Some Linguistics Humor…then…bed.

Subject: Some Linguistics Humor…then…bed.

Date: Saturday 10/7/06 12:54:00 AM

Music: Bloodhound Gang – Discovery Channel

How do linguists know that all odd numbers (n>2) are prime?

The Historical Linguist

“It is clear that the whole paradigm of odd numbers was originally prime (see, for example, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13). However, certain composite numbers, including 9, have been introduced into the paradigm, probably through borrowing.”

The Structuralist

“While 3 is prime, 5 is prime, and 7 is prime, 9 is not prime; therefore odd and prime are in contrastive distribution and can be used to distinguish morphemes.”

The Corpus Linguist

“3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, and 9 is not prime. Thus, in our corpus, odd numbers are prime at a probability of 0.75”

The Lab Phonetician

“3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime. 9 is not prime (due to an aberration that will disappear after we run more subjects). 11 is prime, 13 is prime…”

The Phonologist

“3 is prime, 5 is prime, and 7 is prime. While 9 does not appear to be prime, if we said it is not prime, we would be missing an important underlying generalization.”

The Autosegmental Phonologist

“Like the other odd numbers, 9 is not underlying specified for the feature [prime], but 9 surfaces as composite because of an [even] feature spread from 8.”

The MIT Linguist

“The assertion that 9 is not prime is not explanatory. It is, at best, descriptive.”

The Minimalist Syntactician

“3 is prime, therefore, by induction, all odd numbers are prime.”

The Functionalist Syntactician

“How can you say that all odd numbers are prime when we have a clear counterexample in the case of 6?”

The Formal Semanticist

“Let the universe of discourse be the natural numbers less than 8…”