Mark Liberman at Language Log posted William Matthews’ “four subjects of poetry” which were read on NPR this past weekend.
- I went out into the woods today, and it made me feel, you know, sort of religious.
- We’re not getting any younger.
- It sure is cold and lonely (a) without you, honey, or (b) with you, honey.
- Sadness seems but the other side of the coin of happiness, and vice versa, and in any case the coin is too soon spent, and on what we know not what.
This then inspired Roger Shuy to write up the “four subjects of linguistic analysis,” and now this post picks up the meme for anthropological research:
- These people are really, really, oppressed, but look! They have agency!
- Identity is political and transcends national boundaries.
- These people used to have a tradition, but they’ve adapted it to better fit with their current lifestyle and now it is a different tradition.
- There are no signifieds, only an endless chain of signifiers representing the illusion of self resulting from desire-as-lack.
Feel free to suggest alternative lists.