Kenneth Lee Pike
Ne’er met a language he didn’t like.
Lauded creator of etic and emic,
& a “demonstrably monolingual” acadēmic.
Epitaph for SpecGram
Extraordinary analyses that just might be right,
Government and binding in a liguisticky light,
Reviews of non-existent books that send up fads,
Aimless rantings, just like real papers,
Much like The Onion but with nerdy capers.
—Col. O. Nihilist
Rubāʿī Concerning Discourse
Come, chart a text, and tag its parts of speech;
Its units, chunks and phrases—label each;
The analyst depends upon thy toil
To place Discourse’s soul in Reason’s reach.
Of those born speaking English it’s said
Learning languages is what they most dread.
Why should they take the trouble?
Shouldn’t we burst the bubble
Of TESOLers and EFLers instead?
—Cailín na Luimní
There once was a linguist named Byrd
With preconceived notions of “word”;
All day in his brain
He filled syllable planes:
All other distinctions were blurred.
—P. Ublekkdeaux Meign
In suspenders and pants and a vest,
Looking nerdy—but smart—I impressed.
In the States that was fine
But a Brit friend of mine
Thought me kinky and quite underdressed.
Originally published in Lynne Murphy’s Separated by a Common Language blog