University News SpecGram Vol CXC, No 4 Contents Grammaticality Brown Strikes Back

Book ८६Academic Communication In Poetry II

I once had a brilliant thesis:
I chopped syntax up into pieces
And linked them to meaning!
’Twas a bright, new beginning
And linguistically, well, masterpiec-ious.

I sent off this excellent treatise
To journal on journal; but ceaseless
Replies one by one:
‘It’s too short’; ‘it’s too long’;
‘It’s uneven, facetious and specious.’

I rewrote and revised, made incisions
In a cycle of endless revisions.
It went off; I prayed;
It came back with a weight
Of faux academic derision.

Then I saw in a wild stroke of genius:
‘This scholarship game is egregious!’
So I wrote children’s books
And made shedloads of bucks;
Now I’m sought-after, rich and prestigious.

My friends, if you wish for ambrosia
Through linguistically-istic exposure,
Forget it! Just scribble
Some kid-litty drivel:
It’s lucrative, easy and cosier.
—Finkmunster von Krackenschaffle de la Musica O’Seamus-Thompson-Smith

I owe every nerd an apology
From linguists to those in philology.
No tongue is absurd
Until you have heard
That speech with the messed-up phonology.

The perplexing and odd inventory
Sent scholars to their lavatory.
That palatal schwa
Could give me lockjaw.
What painful and strange oratory!

The voiceless bilabial stop
Must follow a dental or drop.
Three stops in a row
To break up the flow
Of diphthongs that slather and slop.

Who knew that a single morpheme
Could get you put on some morphine
That post-glottal glide
Has wrecked me inside
And I’m only on phoneme fourteen!

That speech with the messed-up phonology
Is a language that tests my biology.
My tongue is in knots.
I’m swinging back shots.
I should have just studied mycology.
—Reed Steiner

University News
Grammaticality Brown Strikes Back
SpecGram Vol CXC, No 4 Contents