SpecGram Vol CLXVIII, No 2 Contents Linguimericks—Book १

Don’t Baby That Baby, Baby

A Letter from the Editor-at-Bat
Butch McBastard

Despite the attempts by those who study the phenomenon to dress it up in jargon (“caretaker speech”), cutesiness (“motherese”), or TLAs (IDS/CDS“infant-/child-directed speech”), baby talk is still baby talk, and frankly as a linguist I’m insulted that you think I’d fall for that kind of whitewashing of such a despicable practice. That’s right, I said it, baby talk is despicable. In addition to making one sound like a recent sufferer of ailuric prional exposure, it’s the kind of mollycoddling that has all but ruined several of the more recent generations of children.

The organisers of the conference Le sens du partage / Le partage du sens: Hommage à Maria Helena Araújo Carreira, held in Paris, France, September 2013.

Chiasmus of the Month
October 2013

I generally don’t tolerate computational linguists particularly well, but sometimes they manage to transfer a bit of sense from their more computational colleagues to their more linguistic colleagues, and vice versa. In this case they have transported a pithy aphorism used as an argument against commenting one’s code: “If it was hard to write, it should be hard to read.” The idea being that until you’ve done the work to understand a program on your own terms, you have no right to be mucking around with it.

Similarly, if you are going to seriously claim to take pride in your language and in your Language, you are going to have to make those babies work for it, so they will develop pride of mastery as well. (This statement applies equally to freshmen in Linguistics 101, but that’s another story.) Sure, your kid won’t talk as early as the Jones kid down the street, but your kid will be able to string a sentence together with more than two words, and that means somethingin multiple senses of the word.

And lest anyone rhetorically lament, “Think of the children!”and believe me, I am thinking of themI offer this nugget of condensed (nay, saturated) wisdom, which may satiate the hunger for all things “baby”, while at the same time explicating the cultural heredity and generational nature of the problem:

Babies babies baby baby babies, Baby!
I have to thank a very bullied bison from western New York for that final, compelling insight.

LinguimericksBook १
SpecGram Vol CLXVIII, No 2 Contents