Everyday life is rich with examples of some things being higher than others. Glossing over the technical difficulties implicated in what ‘being high’ may mean (remember Van der Plopp’s rebuttal of Von Schniezenhoffler’s verticality axis!), it is incontestably empirical that some tall people bang their heads on low beams, sky divers descend towards the earth, Juliet looks down ’pon Romeo in her balcony scene and, perhaps most strikingly, stairs exist.
However, the richness and variety of phenomena exemplifying differential altitude in the domain of the physical is more than outweighed by height-
But up-ness and down-
All this leads us inevitably to this question: What is the high point of linguistics? Which itself begs many other questions: Whatever the actual high point is determined to be, is there a further, aspirational one which is even higher? Does one need climbing gear and an oxygen mask to get there? How can we measure any high points we identify and do we need a different scale in, say, morphophonology and pragmatics? Can it be seen from space?
Aware that there’s little our small3 but loyal readership doesn’t know about linguistics, we thought we might pose the above question (and its corollaries) to you. So, please write in with your suggestions as to the high point of linguistics. As ever, well argued, empirically grounded suggestions are as welcome as those which are neither, and speculative and downright left-
What’s the High Point of Linguistics?High Point
In the meantime, we’re pretty sure that the quarterly arrival of SpecGram is a relatively high point in our readership’s life. So, without further ado, clamber aboard the airship SpecGram (bagging a window seat, of course, to enjoy the view) and let’s jet off horizonwards towards Destination Chuckleberry passing through the Guffaw-
1 Not that sentence per se; the phenomenon of the sentence.
2 Not to be confused with the mythical basilisk, or with a culinary approach to breakfast in which eggs are added to basil.
3 In the sense of quantity, not height. Not everything’s about altitude!
4 Not to be confused with the Weightgainers’ motivation slogan Chocs! A way!