May 20, 2006

We proudly announce our new telephone system

We here at Language Log Plaza recognize the need for huge operations like ours to keep pace with the times. Being simple folks, we tend to answer our own phones when they ring. But no more nice guy! From now on if you have serious language problems and try to call our number, you will be greeted by our spanking new automated telephone answering service. Here's what you can look forward to:

(telephone ringing at Language Log Plaza)

Voice: Welcome to Language Log. Your call is important to us and we want to be sure that you talk with the right expert here. Please listen carefully to the following menu:

If you wish to speak with a phonologist, punch 1--but be sure to speak very clearly.

If you is trying to reach one of our grammarian which are here right now, punch 2.

If you wish to speak to a semanticist, punch 3, if you know what I mean.

If you wish to speak to a sociolinguist, punch any variety of numbers.

If you wish to speak to a computational linguist, punch 110100110001110000001100101111010.

If you wish to speak to The Director, punch star.

If you feel that you really need a psycholinguist, hang up, dial 911.

If you wish to make a complaint, punch 0 and tell it to the operator.

If you have the wrong number, hang up and redial the same number.

See how easy this is? Give us a call and see how Language Log can be every bit as efficient as the other large companies and government offices.

Note: We apologize for the fact that so far we haven't figured out how to construct an embedded menu, where our first menu transfers you to another menu, which then transfers you to still another menu. Nor have we developed ways to transfer you to a human operator, who will put you on hold for the standard and obligatory 30 minutes. Our engineers are working on these problems, however, and we plan to have these modern, automated systems in operation within a few months. One day we'll even perfect the way to have recursive menu items redirect you to one of the menus you've already traversed. Now won't that be a great day? We're so proud!

Posted by Roger Shuy at May 20, 2006 03:17 PM