In June 2009, M. Oblonglotta reported (“The Highly Variable Lexicon of 955
We find Oblongotta’s analysis to reflect an immature understanding of linguistics, physics, and academia in general. First off
A much more perspicacious analysis attributes these shifts to environmental change, rather than diachronic change. Consider, as a thought experiment, speakers of Mandarin in an environment with extremely variable amounts of helium and hexafluoride, resulting in variable density air. It is reasonable to assume that one would need to occasionally re-establish a baseline for tones, which are determined by relative, not absolute pitch.
Though it is takes place via a different communicative modality, the situation with the 955 data is directly analogous. Speakers are renegotiating the fundamental frequency of the exchange in response to a some change in the medium of transmission.
Our analysis supports two main hypotheses for why this should be the case:
The Environmental Hypothesis supposes that the speakers are trying to communicate in a rapidly and unpredictably changing environment, presumably beyond the knowledge or control of the speakers, similar to our earlier hypothetical variable-
The Daredevil Hypothesis supposes that the speakers themselves are moving rapidly while communicating, causing red- or blueshift in their communicative medium.
Artist’s conception of a daredevil 955ian communicating at near light speed
While these hypotheses may seem to be wild-
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