2005-02-06

Velum-lowering, Googlewhacking, and Metapornolinguistics

The The Neologiac Spooneristocrat has written quite suggestively of the lovely young pop tart Britney Spears and her moaning while lowering her velum. Further, the bit of discussion concerning GoogleWhacking with performative hydrostats has been suggestive in its own right. Part of the fun of linguistic study is observing the lengths to which words can be pushed. Even more entertaining to see the none too nubile linguistic terminology made so. Which brings me to the point. The note quoted below inaugurated the at the time pristine (although not virtuous) field of Metapornolinguistics in 1971 or thereabouts. It was written as part of a Festschrift in honor of James McCawley's 33rd or 34th birthday. As such it seems quite appropriate to commemorate the 33rd or 34th birthday of the note and field itself by including it here, on Experimental Linguistics.

Conjunctive Ordering

by E. Clifton Gamahuche
(also known as Háj Ross)

The following note lays down a definitive order for a number of rules that have been discussed in so-called generative grammar. There has been an astonishing amount of disagreement among otherwise reputable scholars on this childishly simple question of rule ordering. There is only one conceivable ordering which will yield maximal satisfaction. I will refer to this ordering as Conjunctive Ordering.

1. In Conjunctive Ordering, at some time after Aux Attraction, Copula Agreement may take place. Then, after (optional) Scrambling, it is obligatory that Subject Raising, and other expansion rules, occur. After the maximal strip of the adverb has been obtained, Adverb Lowering will naturally take place, closely followed by Swooping. Since Scrambling is an anywhere rule, more of it may be in order; do not hesitate.

Thus far we have not endeavored to attain the goal of observational adequacy, for which some showier rules may be employed. I refer of course to Subject-Verb Inversion. Scrambling will almost certainly recur, and soon, too soon, Affix Hopping will obligatorily ensue.

Pausing briefly to catch our breath before the next block of rules, we may wish to limit our generative capacity by imposing an output condition. If so, we will undergo Neg Placement. But conjunctive ordering without this device is preferred.

We are now ready for Gapping! Making sure that all conditions on the input configuration for this next, crucial, role are met, we embark upon the glorious rule of There Insertion. Clefting follows. More Scrambling. If Extraposition is desired, a variety of rules suggest themselves, such as Right Dislocation and Left Dislocation, and even for advanced students, Verb Final.

Now is no time for the Passive! Conjunct Movement must take place and Tough Movement too! The next two rules are ordered so closely that many scholars regard them as simultaneous. Vocative Formation and the justly celebrated Particle Movement.

Alas, the time will come for Conjunction Reduction. If there has been no Neg Placement, or if this process has been succeeded by Neg Hopping, Sluicing may be advisable, in order to ensure Tense Prevention.

I can see no justification for Chomsky’s suggested constraint that would prohibit the insertion of material into an already processed clause, so I see no reason (unless Performative Deletion has applied) for not recycling through the greater part of the list of rules above – although before the first rules, Do Support may be necessary.

Copula Agreement will be required again. In its absence, there is but one possible rule: Reflexivization.

2 Comments:

Blogger nld_coder said...

Just wanted to let you know that I had a Shakespearience the other day.

4:47 PM  
Blogger nld_coder said...

Oh yeah.....nearly forgot.....what about ' misunderestimate ' ?

4:50 PM  

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