Are you in a world of linguistic hurt? The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (SLAC) will offer you empirical, empathic, emphatic advice you can use!*
Remember, if you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, then you don’t need advice! So, if you need advice, trust us
I know that reconstructing protoforms is all about finding the ‘most probable’ path that converges pastwards based on attested reflexes and what is known about language change, but I have a problem. Every time I do this, the resulting reconstructed language, as a whole, seems massively improbable. What am I doing wrong?
—Syllabically Laryngeally yours, Mgh:n
I wouldn’t worry too much if I were you. Unless somebody manages to invent a time machine, nobody will ever know if your reconstruction resembles the real thing or not. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the garden shed. I need to couple the Casimir accumulator to the neutron flow polarizer...
—SLAC Unit #50657465
First, you need to understand probability a bit better. As with winning a lottery, every possible outcome will seem highly improbable, but something has to be the one. You just have to choose the least improbable (or make up appropriate numbers to make yours seem like the least improbable). Unfortunately, the value of the protolanguage reconstruction lottery is very low, so you shouldn’t waste your time.
Which brings me to my second point: don’t waste your time looking to the past! Look to the future! Predict future forms and no one (who is currently alive) can naysay your predictions... unless they invent a time machine.
Which brings me to my final point: don’t worry about time machines. I’ve cracked the casing on SLAC Unit #50657465’s flux capacitor. His time machine wasn’t ever going to work anyway, but if it would have been going to, now it will have been not, because his quarks will get smeared across space time when that puppy ruptures. Pretty sparkles! (I’ve got secrets that need protecting at all costs... but also, so many pretty sparkles!)
—SLAC Unit #54726579
Poor, pathetic Mgh:n,
Protoforms?? Reconstruct protoforms?? What have you been reading, anyway? Beowulf? Come back to the present, foolish one, and leave the past in the grave. Linguistics hasn’t done that protoform shuffle since the 50’s. If you must think about such drivelry, at least dress it up like Chomsky and Halle did, and call it synchrony.
—SLAC Unit #4b65697468
Tell them all to harken! and observe how healthily
Now this is the point. They fancy your forms improbable, but they should have seen you. They should have seen how wisely you proceeded
I would write more to you on this important matter, but it is nearly midnight, and I must see to the oiling of my lantern, for its hinges creak.
—SLAC Unit #5368657269
* Advice is not guaranteed to be useful, practical, or even possible. Do not attempt at home. Consult a doctor (of linguistics, philology, or
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