After a brief laugh at her misrecollection, we considered its cause. This issue has taken up much of my thought and time, and I have decided that what we have is something akin to the notion of underlying ancestral forms. In this theory, it is upheld that the underlying forms of words are some distant phonetic ancestors of the present forms, and that these are transformed by phonological rules into the 'present' forms. My complementary theory, which seems just as intuitively plausible, is that indeed we hold within us not only the past phonetic forms of lexical items, but their future forms as well!
We can see the direction that English phonology will take by looking
Now, in a narrower transcription, we would have noticed that the vowels
were indeed slightly nasalized due to contact with that nasty Chicago
dialect, and as a result, the nasality spreads to the coda of the
primarily stressed syllable, transforming /d/ > /n/. Of course, an
immediate hypercorrective vowel denasalization follows and the
attempt to normalize the new /n/ results in its assimilation in place
to the /p/, and we have
Now that we have considered the future of phonology, let us turn our attention to syntax. Consider the following sentence from Davis:
(1) Instinct is the null response to an entropic environment.Consider also the following related sentences:
(2) Environment is the null response to an entropic instinct.They all mean the exact same thing! And native speakers of English, even non-naive linguistics graduate students (and probably the naive ones, too) produce all six of these in free variation. From this we conclude that English is well on its way to becoming a language with almost totally free word order.
(3) Response is the null environment to an entropic instinct.
(4) Instinct is the null environment to an entropic response.
(5) Environment is the null instinct to an entropic response.
(6) Response is the null instinct to an entropic environment.
The evidence is clear and unmistakable. We have just witnessed the birth of a new subfield of Linguistics: Futurological Linguistics. It is expected that there will be a messy bit of afterbirth, in the form of dissent from the unenlightened and closed-minded. But that will be easily wiped away by the strong among my followers. There is also the matter of the umbilical which must be cut as quickly as possible. Indeed, there is no need for an opening of lengthy obeisance to my great genius in every paper, article or book in the field. Such silly things have been seen to happen in the past. Indeed, only a line or two will do quite nicely. Now, if only they will just let me out of this room.
Thanks to Ms. Joey Whitford, unwitting but willing subject; and Mr. Tim
Jay Trones, Futurological Linguistics Association