June 22, 2007

Talking without nouns, verbs or adjectives

According to William Katz, formerly a writer and "talent coordinator" for the Tonight Show, who has contributed a series of reminiscences to the PowerLine blog:

My most memorable pre-interview was with Jane Wyman, who'd been married, of course, to Ronald Reagan. Reagan was governor at the time, and Jane's only stipulation was that he not be discussed. I spoke with her by phone for an hour. What came through was her wonderful, musical voice – she'd started as a singer – and her clear-headed intelligence. During that hour, she never made a grammatical error, and spoke in complete sentences – nouns, verbs, adjectives, all the stuff performers today don't use. She was a marvelous conversationalist. Like many stars from film's golden age, she knew how to be interviewed, and knew it was part of the job. I can understand why Reagan admired her. [emphasis added]

A few years ago, we learned about Michel Thaler's novel without verbs ("The verbless of the earth", 5/12/2007), and speculated about writing without nouns ("Writing verblessly is so jejeune!", 5/13/2007), and "Writing without adjectives" (5/13/2007).

But without any of them? And now they all don't? Wow!

[Hat tip to David Donnell]

Posted by Mark Liberman at June 22, 2007 05:06 PM