Realizing that many linguists, young and old, find themselves unsure of how best to succeed (or have success thrust upon them), we of the Speculative Grammarian Editorial Board have assembled a collection of high-
First Rule of Linguistics: always talk about linguistics.1
Make your native language seem exotic by transcribing it in IPA.
Make sure you have your facts straight when expounding a flawed hypothesis.
Your article, no matter what the topic, will be read by more people if you mention Optimality Theory in a positive way.
The lambda calculus looks really cool and will compel obedience from most linguists, but beware its use where logicians might see it.
Do not hesitate to point out that linguistics is a branch of the humanities, a subfield of psychology, or a distinct social science as needed for rhetorical purposes, especially when questions of funding are involved.
Do not refer to linguists as philologists. Linguists do not like it and philologists do not deserve it.
Native speakers are lousy speakers
New data holds the distinct possibility of clarifying tangled matters and solving long-
As a linguist, you should strive to emulate physics, or ape it if that is all that you can manage, but never practice it: phonetics is not really linguistics, and acoustic phonetics is really not.
Dialect data can be useful, if you can find a use for it.
Never read the literature; it clouds the mind and blunts the creative process.
Data is to theory what postmodernism is to clear writing.
The more experienced and polyglottal the linguist, the more accurate the grammaticality judgements!
There is a language somewhere that does exactly what you want it to.5
Part II to come...
1 Someone has to teach the general population that we aren’t all polyglots (or worse, translators).2
2 Tip: never mistake a translator for an interpreter.3
3 Rarely a misconception lasting more than ten seconds, however.4
4 At least that’s what the translators/
5 And it’s called Pirahã.
|The Native American Origins of Jack and Jill
|Dubious Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know
|SpecGram Vol CLXXIV, No 3 Contents|