Vision on P vs. NP

🕑 3 min • 👤 Thomas Graf • 📆 July 03, 2019 in Discussions • 🏷 fun allowed, complexity theory

Come and listen to the Vision of the Avengers, who has saved this planet thirty-seven times. Listen to his story of P vs. NP. No, seriously, the following is an excerpt on complexity theory from Tom King’s Vision.


Continue reading

Who watches the NEG-raisers?

🕑 2 min • 👤 Thomas Graf • 📆 June 13, 2019 in Discussions • 🏷 fun allowed, negative concord, NEG raising

I reread Alan Moore’s Watchmen today. Still amazing, not one bit overrated, and whenever I pick it up I can’t help but finish it in one sitting. But did you know that Watchmen actually challenges the very foundations of syntactic theory?


Continue reading

Beeing a linguist

🕑 1 min • 👤 Thomas Graf • 📆 May 22, 2019 in Discussions • 🏷 fun allowed

Continuing yesterday’s theme of having fun, here’s a highly, highly accurate typology of our field in picture form.


Continue reading

A song of middles and suffixes

🕑 3 min • 👤 Thomas Graf • 📆 May 21, 2019 in Discussions • 🏷 phonology, subregular, strictly local, fun allowed

Am I the only one who’s worn out by the total lack of fun and playfulness in all public matters? Everything is serious business, everything is one word away from a shit storm, everybody has to be proper and professional all the time, no fun allowed. It’s the decade of buzzkills, killjoys, and sourpusses. Linguistics is very much in line with this unfortunate trend. Gone are the days of Norbert Hornstein dressing up as Nim Chimpsky. It is unthinkable to publish a paper under the pseudonym Quang Phuc Dong (that’s at least a micro-aggression, if not worse). Even a tongue-in-cheek post on Faculty of Language is immediately under suspicion of being dismissive. Should have added that /s tag to spell it out.

Compared to other fields, linguistics has never been all that playful, perhaps because we’re already afraid of not being taken seriously by other fields. But we’ve had one proud torch bearer in this respect: Geoff Pullum. His Topic… comment column should be mandatory grad school reading. Formal Linguistics Meets the Boojum is a classic for the ages (and did, of course, get a very proper and professional response). My personal favorite is his poetic take on the Halting problem. So I figured instead of complaining I’d lead by example and inject some fun of my own. To be honest, I’m probably better at complaining, but here we go…


Continue reading