“A Stratificational Approach to Making Macaroni and Cheese”
by Tim Pulju
From Psammeticus Quarterly XVI.1, November 1988
Reviewed by Trey Jones
One of my favorite articles from the pre–modern-SpecGram period is “that crazy stratificational mac ‘n’ cheese thing Tim did”. Indeed, it deftly illustrates the immense power, awesome flexibility, and utter incomprehensibility of stratificational linguistic diagrams. Or at least it wanted to, but Tim’s original diagram looked even more like something an over-the-hill, drunk connectionist sketched on a napkin at a bar while trying to impress a linguistics undergrad than the current incarnation does. I had the joy of upgrading the image. So many little diamond graphics!—they haunted my dreams for days and days. Now, more than 25 years after the original version was created, it’s actually a great mini-introduction to stratificational linguistics—especially if you’ve never seen or heard of stratificational linguistics—because most people know how to make mac ‘n’ cheese and they can use that knowledge to help them try to figure out what all the crazy little symbols mean. It’s a veritable Rosetta Stone of lost linguistic lore.