What is Linguistics Good For, Anyway?—Jonathan van der Meer SpecGram Vol CLV, No 4 Contents The Phonetic Clarity Defect in the Drinker’s Speech—The language of cocktails and shooters—Dr. I.R. Superordinate

Redundantly Multilingual Pretension Markers in BWFSEDPRCLCEE

Saszkwacz Qumkwaat, Ph.D. & Yýŷỳ Yẙÿẙÿẙ, D.Phil.
Janus Quadrifrons University

After generating minimal interest in linguistic circles during the 1960’s (Reference 1966), very little linguistic attention has been paid to a once semi-(in)famous dialect of English, namely Beret-Wearing, Finger-Snapping, Espresso-Drinking, Poetry-Reading, Cafe-Lounging Culturally Elite English (commonly abbreviated BWFSEDPRCLCEE).

Many scholars have assumed the dialect had long gone extinct (Reference 1991), but we can reassure scientific linguisticians everywhere that it has survived to the current day, and is well-established among a certain class of high-school- and college-age teenagers and young adults who, prototypically, belong to a group of social outcasts who experience a certain existential angst and world weariness, despite their well-to-do family backgrounds, which typically have shielded them from all of life’s real difficulties (Reference 2007).

One of the historical sociolinguistic hallmarks of BWFSEDPRCLCEE has been a propensity for speakers to borrow French words and phrases and sprinkle them liberally throughout their everyday speech (Reference 1977). Due to the long-term demographic transformation of the BWFSEDPRCLCEE population, which has skewed younger, wealthier, less-educated, and more self-centered over the decades (Reference 2007), the number of speakers who know enough French to credibly pull off such a linguistic feat has decreased markedly (Reference 1991).

We are happy to be able to report on a recent and interesting innovation in BWFSEDPRCLCEE, apparently driven by the need to find a workable compromise between the desire to include snooty French words and phrases, and the speakers’ general influency in and lack of knowledge of that language. See the naturally occurring examples below:

(1) This new emo song is great! It has a certain, I don’t know what, a je ne sais quoi.

(2) Your sister is full of, how do you say?, comment dit-on?, stupidness.

Among their non-BWFSEDPRCLCEE peers who do not understand French, such utterances typically produce a kind of bewilderment. We surveyed several native English speakers unfamiliar with both BWFSEDPRCLCEE and French at JQU, and they said they felt they understood the general sense from context, but expected they had missed out on the fine details of the meaning.

Among their French-speaking (or at least French-familiar) non-BWFSEDPRCLCEE peers, these utterances generated a different kind of bewilderment. While the non-BWFSEDPRCLCEE French speakers understood each individual word and phrase of the utterance, surveyed JQU students reported that they could not understand what the cross-lingual repetition could or should signify.

We used a Psychosympathetic Deep Sentiment Probe Survey with Intermittent Electroshock (Reference 2008) to determine how BWFSEDPRCLCEE speakers really feel about the bewilderment they engender. Unsurprisingly, they love it. (Much more than they loved the electroshock (Tee-hee-hee, 1901).) They also tend to revel in a sense of superiority when it occurs.

Another, more surprising and ultimately more disturbing trend among high-school-aged speakers of BWFSEDPRCLCEE in the Northwest U.S. will be of special interest to phonologists and speech pathologists alike. Getting beat up by the “jocks” is generally a mark of prestigious “outsider” status in this sub-population. They wear their black eyes, busted noses, and fat lips as badges of pride. The frequency of fat lips among BWFSEDPRCLCEE speakers in the region has begun to affect pronunciation. So prestigious is the altered pronunciation, that fake fat-lipped pronunciations are common in some sub-populations. There are even reports (which may be apocryphal) of high-school-aged speakers seeking artificially fattened lips, via collagen injections. There are no reports of the fat-lipped pronunciation in college-aged speakers (and, incidentally, no reports of older-than-college-age speakers outside of a few graduate school enclaves (Reference 2007)).


What is Linguistics Good For, Anyway?—Jonathan van der Meer
The Phonetic Clarity Defect in the Drinker’s Speech—The language of cocktails and shooters—Dr. I.R. Superordinate
SpecGram Vol CLV, No 4 Contents