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Introduction to Linguistics Study Guide

A Rough Draft

Laura and her classmate Anna, both linguistics majors, are collaborating on a senior project this year, which will take the form of a study guide for students in Linguistics 101. Collaborating on a senior project is unorthodox at their institution of higher learning, and there were some worries in the proposal stage that the workload would be unbalanced; thus, they have endeavored to prove their commitment to equal partnership the only way they know how: by alternating words.


The best way of studying linguistics is to open the book of linguistics and read it. In the book there are many different ways of saying the same thing. Therefore the book is less useful than you might think. So if you would read it, then you should not pay very much money for it. Our intent is quite different from the average textbook. Instead we decided to take a different approach, and we focus mostly on things that don't have any value. We think our textbook is definitely, certainly the best and greatest on the shelves today. In fact, we have the honor of announcing our intention to marry this textbook. We hope to be recognized for our contributions to the field someday, but we remain skeptical.


Phonetics is the science of speech. It is primarily a classification system of the speech sounds in any language. For your information, speech sounds are very easy to learn if you have multilingual parents; therefore, if you do not have multilingual parents, reconsider studying linguistics.


Welcome to the study of phonology. Seriously, it is a terribly exciting field of study and we greatly admire it. In phonology, one analyzes the data from various languages and constructs a series of increasingly complicated explanations. One must always remember to not become too enamored with one's own genius, unless one's genius is correct. Unfortunately, phonology is very cruel to first year linguistics students and also to all linguistics people.


Morphology consists of various little details, none of which are at all consequential. If you think morphology is a useful science, then you are hideously completely misinformed. To solve problems in morphology, you must ignore all reason and intuition. However, if you listen to Professor Snodgrass, you will discovery that all the answers lie within your grasp assuming you can make Professor Snodgrass tell you them.


Syntax has many facets which are contradictory. When you approach syntactic data, consider that shooting one's gun at oneself is preferable to taking a final.


Semantics is conceptually impossible without the use of heavy machinery. Specifically, a tractor with automatic transmission and linguistic problem-solving capabilities. I personally own three such contraptions which are in use by me whenever semantics becomes a threat. If the store does not have a tractor of such a description, then you may wish to construct one.


Students find that pragmatics is non-intuitive, but can be persuaded to understand them with the use of a highly trained pragmatics monkeys. Once upon a time, I had a monkey but it decided to take a dose of my hair gel instead of the usual medication. This turned the monkey into a monkey that loves style. In retrospect, this may have been a wonderful story, if I hadn't gone and left the point way behind. I violated several monkeys -- maybe even a chimpanzee was harmed. I am heartily retarded for eating my hair gel, so the point of this story is that I'm a monkey.


In reading this tome of linguistics, you received the basics of linguistics study. In worshipping Professor Snodgrass, you have received gifts far surpassing those bestowable upon a lesser being. Congratulations, you have recieved level 15 linguistics student classification. With this classification you may officially conduct personal correspondence on many topics with all people, provided you don't send them letter bombs. That cautionary note applies to those of you who cheated on the quizzes in this book with other quizzes. Frankly, they are inferior to the intricate perfections that exist only here, and you have been very lucky that you were allowed to experience them firsthand. If I were to characterize this book as sheer wonderfulness, it would not be overstatement. In conclusion, cupcakes, monkeys and tractors are useful in studying, not just linguistics, but all manner of various human conditions. For example, heart attacks.


- Laura