Linguimericks—Book २४ SpecGram Vol CLXXIV, No 3 Contents The Native American Origins of Jack and Jill—Mary Hadlitt-Lamb

The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective

Are you in a world of linguistic hurt? The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (SLAC) will offer you empirical, empathic, emphatic advice you can use!*

Remember, if you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, then you don’t need advice! So, if you need advice, trust usand cut yourself some SLAC!


Dear SLAC,

Sometimes my verbs lag behind and come out after all my nouns. It’s embarrassing! Is it some kind of aphasia? What can I do?

Reluctantly Verb-Final

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Dear Werb-Final,

You are German. It’s fine. We all wish we were too. Enjoy your schnitzel.

—SLAC Unit #4a6f6e617468616e

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Salve Verbum Finalis,

Contrary to what my colleague says, you’re not likely to be speaking German. It’s much more likely to be Japanese or Turkish, but personally I’d guess Latin.

To remedy the situation, I’d suggest studying a nice VSO language, like Hebrew or Welsh. Then, if your verbs slip backwards, they’ll end up in the middle of the sentence, where they should be.

—SLAC Unit #50657465

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Dear Verbina Lástima,

Yoda’s aphasia you have. Now the inception is. Embarrassment and doom it brings. A travesty your life is. Linguistics you cannot help. German, Welsh, Japanese, Turkish, Latin, Hebrew you cannot help. Your ruination it is. Our sympathies you have.

—SLAC Unit #54726579

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Dear Reluctantly Verb-Final,

Actually, the problem is that some of your nouns are premature. And yes, it is a form of aphasia, nomen praecox, and there is nothing you can do. Though if it makes you feel any better, electroshock therapy can at least distract you from your neurological woes. And if it doesn’t make you feel any better, such is life.

—SLAC Unit #4d696b61656c

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Dear Reluct,

Based on what you told our technicians, we’ll have to bring you into the shop and have a look. I’d want to check your verbal transmission cylinders. Some of these foreign language models tend to get their wires crossed, so to speak, and end up with nominalizational misfiring, which can spew nouns all over the place. In the simplest cases, we just have to replace your verbal timing chain, but if there are cracks in the verbal transmission casing you can be looking at completely replacing the generating unit, or worse. If we can find used parts someplace we might keep the cost under $2000, but you need to prepare yourself for the worst. It may be time for an entirely new language center.

—SLAC Unit #4b65697468

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Dear Reluct,

I want you to be careful of madmen and thieves who try to replace your entire language center when what you clearly need is a simple tense adjustment. You obviously just need to tighten the belt that runs your verbal tense application system.

Once this is done (which ought to cost only around $29.95 including parts and labor), it will eliminate the over-application of past tenses which is clearly slowing your verbs down, causing them to arrive late.

P.S.: There is no verbal timing chain in any model newer than 1924: some people will say anything to get your money!

—SLAC Unit #5368657269

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Dear Reluctantly Verb-Final,

This isn’t the biggest problem. Your verbs are probably just overweight, and they can no longer keep up with your speedy, athletic nouns. My suggestion is to put your verbs on a strict diet of monosyllabism and possibly train them in Old English origins until they are fit enough to pass your nouns.

P.S.: If you have fat verbs at the end of your sentences, you have an endweight problem.

—SLAC Unit #5065746572

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Dear Verb-Normal,

In which language does that happen to your verbs? Clearly not in English, by the looks of your message, so either you’re delusional or you have too much free time on your hands to send silly questions like this to SLAC Aunt.

A life get.

—SLAC Unit #4d6164616c656e61

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Dear Hinterverbler,

Your problem struck me as one which would best be addressed by someone more experienced in sensitive verb placement than most of us at the SpecGram office here, so I made the the arduous journey to the Welsh mountains to consult with our colleagues from Speculative Druidry. While I have not a clue what they were saying up there, employing all my years of training in linguistics, I managed to transcribe what one of their elders, Amlodd ap Brynmor, had to say:

Annwyl Berf-Diwethaf. Yr ydwyf yn cytuno gyda slacwr #50657465, mae rhaid i chi siarad Gymraeg. Yr ydym yn siwr iawn bod chi yn ffein os symudoch i’r fro Gymraeg am blwyddyn neu ddwy, efallai i Gaernarfon neu Dywyn. Jest yn edrychwch arna: mi daethwn yma ers talwm, newidiaswn fy enw i swnio fel derwydd a rwan nid ydwyf yn siarad Gymraeg neu ynrhyw iaith arall yn well; ond mae gen i bartiglau gramadegol cwl iawn iawn iawn iawn. Stopiwch gan ein swyddfa pan ydych yn parod, mae sefyll gynnon ni Ei-Du ffug newydd amdanoch.

Best of luck.

—SLAC Unit #466c6f7269616e

* Advice is not guaranteed to be useful, practical, or even possible. Do not attempt at home. Consult a doctor (of linguistics, philology, orin a pinchanthropology) before undertaking any course of treatment. This advice is not intended to cure or treat any disease or condition, inherent or contingent. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, except when it is not. “Empirical” means that we asked at least two other “people” whether our advice was good; one or more of those “people” may be voices in our own heads. “Emphatic” means that you may print out a copy of the advice for personal use in a medium, semi-bold, bold, heavy, black, or ultra-black weight of an italic or oblique typeface using an enlarged font size. “Empathic” means that deep down, in the darkest recesses of our blackest heart of hearts, we really, really care ♥just not necessarily about you.

LinguimericksBook २४
The Native American Origins of Jack and JillMary Hadlitt-Lamb
SpecGram Vol CLXXIV, No 3 Contents