It seemed to Meillet on a bender
His cat older French sought to render.
“It’s all quite astounding,
The triphthongs and rounding,
Yet lacking grammatical gender!”
Castrén’s writings surpassed the prosaic,
Nor were Ramstedt’s approaches archaic,
But those Finns stretched the truth,
We might call them uncouth,
For creating the fiction “Altaic.”
—Morris Swadesh III
There’s a sweet phonetician named Vicky
With a talented tongue that is tricky.
Her skills with trills
Give thrills and chills.
Though she’s better with sounds that are clicky.
A field linguist fears there are bugs
On the laptop that with him he lugs,
For sooner or later,
Whatever his data,
It glosses it, “Here are two wugs.”
To turn a linguist to a sonneteer
Takes patience, kindness, and a shot of hope.
For faced with rhyming can a scholar cope
When bare phonetics starts to sound like fear?
But soft, a light through yonder syntax here
Breaks like a lovelorn couple to elope!
Amidst semantic drift, a narrowed scope,
New data comes to a long-jaded ear.
Analysis awakened agèd trees
With uncrossed lines and verb-embedded clause.
Parole was turned to langue and there it rang.
A language sure to make all linguists pleased.
No strong verbs and declinations caused
By logic. Pity it’s just a conlang!
—Col. O. Nihilist