The Symposium on Philologic and Linguistic Meta-
The proceedings are generally kept confidential, but the secretive SPhLiMT High Committee of Beneficent Overseers has decided to grant the
plebes common linguistic folk a brief view into a tiny and unimportant corner of the conference, in the name of increased apparent transparency.
Below is a partial transcript of part VIII of XXIX of the Session on Inchoative Hypothetical Confluences of Σύμφωνον-
[30 MINUTES OF SENSITIVE MATERIAL REDACTED]
GTL1: I propose a meta-
GTL2: Are vowels attracted to snow, or does the cold make it more difficult to form consonants?
GTL3: Perhaps they’ve actually gone to Hawaii for the weather.
GTL4: During the Soviet Era, Nikolai Marr labeled vowels as a feature of bourgeois capitalist languages, leading to purges of vowels. Matters were far worse in the Caucasus.
GTL5: The transfer of vowels from the Slavic languages toward the Finno-
GTL6: It’s not really vowels that are the issue here. The real fact is that consonant density correlates positively with military power (think “plosives”). As Soviet military power increased, vowels were driven out of Slavic languages, and took refuge in neighboring languages that had somehow avoided Stalinist domination. The most peaceful generally have the lowest consonant-
GTL7: That also works pretty well for Hawaiian, especially if you extend “military power” to “aggressiveness”. But what about the other partner in the great vowel-
GTL1: They came second in the Six Nations so...
GTL4: Of course, the Welsh llaterall ffricatif arose in imitation of the noise made by dragons when breathing fire.
GTL1: Perhaps consonants are just afraid of leeks and icons. That would explain the rarity of consonants in IT abbreviations too.
GTL5: Yet the lateral fricative in standard Mongolian arose less than a century ago (if we go by contemporary linguistic descriptions), probably during the period before the death of Stalin and Choibalsan, and there are no reports of Mongolian dragons at any time during that period. Which is probably due to the Mongolian communists suppressing the reports on order from Moscow so as to prevent the rebirth of Mongolian militarism as part of the Stalinist efforts against pan-
GTL8: Interesting hypotheses all around, though I fear that we have strayed too far into the weeds, given our intended Übertheoretical focus. Leave it to the great unwashed and huddled masses of plebeian, riffraffical hoi polloi to transform our soaring excogitations into mere publishable works. It’s not like any of us need tenure.
GTL1: I have no idea how this could become an article
[13 HOURS OF SENSITIVE MATERIAL REDACTED]
GTL10: You there! Transcription peon!
GTL8: I believe the more colloquial term is “brachygrapher”.
GTL10: You there! Brachygraphical peon!
GTL8: Close enough.
Brachygraphical peon whimpers.
GTL9: I have been reviewing the transcript, and I believe that “Welsh lateral fricative” should be transcribed in a way that is... I don’t know... more Welsh, more lateral, and more fricative!
GTL4: Indeed, it should be “llaterall”.
GTL7: And “ffricatif”. Those crazy Cymri use letter <f> for phoneme /v/, so words beginning with /f/ are written with <ff>...
GTL7 writes on whiteboard: (a b c ch d dd e f ff g ng h i j l ll m n o p ph r rh s t th u w y)
GTL7: ... the ninth letter of the Welsh alphabet.
GTL11: By my count, the ninth letter is <d>.
GTL5: Funny, by mine it’s <e>.
GTL12: Linguists are so good at math!
GTL11: I was counting “(”, but not spaces.
GTL1: The ninth letter of “the Welsh alphabet” is <a>.
GTL5: But probably not if “the Welsh alphabet” is in Welsh.
GTL7: Oh, you sillies! The space character isn’t a letter!
GTL13: Good thing you pointed that out, because I was going to insist that the ninth letter is <h>.
GTL14: For Pāṇini’s sake, give it a rest! Session adjourned until tomorrow at 5 a.m.!
GTL14 gavels the session to a close.