Thank You, Postdoc Syntax Tutor—The Third Autonomous Bilborough Linguistics Circle SpecGram Vol CLXXXII, No 4 Contents Generative Grammar Proves the Existence of Aliens—N. Elix

Quipley’s
Don’t Believe It! ... Or Do?

Dr. Frank Quipley is a noted personality in linguistic fieldwork. He is known for fanciful claims that play hopscotch with the blurry line of falsifiability. Much has been written by him and about him, though most of the latter is unprintable.

An independently wealthy man, Dr. Quipley is unbothered by his detractors’ litany of criticisms: that he is more concerned with publishing sensational claims than verifying them, that his colonialist prejudices would have been better suited to the Victorian era, that his only travel is to conferences at lavish resorts, that he couldn’t transcribe Hawaiian if you spotted him the vowels and glottal stops, and many more. His supporters counter that he is a snappy dresser. But it’s his students who have the most positive things to say about him, especially regarding his hands-off advising style and generous, no-questions-asked travel reimbursements. His students easily stand out as being well-fed, well-tanned, well-travelled, and, well, insufferable.

Dr. Quipley is known to change small details of his claims, ostensibly to protect the innocent. This also has the effect of making them nearly impossible to disprove. We’re sure this is a complete coincidence.

Amid the many islands of Indonesia there exists a small sea first discovered by the Dutch/Deutsch explorer Willem Klum. On a small island in that sea is an accident-prone group of people who were living an extremely traditional lifestyle until just a few years ago. As a result, they acquired power tools before numeracy.

After a recent visit, Dr. Quipley reports that the “Klum Zee” tribe speaks the only known language with a number system whose base depends on idiolect. Most speakers range from using ternary to decimal, with 7 being the most common base. The one islander who counts in undecimaland who, unlike everyone else on the island, has never been interested in DIY home repairis revered as a demigod. He is on the tribal council of elders despite being only 1A years old.1

Notes from previous contact indicate that the Klum Zee tribe used to use a frame of reference centered on the prominent mountain in the center of the island. Dr. Quipley reports that their words meaning “mountainward” and “seaward” have since fallen out of use, replaced by terms he translates as “toward the hospital” and its opposite.

Our editors say don’t believe it! ... or do?



1 Or perhaps 210 years old, depending on whom you ask.

Thank You, Postdoc Syntax TutorThe Third Autonomous Bilborough Linguistics Circle
Generative Grammar Proves the Existence of AliensN. Elix
SpecGram Vol CLXXXII, No 4 Contents