The Noises of Belchburper von Chufflenuffle—Noise #37: ‘Aaaaaaaaah’ SpecGram Vol CXCII, No 3 Contents Notice of Disorder Quellment and Negotiated Objector Statement—Speculative Grammarian Task Force for Wanton Innovation v. Office of the Editor-in-Chief of Speculative Grammarian

Orthographically-Conditioned Morphology

CJ Quines

Motivation. The other day1 I received through personal correspondence2 the following note: “BTW, we have a fairly extensive PR from someone to i18nize something.” From my extensive experience with sociolinguistics,3 I instantly understood some of the abbreviations used in this sentence, such as BTW meaning By The Way, or PR meaning Pull Request, something we trust the computational linguists in the audience are intimately familiar with.

But the interesting piece of data here is “i18nize”. The numeronym4 stands for internationalization, with the number 18 as there are 18 letters between the beginning letter i and the ending letter n. This means that i18nize expands to “internationalizationize”. This, being an utterance of a native English speaker, thus attests that the same affix can apply to the same root more than once: in this case, the suffix VBLZ ‘-ize’ appearing twice:

  1. inter-nation-al-iz-ation-ize

This goes counter to traditional rule-based morphology or morphosyntax, for surely it would be impossible for VBLZ to attach to a root twice, for it has already attached once. Does that mean that this was merely a mistake on the speaker’s behalf?5, 6 Is this, perhaps, a different phenomenon, wherein the provenance of i18n has been lost, with the new term being relexicalized and thus able to get VBLZ again? Or is there a simpler explanationnamely, that all the theories we have about morphology are wrong?

Of course, it has to be the third one, as the first two are not interesting enough to write a squib about. We wish to advance a theory to explain this phenomenon, which we call redundant affixation, or perhaps, reredundant affixationation, in addition to several other, seemingly disparate morphological effects. We introduce the theory of orthographically-conditioned morphology to explain all of these.

Theory. Our main thesis will be that the Y-model, as we understand it, is incomplete.7 After arriving at the phonetic form (PF), further transformations happen to produce what we call the orthographic form (OF). This can be summarized as in the following diagram:8

What is the mechanism by which OF is produced? We advanced a constraint-based theory similar to the widely-successful9 Optimality Theory (OT). We propose that OF works in the framework of OT by having orthographic constraints that restrict the OF of any given PF.

Interested readers are advised to contact the author directly for more information.10 He promises that the full article will be written within the next decade.11

1 In case the registrar hasn’t notified you or anything, I am a listener in the class, so this should not be taken seriously at all. I’m planning to eventually submit this to SpecGram. [Note: Done! —Eds.]

2 Otherwise known as a “private message.”

3 Otherwise known as being an undergrad.

4 Which, regretfully, is a real word.

5 One might think that, if it was a mistake, there would be no other instances of internationalizationize in the literature. But a Google search reveals at least four results for internationalizationize, only one of which is from a Japanese website.

6 Further, a native speaker of English, namely the author, judged internationalizationize as acceptable. We ask any referees to know better than to doubt the data provided by informants.

7 Or perhaps, as you understand itmy understanding is of course quite complete.

8 I confess my ignorance of semantics, but in my defense, I don’t know any semanticists to tell me that I’m wrong. For the record, I don’t know any morphologists either, but I’m pretty sure my morphology is right.

9 The author wants to note that wide acceptance is not at all correlated with correctness.

10 Please don’t.

11 He doesn’t.

The Noises of Belchburper von ChufflenuffleNoise #37: ‘Aaaaaaaaah’
Notice of Disorder Quellment and Negotiated Objector StatementSpeculative Grammarian Task Force for Wanton Innovation v. Office of the Editor-in-Chief of Speculative Grammarian
SpecGram Vol CXCII, No 3 Contents