The Collected Wisdom of Linguists, Part Β
Aphoristically Conveyed from Ancient Sages
Collected and presented for your edification by
The SpecGram Council of Sages
Jouni Maho, Bill Spruiell, Keith Slater,
Daniela Müller, David J. Peterson, and Trey Jones
In this second of three installments, we share with you the proverbial wisdom of ancient sages of philology and linguistics, honed and refined through the ages by the folk wisdom and common sense of the masses. Should you sense a contradiction, recall also that “Proverbs run in pairs.”
Vowels were meant to be broken.
Same schwa, different day.
Don’t count your rules before you rank them.
Descriptive times call for descriptive measures.
A chain shift is only as strong as its weakest phoneme.
Too many negations spoil the sentence.
Loose lips make bilabial trills.
There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and linguistics.
There’s no such thing as a context free grammar.
Take care of the phonetics and the phonemes will take care of themselves.
The trace never falls far from the tree.
It takes two to talk.
Don’t throw the generalization out with the formulation.
Publish in haste, and repent at leisure.
Pauses are golden.
All morphology leads to words.
Speak softly, carry a big dictionary.
Give a man a parse and you give him data for a day; teach a man to parse and you give him data for a lifetime.
A grammar of a thousand pages begins with a single example.
An informant and his language are easily parted.
Pronounce your own words.
Let silent letters be.
Every role has its theta.
No man is an island constraint.
You are parsing up the wrong tree.
Grad student see, grad student do.
A linguist in the lab is better than two in the bush.
Good meanings come in small morphemes.