august sterling honourable estimable creditable reputable occasionally inoffensive journal recently published a sketch of a mathematical model for the fame of a linguistic theory. While it deserves some small credit for broaching the topic, perhaps brief mention in a footnote forty years down the line in a little-
One of the many offensive offenses against right reasoning and good sense in said screed is its unrelenting failure to consider the issue basic to all true science, that of measurement: How do we measure what we wish to talk about, and how do we define the basic units involved? Without deciding this question, any investigation will get twisted in navel-
A proper insistence on first of all and before all other matters quantifying where this can be done leads to the following approach to tackling the issues raised by considerations suggested by examination of the ramifications of aspects of the matter at hand. As the desultory discussion in your pages has shown, the fame accrued to a linguistic theory is inversely proportional to the amount of actual new data that a publication contains. Fame is best measured as the increase in the number of people who have heard of the linguist proposing the theory, ΔT (where T is an abbreviation of tovarishch ‘comrade/
However, the cetera are never para, for a theory with great real-
(ΔT) (ΔE) ≥ ћ
Now, as we know from the theoretical framework that American theoretical linguistic theoreticians theoretically theorize in, if one system is symbolically equivalent to another, then the two are logically equivalent as well, and thus we arrive at the greatest theoretical breakthrough since scythes were first used to cut the stalks that yielded the grains of wheat whose descendant strains many millennia later were baked into the first loaf of bread ever to have been sliced by a knife: The fame of a linguistic theory is a matter of ineluctable quantum uncertainty.
The consequences are legion. First, the more famous a linguistic theory, the less that is and indeed can be known about the languages it applies to. Second, the better known a language, the less famous it is in linguistic theory. Third, the fewer the people who speak the language, the more famous it is. Fourth, as the number of people in the world increases, so grows (in the absence of further investigation of the language) the fame of a theory. At root can be discerned an inescapable fact about all observers: Fame and knowledge are fundamentally incompatible, and an observation made for one of these purposes will by its very nature exclude the other.
Other consequences are less direct but equally significant: As there is more than one linguistic theory in the universe, we run into the problem of observing the same facts from different theoretical viewpoints, which leads to the necessity of adopting a properly relativistic approach. When this is combined with the preceding, we find that all theories have a fundamental property called spin. Now, if a set of theories had zero spin, they would all overlap in the same domain of experience and collect together in the bottom of the jar of discourse like a more or less goopy, gooey fluid and, if examined closely, would converge to the same state of knowledge and become indistinguishable, rather like successive approximations to the truth. However, as a matter of experimental fact it is found that all linguistic theories do possess non-
Truly this explains a lot. Certainly it explains a far wider range of matters than your publication’s shaved monkey was able even to perceive lurking over there far off over the horizon of its narrow experience like a hungry jungle cat. And as this investigation has demonstrated, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, assuming the cat thinks outside its box instead of using it.
Respectfully Kindest regards All the best Sincerely,