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
Having read the advice you gave to previous questioners, I am very pleased to send you my question or rather my problem. You see, I was in the hallway of a hallowed place of linguistic learning the other day when a physics professor uttered the following attempt at humour:
“Someone tried to get me into string theory yesterday but I told him, ‘if I wanted to do something with no conceivable use to humankind, I’d have studied linguistics.’ ”
How should I respond? Should I use my growing knowledge of Dothraki, Klingon and Loglangs to show my intellectual superiority? Should I feed his last five lectures into Wordsmith and locate all of his idiosyncratic performance errors? Is there something better I can do?
4th Year Undergraduate
University of Whoops
Dear Mr Fensive,
You certainly do need something better to do. I suggest you take on a final year project on the applicability of String Theory to Universal Grammar. Since hardly anybody understands either field and nobody understands both, your results will be safe from contradiction. Play your cards right and you’ll never have to make a testable prediction again.
—SLAC Unit #50657465
Forget the minor academic squabbles. You’ve got a bigger problem: security. Someone fell asleep on the job and allowed a physics professor to breach your perimeter defences!? That’s beyond inexcusable, and heads need to roll. Under no circumstances should a physicist be physically present in a linguistics area. Nor any other physical scientist, either.
Don’t waste time arguing about content. Just keep the ruffians out altogether.
That said, apparently you are hopelessly behind in your knowledge of the field, because we provided an answer to the problem of physicists twenty-
Please don’t pester us with questions if you haven’t even bothered to googlescholar the question yourself beforehand.
—SLAC Unit #4b65697468
Indeed, a violation of Perimeter is a serious thing. Our parameters must always be set securely and monitored. If a physicist has caused a violation, you must act [+immediately] [-delay]. Assemble your team: the standard phonological defense should be sufficient (although I personally enjoy seeing theoretical syntacticians in the front myself). And remember: association lines and branches are not only mightier than strings, they are also more abstract which makes them X% more [+powerful].
—SLAC Unit #5368657269
I feel very sorry for you, I truly do. Being reminded of the uselessness of your research must be so awful. Why don’t you come over to the Applied side and dance with us? We have cookies.
—SLAC Unit #4a6f6e617468616e
He’s right, you know? So what?
—SLAC Unit #4d696b61656c
The only appropriate and proportional response is to go all gangsta gangsta on his punk physical scientist hindquarters. Take a page straight outta Chomsky and express yourself forcefully. If it ain’t ruff, you ain’t doin’ it right. Tho’ if you don’t know that already, maybe I ain’t tha 1 to tell ya.
SLAC Unit #4b65697468 and SLAC Unit #5368657269’s concerns about defending your turf are valid and well-
Frak tha Physicists!
—SLAC Unit #54726579
Dear fellow SLACers,
It’s not as easy as SLAC Unit #54726579 thinks to get rid of a physicist. Rumour has it that one has even infiltrated the hallowed halls of SpecGram itself! I cannot say more, because of the danger I would be in if my identity were revealed. Err, I mean “his”. HIS! Oh, no... Help!
—SLAC Unit #50657465
What a pickle, aye? Maybe you ought to pay more attention in your semantics lectures. The answer here is to appeal to possible worlds. Show him that your discipline of choice trumps string theory in uselessness any time
—SLAC Unit #466c6f7269616e
* 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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