By Alex and Ilene Gross

A Seminar on Qwert Culture
By Three Eminent Linguists

Representing the Theories of Benjamin Lee Whorf,
Noam Chomsky, and Kenneth Lee Pike

Whorfian: Well, gentlemen, I hope we can all reach some sort of agreement on this topic.

Chomskian: I'm sure we can. The deep structure of the Qwert language couldn't possibly be more obvious.

Pikean: I've seen many such examples in the field. But it really is shocking how far from God they are.

Chomskian: Now don't start on that! How many cultures have you already destroyed with your methods?

Pikean: We haven't destroyed anyone! We've brought them to Christ!

Whorfian: Now gentlemen, gentlemen, please. Let's forget ideology and simply examine the Qwert vocabulary.

Chomskian: Yes, gladly. It proves once and for all the existence of universal grammar.

Whorfian: Hold on, I wouldn't go so far as to say that. In fact, I think it proves my thesis beyond any doubt, that all societies and cultures are deeply influenced by the language they speak.

Pikean: Nonsense! It's easy to change these Qwert! It's easy to change any language, any society, any culture. All you have to do is convert them to Christianity!

Chomskian: You filthy imperialist! You stooge of the capitalists! All you want to do is convert them to the market economy!

Whorfian: Please, gentlemen...

Pikean: No! I fully intend to convert them to God!

Chomskian: That's utterly ridiculous!

Pikean: It couldn't be easier! All I have to do is translate the Bible into Qwert!

Chomskian: That's totally ludicrous!

Whorfian: It's totally impossible!

Pikean: No, it isn't! I've translated the Bible into a lot of languages that are harder than Qwert! Now in Brazil...

Whorfian: But why do you want to do this?

Pikean: That's perfectly obvious! Tell me, did you see any sign that those creatures have even heard of Christ? Much less heard his message?

Chomskian: All the better for them! These people speak a truly pure and primal language, and what we need to do is to study it, not wipe it out!

Whorfian: I disagree that it is in any way primal. It is simply the way they happen to speak. It can change, it probably has changed...

Pikean: Well, that's a bit closer to my position. You see, you have to distinguish between the "emic" and the "etic." The emic is the way they see things and can differ from ours, the etic is the way we see them. That's true tagmemics.

Chomskian: Your vocabulary is utterly stupid! What we have here is a perfect example of transformational innateness, poverty of stimulus, prestructural competence, it's as though they had all been raised by wolves...

Whorfian: Excuse me, there are no "wolves" in Qwert culture. It is a concept totally outside their understanding, even their spelling ability...

Chomskian: True, they have no wolves, but they have the Qwerty...

Pikean: Ah, the Qwerty! Yes, the Qwerty! Absolute proof that they live in a pre-Christian domain. Human sacrifice! Abraham and Isaac...!

Whorfian: You can't jump to conclusions like that! And you can't compare cultures that easily! Every culture is different! And so is every language!

Chomskian: Nonsense! Every language is connected by universal grammar!

Pikean: Ridiculous! All languages are unified in Christ!

Whorfian: Gentlemen, I think we'd better take a break... Shall we start over again tomorrow?

Pikean: Tomorrow! Why God created the universe in seven days!

Chomskian: Tomorrow is fine with me. I need to prepare some diagrams on Qwert deep structure.

Whorfian: Good. Then we're agreed.

Pikean: Not really...

Whorfian: Tomorrow.

Chomskian: Yes, tomorrow.

Pikean: Alright, tomorrow...

Whorfian: Thank you, gentlemen.

The status of this book:
although a major publisher at one point
came remarkably close to including
QWERTYUIOP in their list,
they finally changed their mind. While
a few revisions are in order,
its 86 pages are still ready and waiting
for the right publisher.

You can see some examples
of Ilene's art work as a computer artist
by clicking

These excerpts and drawings are
Copyright © 2000 by Alexander Gross and
Ilene Astrahans Gross. They
may be reproduced for individuals and for
educational purposes only. They may
not be used for any commercial (i.e.,
money-making) purpose without
written permission from the author.
All Rights Reserved.

to top
to language menu
to linguistics menu
to home