Letters to the Editor SpecGram Vol CLXXXIX, No 2 Contents Diacritical Linguimericks, Part I—Book ८०

University News

Clitics Discovered to Be Remnant of Homo neanderthalis Proto-Language

by Ruthlessly Roving Reporter Miss Deakina Andrea Kirkhamia

Researchers at the University of Moore Fullergee recently announced an exciting discovery which is likely to reshape the study of grammar. According to the Centre for Language Informatics, Theoretical Informaticologicistics and Cognitive Syntac­tico­log­istical­isa­tion­alis­ation (CLITICS), cliticsthose pesky sub-lexical units that mess around in second position, refuse to adopt a full phonological profile and, in a more overt and blatant dependency than dependency grammar, cling like limpets onto reluctant ‘hosts’turn out to be a hangover from Homo neanderthalis’ proto-language.

Associate professor Clark “without an ‘e’ ” Clarksone “with an ‘e’ ” and Dr Helene “with an ‘e’ ” Hellenique-“as it sounds”-Hellibar (no relation) met with me on floor 37-and-a-half of the recently completed building for the Centre for Research Excellence in Psycholinguistics (CREP) to explain the ins and outs, the thises and some of the thats and a couple of the in-process possibilities of the whole crazy shebang. Hellenique-Hellibar was forthright, to say the least. “Our analysis of the remaining three-quarters of a neanderthalis skull suggests that the nasal cavity has, er, well, y’know, descended from the cranium, probably to, atchoo, create greater room for the, tsk, er, region of the brain known to be responsible for clitic-processing. This, along with some, hmmmmm, recent re-evaluation of neanderthalis cave painting, burial ritual, blah blah blah, material culture and yadder yadder yadder tool-making techniques demonstrates with a high probability that clitics were the structural heart of Homo neanderthalis language.”

Clarky-boy jumped in. “So, yeah, we know that clitics must be a late addition to the structural makeup of Homo sapiens language as they don’t fit into any logically possible theory. Syntax and morphology are known to be located in different regions of the brain with only a sub-cortical mapping mechanism which does not support any unit that is phonologically underdetermined. Ergo, as it were, clitics are a late addition to the sapiens linguistic architecture. It’s gotta be, just gotta be, therefore a part of the neanderthalis legacy.”

On the way down in the lift, I found myself thinking “They’ll’ve’d a great time formulating that one.” Then I caught myself concatenatively cliticising and smiled a Neanderthal smile.

Letters to the Editor
Diacritical Linguimericks, Part IBook ८०
SpecGram Vol CLXXXIX, No 2 Contents