The Bar-Raising Principle
There once was a field linguistic
That loved not a single statistic.
The field built a fence
With definitions so dense
Its contraction became its prime characteristic.
Young grad students I just can’t believe in;
In my office I’m always a-grievin’:
Though they’re smart in the head
And leave nothing unread,
When they speak they’re unable to even.
—Morris Swadesh III
There once was a linguistics journal,
Whose staff’s views to the mainstream were foreign. “All
You lot think you’re clever,
Even art,” said some haverer,
“But you’re only a glorified urinal.”
“Ой, я помню,” he said with a grin,
“Ерунду, что читал тот Мурзин.”
Not the scholar from Perm,
He added quite firm,
“Но дурак, говорящий лишь ‘блин.’ ”
It’s good to be highly theoretical:
It is most academically respectable.
There’s no job at the end.
But at least you can send
Off your insights to SpecGram poetical.
There once was a clever old frog
Who, while sat in a primitive bog
Uttered some sounds—
English words!—How profound!
He must have found the Language Log!
—Col. O. Nihilist
O ling-u-o-lab-i-al trill!
Buzzing aloud like a drill!
Let’s give three bronx cheers,
And perk up our ears,
For a cons’nant that gives us a thrill!
The Freelance Computational
My model’s explanatory force
Is practically zero, of course.
It’s the best I can do,
And the client must rue
That the data was flawed at the source.