Letters to the Editor SpecGram Vol CLXXXVI, No 2 Contents Linguimericks—Book ६९

University News

TV Chef and Government Boffins Spruce Up Linguini with Linguistics

by Ruthlessly Roving Reporter Miss Deakina Andrea Kirkhamia

Celebrity chef Claudesia van O’Hara, famous for her pioneering reality TV cheffing programme Cook-a-Doodle-Doo, has teamed up with linguists from the Southport Institute of Language Investigation and the Basildon Institute of Linguistic Inquiry (SILI-BILI) to investigate how lexical and grammatical constructs can add, in her words, “taste, tone, texture and adventure” to food and cooking. In a series of six programmes, O’Hara will be mixing standard linguistic constructs such as place of articulation, causativity and infixes into everyday dishes such as pasta, lasagne and toad-in-the-hole to work out just how linguistics can benefit gastronomy.

In the first program, O’Hara sprinkles a couple of dabs of ditransitivity over a salade niçoise and declares “Oh my golly gosh, can’t you just feeeeeeel the three-argument lexical selection requirement permeating the ensemble.” Later on while supping a mushroomy soup that has been enhanced with dried grammatical function changing operations picked from a couple of native Amerindian polysynthetic languages, O’Hara literally pirouettes in delight as she screeches, “the morphosyntax really brings out the flavour.” Post Doctoral Researcher Pollyanna Peckleborough-McPimpernal told us “Working with O’Hara has been the highlight of my career so far. My research is in acquisition of case marking on Tuesdays by L1 Kasubian learners of ergative-absolutive languages, and it’s great to be able to bring the expertise I’ve developed over the last few years to this project with Claudesia. She’s such fun, a real hoot, quite a laugh, and, above all, a good sport.”

In parallel work, the UK’s National Gastronomy Unit (NGU) has been investigating the properties of polysemous function words to effect superbinding biochemical resonances on proteins found in fish and meat in order to tackle the UK’s rising obesity crisis. NGU’s CEO, Professor Pickerton Pickernickel told us that “function words such as ‘as’ in English, which are associated with polysemous interpretations, can be used to alter protein biochemistry, allowing teenagers to digest food more swiftly and thus potentially avoid some of the words effects of binge-eating. We’ve found that the construction ‘be + -ing’, which is polysemous across various aspectual readings such as ‘right now’, ‘around now’ and ‘temporary state’, can be injected into red meat at temperatures between 45K and 47K with the result that the protein combines Delta-Z and Tatooine-3PO under plasmic resonance 3–4 minutes earlier than normal.”

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