LINGUIST List 5.1028

Thu 22 Sep 1994

FYI: Fun: Singalong

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  1. Max Copperman, Fun: "If I Only Had a Brain"

Message 1: Fun: "If I Only Had a Brain"

Date: Wed, 21 Sep 1994 19:21:08 Fun: "If I Only Had a Brain"
From: Max Copperman <>
Subject: Fun: "If I Only Had a Brain"

Take a moment and recall the song the Scarecrow sings in the
Wizard of Oz, "If I Only Had A Brain". I give you some of the
original lyrics as a memory aid. New lyrics follow and may
amuse you.

The Scarecrow:

"I could while away the hours
 conferrin' with the flowers
 consultin' with the rain.

 And my head I'd be scratchin'
 while my thought are busy hatchin'
 if I only had a brain

 Oh I ... could tell you why ....
 the ocean's near the shore.
 I could think of things I never thought before
 And then I'd sit ... and think some more"

And of course some of the Cowardly Lion's contribution:

"I'm afraid there's no denyin'
 I'm just a dandelion,
 a fate I don't deserve.

 But I could show my prowess,
 Be a lion not a mowess,
 if I only had the nerve"

The title of what follows should go here, but I don't yet have one.
Suggestions are welcome.

To the tune of "If I Only Had A Brain":

I could parse a great long sentence,
Devoid of all repentence,
Into a bunch of trees.

But I'd have to have a grammar
to distinguish talk from yammer-
Could you dish me up one please?

Like some fine linguistics teachers
I could unify the features
in exponential time.

I could start it up in Summer,
still not finished? what a bummer,
`cause now Spring is in its prime.

Now, disambiguation
is a full-time occupation
requiring common sense.

But perhaps we can finesse it
if we count how often "Cabinet"
occurs close to "Presidents".

The antics of pedantics
in truth-valued semantics
are wonderful no doubt.

The temperature is ninety
and it's rising and `gor blimey
they can make it all come out.

Oh I ... could ask you why ...
which won't evaluate to false or true
a little fact that tends to make me blue
so what the heck ... am I to do?

The schwa and diphthong daze me
but phonologists amaze me---
they know the sounds by name.

They can really show their prowess,
show it doesn't rhyme with mou-ess,
cause the vowel's not the same.

If you try machine translation
you must do generation
it's harder than you think

So you want to utter "spinach"
there`s no word for it in Finnish
It could drive a man to drink

You can find stems with a stemmer
and derive forms from a lemma
at word assembly time.

Morphology is useful,
in fact, it's quite produceful
when you want to make a rhyme.

Without linguistic informations
you get odd combinations
from a speech recognizerb.

I could maybe get a sentence,
make a guess at what he meantence
if I only had a verb.

Anaph'ra resolution
takes a discourse based solution
but they all seem to be cursed.

Is `she' Sue? Is `there' Missoula?
We can't answer "What's `it' to ya?"
let alone do "who's on first"

You will have to do coercions
Any NP may have versions
that come along for free.

"Do you have all of Shakespeare?"
"We have all except his left ear."
Everywhere metonymy.

All the donkey beating owners
beat their own but don't beat loaners,
as they must do, of course.

Donkey owners can distinguish
theirs from others' while the linguists
keep on beating a dead horse.

Markov models, word based bigrams,
PSG's and their tree diagrams,
it's too much to explain.

Whether rules or statistics
would I really do linguistics
if I only had a brain?
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