Los Eres y el Erre--Trey Jones SpecGram Vol CXLIX, No 4 Contents

Further Evidence for
as a
Virus from Space
A Symposium in Two Movements

Fred Hoyle has forcefully and, many would say, persuasively argued for the existence of viruses floating free in space. Hoyle, Wickranmasinghe, and Watkins in their seminal work, Viruses from Space go so far as to suggest that life on Earth may have been seeded by such viruses.

These claims are certainly worthy of consideration, but they fail to address an important corollary: if life on Earth was seeded by viruses from space, then shouldn't such viruses--most likely completely different ones, in fact--still be falling to the Earth's surface from time to time?

After abstractly pondering these facts for several years in the early 1990's, Professor Viril Ustanov began to see mounting evidence that perhaps Human Language was, in fact, a symptom of an infectious agent. Since no likely agent could be found on Earth, Professor Ustanov turned toward the heavens in search of an answer.

This Symposium, entitled "Further Evidence for Language as a Virus from Space", is sponsored by the Autonomous Xenobiological Linguistics Entity (AXLE) with the goal of furthering the field pioneered by Professor Ustanov.

The Symposium will be held October 29th and 30th, 2004 CE at the Sky-Hook Hotel, located above the Earth's equator.


    Act I--October 29th, 2004
  • 08:00 GMT Begin Session

  • 08:15 GMT Registration
    Multi-Continental Breakfast
    In the lobby outside the Main Sky Dome

  • 09:00 GMT Keynote Address
    Language Acquisition as Language Infection
    Dr Hirogi Watanabanabe, MD, PhD
    Professor Ustanov's most successful protégé discusses how the Language Infection Model explains the transmission of language from one generation to the next.

    Dr Watanabanabe's talk covers such diverse phenomena as supposedly "insufficient data" for language learning and "parameter setting" versus the simpler Language Infection Model; lack of language development in the underexposed (such as feral children); biological constraints on Universal Grammar and Language Change; and biological plausibility versus psychological plausibility of transmission mechanisms.

    In the Main Sky Dome

  • 13:00 GMT Light Lunch
    Very cold cold-cuts, chilled naturally in the vacuum of space; green cheese from the moon; whole wheat crackers.
    In the Petit Nebula Ballroom

  • 15:00 GMT Invited Paper
    The "Critical Period"
    Jonathan van der Meer
    Mr van der Meer offers compelling evidence that the age limitations on language acquisition, the so-called "critical period", is an artifact of children's immunological rather than cognitive development.

    Further, Mr van der Meer argues that a proper immuno-suppressant regimen can enhance L1 acquisition in the developmentally delayed.

    In the Low Albedo Conference Room

  • 17:30 GMT Catered Dinner
    Entrées include Vegetarian Beef Broth; Broccoli and Onion Steak Slabs; and Hydroponic Haggis. Space Tadpole Sauce provided courtesy of NASA.
    In the Grande Nebula Ballroom

  • 20:00 GMT Round Table Discussions
    Attendees are invited to meet and discuss ideas with Symposium speakers and fellow attendees.
    In the Pleiades Small Meeting Rooms

    Act II--October 30th, 2004
  • 08:00 GMT Breakfast
    Multi-Continental Breakfast
    In the Low Albedo Conference Room

  • 09:00 GMT Invited Paper
    L2 Acquisition and the Language Infection Model
    Dr Fortuna de Sadamente
    Dr de Sadamente shows how, in a largely monolingual community, difficulty in L2 acquisition is in large part due to a strong and focused immune response to viral linguistic invaders. She contrasts this scenario with that of a highly multilingual community, where new language viruses are more easily transmitted. Dr de Sadamente also touches on issues such as why it is easier to learn a language from a native speaker, and the effectiveness of "immersion" programs.
    In the High Albedo Conference Room

  • 11:30 GMT Paper Presentation
    Vowel Harmony: A Spreading Infection
    Albrecht Brechtal, ABD
    Brechtal takes the controversial position that vowel harmony is in fact the result of a secondary infection of a semi-linguistic virus that copies vowel features within lexical items.
    In the Orion's Belt Bar

  • 13:00 GMT Lunch
    Entrées include Hubble Honeyed Ham, Bug Eyed Burgers, Venusian Vegan Patties (made from real Vegans!), and of course, our famous Pleiades Pasta Bar will also be open.
    In the Grande Nebula Ballroom

  • 15:00 GMT Paper Presentation
    The New Prescriptivism
    Xochitl Chirac, PhD
    Dr Chirac offers insights into how prescribing practices in the medical community--particularly overuse of antibiotics and the new antivirals--might affect linguistic competence in the future.
    In the Cassiopeia Common Area

  • 16:00 GMT Paper Presentation
    Microfossilized Language
    Ndama Ng, ABD
    Ms Ng presents startling evidence that the structure of microfossils found in ejecta from Mars, recovered from Antarctic snow fields, parallels the microstructure of the language centers of the brain.
    In the Low Albedo Conference Room

  • 17:00 GMT End Session

Fees for attendance are €3,957.84, and should be remitted to AXLE directly. Contact Mrs Mannin D'Moon for more information.

Reservations can be made at the Sky-Hook. Accommodations are also available at several fine establishments along the equator on several continents. Shuttles will be available several times per day as the Sky-Hook passes overhead. Earth-bound participants are encouraged to synchronize their circadian rhythms with the hotel's schedule at their earliest convenience.

Los Eres y el Erre--Trey Jones
SpecGram Vol CXLIX, No 4 Contents