Sunday, May 01, 2005

A Manifesto of Dialectical Diachronics

The history of languages worldwide and especially the history of English clearly show progress towards increasingly superior forms. Whereas we can expect these patterns to continue as we progress, Dialectical Diachronicism advocates revolutionary efforts to further these changes and accelerate our progress:

1) Regularization of plural and tense paradigms (not paradigmata). No more of this "octopi/octopodes/octopuses?", "syllabi/syllabantes/syllabuses?", "kleenexen/kleenices/kleenexes?" and "moose/meese/mooses?", nor such monstrosities as "dived/diven/dove/doved/doven?" and "drunk/drinken/drunken/drinked/drank/dranked/drunked/dranken?". All plurals shall use the +/z/ morpheme, and preterite and past participles (regardless or use) shall use +/d/. Spell them as you see fit.

2) Furthermore, no more special treatment for [3RD.SG.PRES].

3) As be already the norm in common speech, 'them' be the proper pronoun for use for an animate individual when their gender be unknown or irrelevant.

4) The shortage of verbal morphology and the inexorable advance towards pro-drop thenecesitate a reanalysis of subject pronouns as prefixes. (Some members of the committee thave recommended that wego through a period of weanalyzing them as clitics. Itshall be put up for a vote at the next meeting.) The details thebe still being worked out.

English speakers of the world, wefind ourselves at a crucial moment in history: now. When a friend who thebe ignorant of the revolution thespeak the unenlightened way, warn them sternly. When an enemy thespeak in the unenlightened way, quote Vogon poetry at them. In a few short years, weell speak an even more superb language, even cooler than now, and weell reminisce, saying "Yremember how wespeaked back then? Webeed so unenlightened and whack."


Matthew Carroll said...

You camed just in the nick of time! Just the other day, I was working in some unenlightened program, and I could not find a plural for "syllabus" that my spell checker would accept. I think it was Gmail. If Google want to succeed in there nefarious plan of global domination, they will have to git with theprogram and buy the rites to Dialectical Diachronism.

the girl in the red hat said...

some of us will look back and have more justification than others for saying "webeed so whack"

caedmonstia said...

I prefer s/he for the ambiguous gender pronoun, as "them" denotes(?) plural. We use this form here in Brazil and whereas it is annoying as heck, (O/a professor/a dedicado/a conversa muito com o/a aluno/a confuso/a), it seeks to be gender-inclusive while still gramatically correct. The other advantage is that, for instance, my 35 page paper that is due in July will really only have to have 15 pages of content. The other 20 pages will be /a at the end of every other word.