experimental Research in Graphology: 1933-1960”, Perceptual and Motor Skills 12.
• Furnham, Adrian and Barrie Gunter (1987), “Graphology and Personality: Another Failure to Validate Graphological Analysis”, Personality and Individual Differences 8.
• Gunnarsdottir, Skeggjöld (2008), Rithönd og Persónuleiki á Íslandi.
• Huarte de San Juan, Juan (1575), Examen de ingenios para las ciencias.
• King, Roy N. and Derek J. Koehler (2000), “Illusory Correlations in Graphological Inference”, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 6.
• Klages, Ludwig (1916), Handschrift und Charakter: gemeinverständlicher Abriss der graphologischen Technik.
• Kollarits, Jenö (1933), “Űber Sprach- und Schreibstörungen in allgemeinen und als „kleine Zeichen der Geistesschwächung“ bei Tuberkulose und im Alter. Das Verhaltnis zwischen innerer Sprache und Schreibfehler”, Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie 99.
• Widmer, Ted (1993), Crime & Penmanship: A graphological rogues gallery.

Is Translation Possible?—The Answer Rhymes with Noh—Prof. Trent Slater
The Divine Future of Linguistics, Part I—John Miaou
SpecGram Vol CLVIII, No 2 Contents