Granular Phonology—Keith Slater Ps. Q. Vol XVI, No 1 Contents Pinkerton-Umlaut’s Back to Basics: The Real Truth About Language (Review)—Dave Kathman

A Stratificational Approach to Making Macaroni and Cheese

It has long been a tenet of stratificational theory that stratificational notation is adaptable to extralinguistic structures. The contention of this paper is that not only can we use relational networks in this way, but that in fact a stratificational diagram is superior to, and should supplant, the traditional tool for visual transmission of information, namely written representation of natural human language. As an example, compare the traditional version of instructions for preparing macaroni and cheese with the new and improved version. (The text is that of “Directions,” Food Club Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, Wgt. .453# (the package is distributed by weight in #, not volume #). Skokie, Illinois: Topco Associates, Inc. 1988.)

Version A (traditional):

Add macaroni and 1 tsp. salt to 6 cups boiling water. Stir. Boil rapidly, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until tender but firm. Drain. Add 4 tbsps. butter or margarine, 1/4 cup vitamin D fortified whole milk and contents of cheese sauce packet. Mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 3 cups.
Version B (new and improved):

It is obvious from even a cursory examination that the text lacks both elegance and simplicity. Certainly it is plain that the stratificational solution is much easier for even a layman to follow. With this in mind, and realizing that the same is true for any extralinguistic phenomenon capable of linguistic description, I suggest that we begin a process of eliminating cumbersome and outdated written language in favor of relational catalyses. To speed this process, we should begin production of catalytic converters according to the type developed by Adam Makkai at General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan, in 1978.

Tim Pulju Michigan State University

Granular PhonologyKeith Slater
Pinkerton-Umlaut’s Back to Basics: The Real Truth About Language (Review)Dave Kathman
Ps. Q. Vol XVI, No 1 Contents