“A New Mechanism For Contact-Induced Change:
Evidence From Maritime Languages”
by H.D. Onesimus
From Speculative Grammarian CL.3, July 2005
Reviewed by Morris Swadesh III
In early 2005, I had one of those “polite” arguments you engage in during the discussion period after a linguistics talk. In this case, the visiting lecturer was a well-known sociolinguist, who claimed in her talk that “we already have a full, complete, and unchangeable understanding of the mechanisms of contact-induced change” or some other such nonsense. I begged to differ, and the end of our verbal sparring was a wager of $1000.
Just a few months later, H.D. Onesimus gave irrefutable proof that contact linguistics, by focusing exclusively on non-aquatic languages, had overlooked the mechanism of ingestion. Of course, ingestion is now an entrenched concept in the field, but when Ms. Smarty Pants Sociolinguist and I made our bet, no one had yet conceived of it.
I am therefore extremely grateful to Onesimus, and to his ground-breaking article, because with the cool one grand I got from that sociolinguist you’ve all heard of, I was able to make a down payment on a linguistic study trip to Antarctica, which enabled me not only to verify Onesimus’ conclusions about the grammar of Antarctic Krill, but also to get some totally cute photos of the penguins who served as my fieldwork guides.
So I recommend you read this article too, even if you are one of those who don’t believe that Onesimus’ reconstruction of Proto-Dodo is reliable.