Linguimericks—Book ९४ SpecGram Vol CXCII, No 4 Contents Overheard in the Linguistics Student Lounge—Chesterton Wilburfors Gilchrist, IV

Good Ol’ Quantization:
An Ode to Manfred Krifka

Deedles D’Dee

Cumulativity and good ol’ quantization
Offer a pair of semantic explanations
For why, when I pull a hair out of my head,
And then add a second hair, it can be said
I have ‘two hairs’ there sitting in my hand
Whilehere’s the biggie, listen in friend, and
Pay attention (not, mind, ‘several attentions’!)—
The hair that’s on my head that I just mentioned,
Remains ‘some hair’ and so remains if I
Pull out a third, fourth hair. We can’t deny
That the nouns which the grammar books call ‘mass’ and ‘count’
Arise from some semantic feature; aren’t
Purely grammatical; something from semantics
Underpins their count-mass mad-cow antics.
But thanks to Krifka, and his lofty thought,
We understand the differenceand we ought
To teach young syntacticians, ‘Look below!
If your aim in truth’s to come to know
Many syntagmata (that’s quantized)1
Learn (non-quantized) semanticsthere’s the prize!’

In fact a syntagma in principle may contain
Another syntagma; and then again
Down through the levels; however, we attain
A lexical level in the end: the chain
Is broken and the syntagmata end
In that sense they are quantized. Thus I defend
The very slightly inaccurate formulation
In the lines above on good ol’ quantization.

LinguimericksBook ९४
Overheard in the Linguistics Student LoungeChesterton Wilburfors Gilchrist, IV
SpecGram Vol CXCII, No 4 Contents