When lecturing on infixation,
Be prepared for a little titillation.
For examples in English
Are often distinguished
By a four-letter word: fornication.
A linguist there was of the Old School,
Adhering to regular sound rule.
In the evenings he’d stew
As he guzzled his brew
And called August Schleicher a damn fool.
five years of shooing pre-
scriptivist dogma and
scripts’ joys and thrills
powers don’t follow from
studying syntax: I
can’t get you pills!
The Field Philologist
A philologist went back in time
To one thousand and seventy-nine.
He saw a Dane fair
And said, “Hey, you there!
“I would like to record you—d’you mind?”
What do we mean by pragmatics?
Some say it is simply the tactics
For greeting our friends,
For beginnings and ends
Of our twee interactional antics.
An alternative take on pragmatics
Is “all meaning minus semantics”—
So implicature Gricean
And a raised eyebrow reading emphatic.
The books from which I learnt pragmatics
Gather dust in my grandmother’s attic,
Which might well imply
It’s all pie-in-the-sky—
But then I’m a syntax fanatic.