Sang til Helge Dyvik

I am the Very Model of an LFG Grammarian

(Av Koenraad De Smedt, basert på Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General’)


I am the very model of an LFG grammarian,
In matters of linguistics I am known to be contrarian,
I know well that Hungarian is different from Tocharian,
But soon I’ll be emeritus and septuagenarian.

I teach my students every aspect of linguistics general,
I don’t believe in transformations totally conjectural,
I know each language living, dying, dead or close to burial,
And meanings metaphorical or literal — or trivial.

I am the very model of a lexical semanticist,
A field in which I’m proud to say I’ve been a noted strategist,
I know of word translations and of their alignment frequency,
I use semantic mirrors, I dare say without indecency.

I studied Latin well and also know Old Norse philology,
Yes, I can read a stick with runes and find its true chronology,
I made Norwegian treebanks thanks to digital technology,
But soon I’ll be a subject in research on gerontology.

I am the very model of a linguist computational,
I do account for every sentence structure observational,
I am a walking lexicon of words etymological,
I know their features and their corpus patterns collocational.

I’m very well acquainted, too, with everything statistical,
I use computers, yes, I know, it’s rather masochistical,
I store all word occurrences in an array indexical,
And disambiguate the homonyms semantolexical.

I am the very model of a corpus statistician.
Just give me data, lots of data, preferably a billion,
I see all words in fluffy clouds with normative analysis,
And draw a lattice striking all my critics with paralysis.

I make a language model where I tweak sixteen parameters,
I write poetic lines in iambic perfect rhyme octameters,
I like a pun, a quip, a pleasantry, a funny witticism,
I’m not afraid of parody — of course, devoid of criticism.

(repeat first verse)