Reasons Not to Study Linguistics—Part III
Compiled by Dyspepsia Prater and
X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies
Linguists, generally, try to encourage others’ interest in their field with enticements such as, “linguistics helps us understand the human condition”; “every language provides a unique view of the mind”; “linguistics empowers people”; “you can work in translation, interpreting, foreign language teaching, the tech industry, fieldwork, etc.” Blah, blah, blah. You see, no matter how exciting a field seems, there’s someone out there who is sick and tired of putting up with it.
Rather than promise nothing but unicorns and rainbows, we’ve searched far and wide—in faculty lounges and grad library carrels, in cushy academic conferences and privative fieldwork conditions—to uncover the reasons people give for being fed up with their particular linguistic and linguistics-adjacent field.
So, enjoy Part III of our series on reasons not to study linguistics—or don’t.
- For the love of God, don’t study blasphemy.
- You shouldn’t study tautology because you shouldn’t study tautology.
- Don’t study fricatives; you might as well be whistling.
- Don’t study meta-syntactic variables because they’re [ADJECTIVE].
- Don’t study acoustics; it’s nothing but noise.
- Study but lexical elements with mon’phthongs in them.
- Don’t study extinct languages; it’s a dead end discipline.
- Don’t do phonology unless you like drinking IPA.
- You should not be studying the present progressive.
- Don’t study the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis because anyone can make anything of it.
- Studying legilinguistics is precluded under section 4 paragraph 17 line 42 of the relevant regulations pertaining to the case law under the civil system.
- Sentences students professors teach center-embed should not be studied.
- [All the very many, lengthy—but entirely interpretable—English-language subject noun phrases which I’ve studied]NP were not worth it.
- Don’t study conlangs because zeg rotn asgabsd.
- Doing semiotics is a bad sign.
- Don’t study the amazing art of assonance; stick with the striking study of alliteration.
- Don’t study plosives; they blow up in your face.
- If you’re studying zero conditionals, you’re a fool.
- If you study the first conditional, you might die young.
- If you hadn’t studied the third conditional, you wouldn’t have failed your degree.
- If you hadn’t studied the mixed conditional, you’d have a better job now.
- Don’t study dolphin communication: you’ll get fishy results.
- You can study contrastive focus reduplication, but don’t study-study it.
- You can study partial contrastive focus reduplication, but don’t stu-study it.
- Don’t study construction grammar, let alone cognitive linguistics.
- Don’t study internet linguistics; you’ll get pwned, n00b.
- Don’t study grammaticalization; if you do, you’re gonna wanna quit.
- Don’t study role and reference grammar; you’ll need some R&R afterwards.
- Don’t do Optimality Theory; it will put too many constraints on your time.
- Don’t do pragmatics; it does things with your words.
- Don’t study word association football.
- Don’t study Celine Dion lyrics; you’ll end up seeing them (and feeling them!) every night in your dreams.
- Don’t study translation parce que no es belangrijk.
- Don’t study second-language acquisition. At your age you’ll never fully master it.
- Don’t study theta roles; they’re a theme you have to be really patient with.
- Don’- forget to s-udy comp-ek- onset- an- codas or you’ll never communicate p-operly.
Don’t study the limerick poem;
These things are too complex to know ’em.
I can’t work out the rhyme,
And the meter in time,
So I’m gonna give up and go shopping instead.
- Do I have to spell it out: don’t study phonetic form.
- If you can study iambic pentameter; I think that should then become a poet.
- Don’t study primate communication because you’ll go ape and make a monkey out of yourself.
- Don’t read Deborah Tannen; you just won’t understand.
- The study of nominalisation is not recommended.
- Could be you might shouldn’t ought to study auxiliary verbs.
- Don’t study hieroglyphics because Eye Eagle Walking-Man Staff.
- You should abso-frickin’-lutely never study infixation.
- Don’t study hermeneutics; it’s all a question of interpretation.
More to come...