My fellow linguists: In the past I have been civil. In days prior I believe one might say I have even been charitable to lexicalists. Indeed, one might say (erring, of course) that I’ve been one of the lexicalists’ greatest proponents, speaking and writing about them publicly on more than one occasion. The very mention of lexicalism in the popular media, you see, does the lexicalist agenda far more good than the negative context in which it’s mentioned does it harm. If lexicalism still thrives in linguistics today, it is thanks, at least in part, to my efforts to stamp it out. As fervent a defender of traditional analyses as I am, even I cannot deny this. Recognizing this fact, I have remained silent over the past few months, hoping upon hope that my silence would do more damage to the lexicalist cause than my cogent arguments.
Imagine my shock and disgust when I read about the upcoming workshop at the University of Coimbra entitled “Perspectives on the Morphome”. Think about that: Perspectives on the Morphome.
“Well, what is a morphome?” you might ask
There’s an important modal lexicalists ignore again and again, and it’s one we can no longer ignore if we want to save our field: should. Not one lexicalist will ever deal honestly with the question: Should we do this? “Hey, gather round!” they croon to each other. “Here comes some deviant new theoretical construct! Let’s all get together and celebrate it!” Make no mistake about it: What’s going to happen on October 29th is an orgy
Of course, I don’t mean that literally
This workshop aims to bring together scholars who share an interest in the concept of the morphome, but who may hold widely divergent views as to whether morphomes exist, what they may be, and how to account for morphological patterns claimed to require the postulation of morphomes.
And yet, who are the invited speakers? Jim Blevins? Lexicalist. Gregory Stump? Lexicalist. Andrew Spencer? Lexicalist. Mark Aronoff? The self-
So what about the real linguists? Were you invited to give a talk? Was I, for that matter? I would have had a lot of information to share
I am, if anything, a patient and tolerant man. No one can accuse me of having a single hate-
For too long now, we linguists have allowed morality to take a backseat to “progress” when it comes to analyzing language data, and to answering the big questions, such as: What is language? Why does it exist? And how can it be exterminated? We have allowed the number of languages to which we devote serious critical attention to balloon to the hundreds
The concepts of honor and integrity may be dead in the minds of many lexicalists today, but, believe me, they live on, against all odds. It’s our job to restore honor to our research methods; to our frameworks; to our classrooms; to our departments: to our field. Even if you’re not a part of the Natural Language Research Approval Committee, ask yourself as you conduct your research: Does the grammar of the language I’m researching support a traditional linguistic framework? Can my data be used to support anti-
I believe we’re approaching a last call. We have a choice today. We can continue to turn a blind eye to the expansion of lexicalism. We can do nothing and watch as our universities fall under the sway of wayward frameworks, or we can take a stand today and rededicate ourselves to traditional theories of grammar. We can stand by our principles and refuse to allow our values to be assailed as they will be at the University of Coimbra at the end of this month. You may think it’s just a “workshop”, whatever that means, but I warn you, my fellow linguists, the attacks are going to get worse. We must be steadfast, and stand behind the shield of the One True Framework. Let the lexicalists do their worst: From now on, we will not back down.
We will stand up to their divisive inclusionism and refute their narrow-
Mark my words: This will be the turning point in linguistic history. We will not be silent; we will not be ignored
|The Art of the -ome
|Collected Graphic Evidence Against the Existence of the Morphome
|SpecGram Vol CLX, No 1 Contents|