The Priority of Written Language—Andreas Paplopogous Babel Vol I, No 3 Contents Arguments Against English Spelling Reform—Hermes Trismegistus

Sociohistorical Linguistic Semiotics and Systemic Theory

The Indo-Europeans Re-Examined

In the past, it has been claimed that one of the great problems of Systemic-Functional Linguistics (SFL) is that it does not address itself to certain major areas of linguistic concern, such as languages other than English, and historical and typological studies. Such claims are, of course, scurrilous nonsense issued by the foolish, the brain-dead, and those jealous of the pre-eminent position of Systemic theory in more avant-garde semiotic and cultural studies.

As an enlightened person, I am always on the lookout for new ideas which may be expanded and elucidated by the judicious application of SFL. Such an idea, I believe, is the one so brilliantly put forward by Spruiell (1990) as the probable reason for the spread of the Indo-Europeans. The Intoxication Theory, re-explicated in Systemic terms, gives us great insight into the sociocultural heritage and semiotics of Indo-European expansion.

The following network fragment gives some idea of how these notions may be applied:

The network has been simplified for its current audience, but it is quite clear how combinations of features such as intoxicated and bad sense of direction could lead to Indo-European expansion. In addition, as this is in essence a sociocultural paper, I have omitted those systems which specifically deal with language. However, I’m sure the reader is capable of adding these in.

From this partial network, it can clearly be seen how a combination of ESMAPD (Extreme Sensory-Motor Animal Perception Dysfunction, a syndrome associated with the high perceptual dysfunction feature) with various other features may provide an explanation for many hitherto incomprehensible incidents in IE history.

For example, ESMAPD with the realization feature +cattle raid could shed light on the incident in Welsh history in which, after a rather protracted celebration, Gwydion and his brothers set out on a cattle raid into Dyfed and came back with a bunch of pigs.

ESMAPD may also shed light on the somewhat unnerving tendency of the Old Irish to mistake one of their great heroes for a dog.

And finally, certain episodes from Beowulf may be rendered more believable: viz., the South Cricklwood Fragment, which suggests that the whole Grendel story arose from an overly energetic après-party game of Twister.

I hope the above small offering has shown how SFL can make a major contribution to historical linguistics and semiotics. I would encourage readers to pursue this line of research, and I recommend the forthcoming book by Dr. Spruiell and myself: Stumbling out of Urheim: An Investigation of the Systemic Effects of Ethanol on the Early Indo-Europeans.

Lynn Poulton Sydney, Australia


Ms. Poulton worked for me for two years during which time she was a very conscientious employee. She was almost never late for work and although I heard that she was a frequent investigator into the effects of ethanol consumption this was always on her own time and never on the company’s. If you decide to hire her I think you will not be disappointed as she is very bright will be able to do whatever job you ask her to do.

Nigel Penman

Lynn was an excellent pharmacist, and although she is no longer in that line of work, I am sure that she will display the same professionality in any job she undertakes. I highly recommend her to any potential employer.

Bob Hawke

Lynn is an upstanding, outstanding, understanding individual and also contains lanolin. She is 99 and 44/100ths percent pure. Therefore I recommend her highly for any job you’re thinking of giving her.

Ed McMahon

The Priority of Written LanguageAndreas Paplopogous
Arguments Against English Spelling ReformHermes Trismegistus
Babel Vol I, No 3 Contents