Legal Proceedings--A. Katz SpecGram Vol CXLVIII, No 3 Contents Poetry Corner--Keith Slater


Lucas Carl Hayfield, great but little-known linguist, passed away in his home on January 7, 1998 at the age of 61. We are deeply indebted to our brilliant colleague for his significant contribution to the advancement of linguistic theory. Shortly after Lucas Hayfield's death his sister Anabell asked me to read his journal which she thought contained information that was relevant to the field of linguistics. Only then did I discover the uncommon intelligence and compassion of Lucas Hayfield. Lucas Hayfield was able to make a major contribution to linguistics despite having gone through a very difficult period in his life. His troubles began when he discovered the scratch-off lottery tickets that they sell at Al's Gas Station and Preschool near his home in Chesterfield, Ohio. Immediately he recognized that this was a shrewd way to become wealthy without actually doing any work. Soon he had spent all of his money on scratch-off tickets and had even borrowed quite a large sum from Lou's Loan Agency and Nightclub. Lucas Hayfield realized that he could get out of debt quickly if he got just one lucky ticket, and that he could never get out of debt using this strategy if he did not buy any tickets, so simple logic did not allow him to stop buying tickets. His flawless reasoning, however, did not compensate for a long streak of bad luck, and Lucas Hayfield was forced to live for several months in the swamp by Interstate 71 to hide from his creditors (notice the similarity to Alfred the Great's story).

Things looked bleak. Lucas Hayfield was in as much trouble as a soft mouse in a big, dumb man's pocket. He survived by eating turtles that he captured in the swamp, and cooking them over fires that he lit using cigarette butts that people tossed out their windows as they drove down I-71. One day as he was waiting by the side of the freeway for a lit cigarette butt, he saw it. At first he couldn't believe his eyes, but sure enough that's what it was. He had found him a dollar bill, a dollar bill that would change his life and the future of linguistics. With visions of Fritos, Twinkies, beef jerky, and Dr Pepper swimming in his head, Lucas Hayfield half sprinted, half jogged to Al's Gas Station and Preschool. He was already salivating when he swung open the gas station door, but admirably ignoring his hunger, Lucas Hayfield cleverly obeyed his instincts instead and bought a scratch-off lottery ticket. And he won!

Once he paid off his debts, Lucas Hayfield decided that instead of blowing the leftover money on something like a boat, he would do something that would help the world. But he didn't know what. He thought for many days and then suddenly it hit him, like an angry old woman's umbrella. He would convert his home into a sanctuary for orphan turtles, in order to make up for the damage he did to the swamp's turtle population. And thus was born the famous, but little-known, Turtle Town. Lucas Hayfield accepted unwanted pet turtles, turtles that were injured in highway accidents, turtles that had been abused by their owners, and any turtle that needed a loving home. Soon he had converted every room in his home into turtle habitat where he housed hundreds of his shelled friends. He built for the turtles scale replicas of an eighth-century castle, a hotel, and a gas station inside his home. He made money by charging people a reasonable admission to tour Turtle Town: $2 for adults, $1 for children, $1.50 for twins.

Shortly before he died, Lucas Hayfield wrote in his journal:

After living for 27 years among the turtles, I have come to the conclusion that turtles have a "Talk Gettin' Contraption" in their heads and they obviously have the ability to learn and use spoken language like any human. The reason why turtles have never been heard to speak has become clear to me after countless hours of staring at them: they simply don't feel that they have anything to say.

Hayfield's Talk Gettin' Contraption is unmistakably the same thing as Chomsky's Language Acquisition Device. The fact that it was discovered independently by these two great linguists finally proves beyond question the validity of the LAD/TGC.


Hayfield, L.C. n.d. My life among the turtles. Unpublished Journal, 17 pp.

Hayfield, L.C. 1972. If You Like Wonderful Things You Will Like Turtle Town. Promotional Brochure for Turtle Town.

Legal Proceedings--A. Katz
Poetry Corner--Keith Slater
SpecGram Vol CXLVIII, No 3 Contents