Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wrathful Dispersion Theory, or, how I learned to love linguists

I used to have a theory, based on my undergraduate institution, that all geologists were fascinating, brilliant, warm, and funny, because the ones I met at MUI had that reputation, based, in part, on a "class" called Geology 500, held every Friday afternoon in the Geology department, complete with keg and free food for majors and friends. I'm now doubtful that all geologists really are that wonderful (though I'm certainly willing to be convinced!), since the other places I've been, they simply haven't had that reputation.

However, I'm now convinced that all Linguists are even more fascinating, brilliant, and funny.

My grad school English department didn't have much contact with the Linguistics department (if there even was one) and had one lone person stuck trying to teach us dismal grads some slight history of the language. She was probably the kindest professor in the department, gentle and understanding, and tough as nails at the same time. But I didn't know her well at all.

And the college where I had my first job didn't have a linguist in residence. So one of the big surprises for me when I moved to Northwoods U was sharing a departmental identity with Linguist. To a person, the Linguists here convinced me that they're not only great colleagues, who bring a completely different and useful perspective to our conversations, but witty and wonderful in all sorts of other ways. For a while, I've thought that we somehow lucked out on our little crowd of linguists, probably cornering the best ones up here in the snow somehow.

But recently, one of the linguists forwarded a Livejournal link about Wrathful Dispersion Theory. I love the Flying Spaghetti Monster as much as the next person, but this is even funnier.

For the uninitiated, Wrathful Dispersion Theory argues that linguistic difference comes about not through a process of evolution or gradual change through contact and such, but through the Wrathful act of a superior being, probably divine. This theory evidently used to be called Babelism.

If you're looking for a really good laugh, or just further evidence of how much Linguists rock, click the link and have a read.

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