Apr 16, 2008

A tribute to weirds

In my defence, I must say my hand has been forced. This post by Abhishek asks of me what I think of Avnish's recent crusade against words.

But before that, a correction. The e-steamed Abhishek repeatedly insinuates that self and colleague are computational linguists. Charmed as I am by the honour, I must hasten to add that this is far from the truth: we are not such men of such wordly (sic) pleasures. At best, we are word-counters, miners in hard hats, wading through the lovely mess that is text. XKCD rants are slings at some of the contributors here, while we 49ers sit by the quarry and watch such warfare, wiping stems and lemmas from our brow.

Returning to Mr. Dhondge and his disgust for "lexeme", I must hasten to the defence of that poor token. For "lexeme" was never meant for the popular vocal stage. It serves a very well-defined (as Avnish's gloss amply illustrates) purpose in an academic field. One might as well poke fun at (perhaps these words resonate with Avnish's own chosen field) "thermocouple" or "autocollimator", or think poorly of "Pneumonoultramicro...". It must be said that at least, 'lexeme' - a meta-word, to give it its due - is at least worthy of appearing in a Word of the Day newsletter that seems to cause him so much distress!

Avnish may feel he has struck a blow (or at least a blog) against verbigeration, thus ushering in a golden age of brachylogy. However, isn't more the merrier? And don't forget, we always seem to need more words, and are willing to go as far as Liff to get them. You don't need a dyslexic to spell out that every word is special (except for words like 'leverage' which have been corrupted by an increasingly dissolute society).

With a "St. Pedanticaya Namah", I rest my piece in (lower) case and sign off with Word's funkiest message to creation:

You see, the whole system of the country is juxtapositioned by the haemoglobin in the atmosphere because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity!
:: Anthony Gonsalves
or alternately:
iske ##differential## me.n lafaDaa hai! gaaDii nahii.n chale.Ngaa.
:: James D'Costa

1 comment:

Abhishek said...

@repeated insinuation : There is this theory in Hindu myth about how if you hold on to a bhakta's leg while you're trying to kill him, and if both of you die - then you'll get mukti first because you're holding on to a bhakta's leg.

I personally have never been able to follow the log,(should i say lord? ;P) and since you do, by holding on to your e-leg I hope to achieve pardon, reprieve and some extra on the top from the lord of computational linguistics. Anyway, the guys from the Log are less computational and more linguists so in a way I will still stubbornly label you with that seemingly unfair tag. Or should I say token?

Now only if you'd not written that into-parentheses (lower) we could've spared all the those horrid puns you've made over the ages - for you show a certain rare return to top-notch blogging form. If I prompted that, I'm more than happy to take a bow.