Cartoon Theories of Linguistics
by Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (with guest contributors
Hilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. and Erin Taylor)
From Speculative Grammarian CLII.1-CLV.2, January 2007-November 2008
Reviewed by Steve Dodson
Far, far back in the murky mist of the distant past, nearly unrecoverable by present methods—to wit, in January 2007—Speculative Grammarian™ began a series called “Cartoon Theories of Linguistics”; that first installment, on Non-Configurational Languages, explained that “we should be able to reduce the essence of important linguistic concepts to something we can explain to that bright, interested 10-year-old. In fact, I contend that we can boil the essence right down to something we can explain in a cartoon.” Since then, there have been irregular sequels (well, frankly, everything about Speculative Grammarian is pretty irregular), moving through Parts B, 3, IV, E, ζ, ז, ж, 九, J, XI, 12, and 13 up to the current (and unimaginatively numerated) 14 (“Gricean Implicature”). If you like linguistics and you like cartoons, you will probably like at least some of these (though some, e.g. “Part J—Feeding and Bleeding,” may be as incomprehensible to you as they are to me).