Mountain Dialect Baffles East European Phonologists—G. D. Duvkal Ps. Q. Vol XVI, No 3 Contents Null Grammar: A Lexico-centric Approach—Keith W. Slater
Dear Sirs:

When Mommy fell asleep at the computer during her third straight all-nighter and accidentally erased her doctoral thesis, I wrote this to help her out. She graduated with honors, and so I thought I’d do a paper on it and send it to you, since I’ve heard it’s your kind of thing. Please do not print my full name with this article, because I am not allowed to use Mommy’s computer at all.

Suzy X.

P.S. My little brother Jimmy also contributed to this work, but I only let him touch the computer once.

The Effect of Coffee Consumption on Adults’ Average MLU at the Breakfast Table

Jimmy and I have always thought that the way Mommy and Daddy act in the morning has something to do with how many cups of coffee they’ve had to drink so far. Since we needed a topic, we decided to measure its effects.

Our subjects were observed in a normal family setting going about their normal daily lives. No attempts were made to affect the speech behavior of the grown-ups, though there were attempts to hurry breakfast along. (Me and Jimmy didn’t try to put what they said in phonetic transcription because I haven’t had time to finish reading Mommy’s book on it yet.) Our subjects were Monica and James (35,4 and 37,1 at the beginning of observation). Also present were the researcher (4,9) and her little brother (2,5).

Prior to the first cup of coffee, Monica’s MLU was 2.1 and James’s was 2.5. Their speech seemed mostly related to their immediate surroundings, as in: I overslept! and First shower! There were also babbling utterances such as Aarrgh! The longest speech sample we recorded was: Monica, would you PLEASE shut off your alarm clock before I get up and yank it out of the wall?

After one cup of coffee, Mommy and Daddy’s moods and MLU improved. Mommy’s went up to 3.6 and Daddy’s was 3.1. Focus was still on breakfast and getting up, but had expanded to include the researchers as well. Favorite utterances included:

The second cup of coffee had a big effect. Monica’s and James’s MLU were both 7.5. They almost mostly stopped talking about breakfast and focussed on the day’s activities. They also began to interact more with one another. Conversations of up to seven or eight utterances were observed, such as:
M: Jim, you better get Suzy ready for school.
J: Aren’t you taking her?
M; I thought you were.
J: It’s your turn.
M: Isn’t it Wednesday?
J: Oh no! I was supposed to give a presentation today!
M: Suzy, let’s get ready for school.
It was more difficult to measure Monica and Jim’s MLU after their third cup of coffee, since they were moving around the house more. We estimated it between 8.0 and 10.0. Observation was also disrupted at this time by the arrival of Jimmy’s babysitter and Monica and James’s departure.

This concludes our preliminary study of the effect of coffee on adults’ speech behavior. We believe it is obvious that coffee is used by adults to regulate verbal behavior, a hypothesis further supported by the fact that children are told they cannot have coffee until they are grown-ups. We hope to see our results duplicated by others in similar experiments. Perhaps Psammeticus will publish our future updates on the matter.

Mountain Dialect Baffles East European Phonologists—G. D. Duvkal
Null Grammar: A Lexico-centric Approach—Keith W. Slater
Ps. Q. Vol XVI, No 3 Contents