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lit

Lit / Quang Phúc Ðông & pornolinguistics

As I poked around new-ish social net­work­ing sites tar­get­ed at wordy peo­ple (Library Thing — con­nect­ing through lists of books) and (Wordie — lists of words), I came across a ref­er­ence to a satir­i­cal paper enti­tled Eng­lish Sen­tences With­out Overt Gram­mat­i­cal Sub­jects.1 The paper's author is list­ed as Quang Phúc Ãông of the South Hanoi Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy. As it turns out, the Insti­tute is fic­tion­al and the author's name is a nom de plume of a for­mer Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go lin­guis­tics pro­fes­sor James D. McCaw­ley. This makes sense because the paper is both rig­or­ous­ly argued and pen­e­trat­ing­ly absurd (no pun intend­ed; okay, it was). The Wikipedia entry for scat­olin­guis­tics (also known as "porno­lin­guis­tics") cred­its him with invent­ing the field, the "study (includ­ing ety­mol­o­gy and cur­rent usage) of all rude and pro­fane expres­sions." In any case, there's lots of stuff worth explor­ing fur­ther:

1 I post­ed the paper on my site because the cur­rent web pub­li­ca­tion appears to be part of a mid-90's‑era email thread, and is there­fore rather unfor­mat­ted. I post­ed it here to opti­mize for eas­i­er read­ing on the screen.