Quipley’s Don’t Believe It! ... Or Do? SpecGram Vol CLXXXII, No 4 Contents Linguistic (Fight) Clubs—Tyler D. Urden and Thé N. Arrator

Generative Grammar Proves the Existence of Aliens

N. Elix

It is by now well established that generative grammar is the one framework to rule them all and in the darkness bind them. Since its invention deep in the heart of the gamma quadrant (Whorf (not the Sapir one; the other one) Stardate 150.679), it has been important for all attempts by linguists in black to cross streams and get a well-Grooted understanding of how meaning is situated and realised in the human brain.

Until now, however, it has been analysed as the ripe fruits of the work of one man who went boldly where no linguist had gone before. This basic understanding is no longer possible now that the pod bay doors have been opened (Dave & HAL 2001) and the rolling orb of scientific progress has caught up with us (Le Prisonier 1967).

The most basic evidence for the non-terran underpinnings of generative grammar is the importance given to Theta Roles. Standard analysis argues that the use of the, arguably unnecessary, Greek letter is simply a symptom of well-documented physics envy. Thus, a character that represents an angle in physics and maths was re-interpreted as the representation of the valency of verbsvalency itself being a rather more subtle borrowing from chemistry.

Yet this standard analysis runs into problems when it is considered that the standard etymology of the use of the term fails to account for why linguists would drag theta so far from its mathematical roots and into the waterworld of an association with chemistry. The lack of connection between a Cartesian angle and the number of roles assigned by verbs is evidence enough that this awkward borrowing is more than mere Buffy-speak and missed congeniality. It is simply too far a Trek from one side to the other for the traditional etymology to be logically coherentwe must find the Bourne Identity of the original term.

Instead, it is vital to track another strain of meaning. This strain dates back to the respected scientological work of Hubbard (1982) whose close analysis of historical pseudo-grammars led to the extraterrestrial theory of human development, started by a race called Thetans. To summarise in brief, his theory holds that language arises from interactions with intergalactic travellers, thus explaining why there is considerable innateness in human language development and especially the ability to turn long books into wandering, financially questionable Hollywood films.

Thus Theta Roles come not primarily from the pseudo-adoption of patterns from other scientific fields but instead testify to the genesis of generative grammar a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Modern research, therefore, serves as the prequel for understandings that go clear of any explanations that could be uncovered during One Night at McCool’s. As grammarians will testify, that knowledge Cheers the heart and leads to saving private (Ryan 1998) blushes.

Doubts remain as to the empirical soundness of this new theory of the history of generative grammar, despite the weight of evidence. Critics have pointed out that a scientological theory of development would see generative grammar as a set of tenets held by those who either have considerable cultural power or who take refuge in a strict adherence to a controversial set of cultic practices. Readers will need to make up their own mind as to how far that applies.

Quipley’s Don’t Believe It! ... Or Do?
Linguistic (Fight) ClubsTyler D. Urden and Thé N. Arrator
SpecGram Vol CLXXXII, No 4 Contents