Linguimericks—Book ७४ SpecGram Vol CLXXXVII, No 4 Contents Letter to the Recently Discovered Murapirã People—G. Stuart Dent

The Incipient Colonialism of IPA

Wallace Workaday
Professor of Meat Flapping in Linguistics
The Δίς Λεγόμενον Centre for Endeepened Ideation

If to describe is to own then to transcribe is to enthrone. From the grooming of a sciento-social race with the fast adoption of the Latin alphabet as the foundation of the linguistic enterprise, instantiated and exemplified by /k/ and /æ/ to cordoning off its extent with the refusal to acknowledge the /double-dot wide o/ and the /ʙ–/, the International Phonetic Alphabet subjugates the subconscious mind of the researcher by enforcing a Platonian cave of Pavlovian conditioning.

This much is universally accepted by all who disclaim allegiance to hegemonic traditions. If the father’s tools will never dismantle the father’s house then it is important to at least examine the overheated angle-grinder of constructed transcriptions while whisking the albumen of suspicion on the barbecue of skepticism. What happens when we reckon that sibilance is associated with /s/ or fathers with /a/? Do not the misfortunèd siblings in turn arise against their Latinate masters and threaten the essential unité of the corpvs lingvisticvm?

They do not.

Too entrenched are the legitimised conventions to admit further discussion, even upon severe sufferance. New characters are indeed admitted but /ⱱ/ is not allowed to frolick freely with her older siblings. No, she must appear aloof and alone, much like /t̼ / who appears in the guise of the gussied-up other, on the fringes of rarity and the flanks of the hippopotamus of phonemic statistics.

It is not simply that the IPA is a curious outflow of linguistic study by occidental scholars but that performs the pre-Raphaelite yet post-Enlightenment idyll of a world understood and sorted, transcribed and circumscribed. It is the inverse of the unknown, the obverse of the savoir-écrire. As such, it is the museum of the uttered and the utter ban of the unsaid. It must be deconstructed to reveal the fig leaf of scientism and the spotty shoulders of luminescent adolescence.

With what shall we replace this hydra of hidden hydroform centripetality? Certainly not with a replacement un-per-uno of the current emblems of loquacious linguistic lavishness, like Caesar proposing bread and circumflexes in return for data. Instead, we should privilege the transcription of data using meaningless and semantically empty signs. Wingdings and boxes have no prior or a priori connection to any empire or order and thus are free to be reimprinted with new levels of signification. In short: 💇🗻↙🏳🔇🔔🔎💡

LinguimericksBook ७४
Letter to the Recently Discovered Murapirã PeopleG. Stuart Dent
SpecGram Vol CLXXXVII, No 4 Contents