They Progress So Fast!

Just a cartoon (XKCD), but it speaks to me as a quondam would-be Indo-Europeanist. (Mouseover title: “The worst is the Terrible Twos, when they’re always throwing things and shrieking, ‘forsooth, to bed thou shalt not take me, cur!’”) Thanks, Sven!


  1. David Eddyshaw says

    I hope that the parents seized the opportunity of recording what this child spoke before Proto-Indoeuropean … was it Welsh, Dravidian or KONGO?

  2. @David Eddyshaw. I’m puzzled by your comment, given that Welsh is an Indo-European language. Also, why KONGO in all caps?

  3. David Eddyshaw says
  4. Stu Clayton says

    @Terry K.: Here’s a taster:


    # Glad to see that Welsh, the original speech of all Scotland (except Perth, of course) is represented.

    Shona is good as a surrogate, too, given that we don’t seem to have KONGO, the original speech of all mankind. Something for next year, perhaps. #

  5. David Marjanović says

    Basically, we’ve been mocking this guy and his ilk for twenty years.

  6. Linking to examples of Kongo in all caps doesn’t explain WHY that’s being done.

    (Nor do the links otherwise explain the comment, other than to suggest that it’s a reference to past conversations here, and perhaps humor, in which case I’m not concerned about missing out.)

    Edit to add: Thanks, David Marjanović. I didn’t see your comment till after I wrote the above.

  7. Linking to examples of Kongo in all caps doesn’t explain WHY that’s being done.

    It’s reproducing the all-caps spelling originally perpetrated by a nutter. It’s an in-joke; no one need worry about it if it doesn’t amuse them.

  8. @LanguageHat


  9. Trond Engen says

    the all-caps spelling originally perpetrated by a nutter.

    All-caps and no Hat, if you know the type.

  10. Trond Engen says

    Surely, what babies start out with is pure MERGE. PIE is just a surface manifestation

  11. David Eddyshaw says

    Of course! Obvious now you’ve pointed it out.

  12. Trond Engen says

    As John Emerson once may not have said, every equally well-adjusted pair of twins is a missed opportunity.

  13. Trond Engen says

    Huh? I replied to a comment by V that disappeared, and my comment went right into moderation without a single link or suspicious-looking letter..

  14. Trond Engen says

    Anyway, the missing context is experiments on children’s language acquisiton.

  15. Trond Engen: I deleted it twice, I apologize for that, they both had unfortunate implications, in my opinion. I would like to hear your comment.

  16. Trond Engen says

    Actually both your deleted comments inspired one of mine.

    First ’twas the one about MERGE. I discovered your comment was gone before posting and removed the reference since it stood well alone.

    Then your comment appeared again, and I made the comment about the twins. I may have a higher tolerance for unfortunate implications.

  17. *tries to make implicature joke, gives up*

  18. Trond Engen says

    No jokes about implicatures? That’s telling.

  19. David Eddyshaw says

    Deniable, though.

  20. Trond Engen says

    [Replying to a deleted comment.]

    Yeah, acting gay (unintentionally)… I have a straight male colleague who tells about how he acts stereotypically gay on reflex when surprised. The prime example was the time waiting in line at a men’s toilet when he was pinched in the buttocks, and before he could think he had turned around, leaned his cheek on his shoulder, and started giggling in a thin voice. His male ego would have preferred that he had turned around with a right hook.

    Which, incidentally, is what my wife once did in a similar situation. The perpetrator took a count.

  21. Trond Engen says

    Hey, I keep replying to V, and then he isn’t there.

  22. David Eddyshaw says

    Hmm. Nobody else has ever seen this “V” of yours, Trond.

  23. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?

  24. Trond Engen says

    No, I’m starting to realize that. I’ll check my medication.

    Which, thinking of it, is also entirely imaginary.

  25. Well, for whatever it’s worth, I did briefly see a comment from V. Refreshed and it was gone.

  26. Trond Engen says

    I think this must be the thread where our host left his magician’s Hat. Could V be a rabbit? Does the letter stand for the ears?

  27. Am I the rabbit? Is my gay friend the rabbit? Is the hat the rabbit? Is the Magician the Hat? Is the Hat the magician? (I sound like Bill Bailey now).

  28. Language Hat : we are all the Walrus, in some way :shrug: whatever the fuck that was about 🙂

  29. Fuck it, we all love Bill Bailey.

  30. Can’t argue with that.

  31. David Eddyshaw says

    We are all the Walrus, but only one of us is the VValrus.

  32. I’ll check my medication. … Which, thinking of it, is also entirely imaginary.

    Does real placibo work better than imaginary?

  33. David Eddyshaw says

    Research on this topic is ongoing.

  34. Mousover … with our experimental placebo booster, which I keep in the same bottle.

    Wait … I just went for my Pfizer vaccine booster today. I though it was a different formulation to the original two shots; but no: they said it’s just more of the same dosage.

    Then is this ache in my arm purely psycho-somatic?

  35. Magical misery tour
    How did that exist almost 50 years without me knowing about it?
    Then is this ache in my arm purely psycho-somatic?
    Having differrent / stronger symptoms with the 2nd or 3rd shot is something that happens; my wife had thst, too.

  36. I highly recommend the whole Radio Dinner album; it’s politically incorrect in places, but it makes me howl with laughter whenever I hear it. Those guys were geniuses.

  37. David Marjanović says

    Research on this topic is ongoing.

    I’ve downloaded the paper and will report back.

    Then is this ache in my arm purely psycho-somatic?

    No, why? You’re mounting a strong immune response, and that’s because you’ve been exposed to that epitope in the previous vaccinations.

  38. Christopher Culver says

    Seems a retread of the chapter in Ulysses at the maternity hospital where the language evolves from (how Joyce would depict) early language to progressively later stages of English.

  39. V is the VValrvs.

  40. Le ΛΛorse, c’est ΛΛoi.

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