Once upon a time, there were The Ancient Linguists. They lived happily ever after, doing what linguists have happily done ever after, although, or perhaps because, they were not linguists to start off with. They were grammarians, which means that they grammared, just like summerians summerized in the warm sunshine, or barberians practiced close shaves and draconians close shoves.
The tribe that spawned the first dynasty of these professional language nerds went by the name of Pāṇini, the collective patronymic for Pāṇino, a delicacy of (obscure) Mediterranean origin. Collective delicacy showed principally in Pāṇino scholars’ keen and wise collaboration, not only with one another, but with proponents of alternative nerdy analyses of language. The Pāṇini grammared with open minds, intent on learning from their data and teaching from their learning, and this is why they produced grammars which are readable and, above all, digestible, still today.
The next dynasty, the Ling, took the discipline by force. Like other fanatics, the Ling were self-
Irreconcilable antagonism between LingWhists and Pāṇini came to a head in Massachuséttas, a sleepy settlement of (obscure) Algic origin, whose name the LingWhists stipulated as the underlying representation, and therefore the true nature, of its more known toponym, Marrathónas, itself of (obscure) Hellenic etymology. Massachuséttas → Marrathónas (or conversely, depending on the Ling flavor of the week), became the infamous site of The Great Pāṇini Slaughter (GPS), a tragic event which had the incidental linguistic consequence that the assumed Algic etymon was reanalyzed as a suffix, attaching to the location of GPS (Gruesome Pain and Suffering), as in neuralgic or odontalgic.
As the legend has it, the one survivor from the carnage, Φειδιππίδης, ran all the way from Massachuséttas to Trey, a toponym of unknown etymology gracing a thriving, no-nonsense community of independent-
Jonas dispatched Φειδιππίδης on the double back to the surface destination Marrathónas, as he insisted on calling it, with an offer that the gloating LingWhists could not refuse: an invitation to celebrate their growing hegemony, in traditional Trey fashion, RSVP. Φειδιππίδης expectedly returned on the treble with a positive R, gasped [Φ]... [Φ]... in utter exhaustion (phonologically /amsoaʊdəbrefawanəbɑrf/), and promptly collapsed at Queen Hélène’s exquisite feet.
The king retired to implement the plan he had concocted to ridicule every living LingWhist morphless. Three days and three nights Jonas spent in the secluded depths of his sanctuary, surrounded by cutting-
Meanwhile, Hélène was allowing Φειδιππίδης, still [Φ]ing intermittently, to entertain her on the subject of his vulnerable heels, a predicament inherited from his impoverished childhood, when his mother had been unable to provide him with shoes fitting his growing feet. La Belle Hélène, whose goddess-
The LingWhist dignitaries finally arrived, treated to the magnificent entertainment that Trey routinely lavished on its visitors. Their haughty indulgence only abated when their parting gift was solemnly wheeled forth to their presence: a luxurious, gigantic X-barrel, now marked VSOP. Verb-
Satisfied, Jonas quietly locked the barrel, and forwarded it to Marrathónas (sans Φειδιππίδης), where he predicted that its effect would spread like insect poison in nests where the queen (avec ou sans Φειδιππίδης) is known to be wholly dependent on assorted -lings for survival. He was right again. The LingWhists went on looking for VSOP in the X-barrel forever after, to the unbounded mirth of language nerds worldwide. What Jonas of Trey could not predict was that the Trejan Barrels, as his infiltration tactics became thenceforth known, would come to gain deserved notoriety as infallible attention-