It wasn’t the first morpheme cut
that made me a linguist.
That was merely an analytical baby step.
The moment is clear—
the first time I made a word
out of analyzed bits
the power and delight
of stepping into another language with no more than ten fragments of meaning.
Suddenly I could think a Swahili thought,
imagine that I shared a tiny piece of a million Swahili minds.
From then on
I could no longer retreat to one beautiful language,
for beauty no longer had limits.
—Morris Swadesh III
TA for Ling 101
Fresh-faced frosh evoke
Kindness, warm benevolence—
’Til one called me “ma’am”.
Statistical rigor’s no relevance
When linguists are taught to weigh evidence:
You just use a trained monkey
Or humanities flunkey—
With SPSS they’ve much the same referents.
When I’d tasted my grandmother’s pastry,
I asked, “How could you say this is tasty?”
For so’d said my dad,
And since smells that are bad
Are smelly, he was wrong prima facie.
cision and recall for
ease just assign every
word in the input the