VSOP: The New Order

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This is the trailer for a hypothetical mockumentary about language word order change.

DR. BRTFNKL:[1] One influence on languages' basic word order is the brain's relative speed in recalling the agent, action, patient, and TAM of an event. This has at times been interpreted as a subject-object-verb language of thought (SOVLOT).[2]

Background music begins: "Drug Ballad"[3]

ANNOUNCER: In a world where even the water is full of drugs...

VIEWER #1: Oh wait that's right here.[4]

ANNOUNCER: ...what they drink changes how they talk.

CHESTER (with raised hand): Ms. Swiftbottom, was Lottie me poking.

LOTTIE (pointing): Had you it started.

MS. SWIFTBOTTOM: I've seen more kids come in with their words jumbled up. They start with the helping verb and don't say the main verb until the end.

MS. TANGLETON: They seem to know when and who did something to whom before they can put a name on what's happening.

ANNOUNCER: It starts with an auxiliary, and it starts at home.

MR. PENNELLY: We bring in these kids' parents for parent-teacher conferences, and what do we find? Have been most of 'em liquor drinking ... Oops, now got they me it doing.

MS. TANGLETON: The one thing we've found in common is brandy. Five-year-old brandy.


DR. BRTFNKL: VSOP. Conjugated verb, subject, object, then predicate last. A mix of alcohol and substances soaked from the barrel change how mom and dad produce language, and their kids just think that's the normal way to talk.

MR. PENNELLY: Is it something to fix? Or do we just the new normal accept?

ANNOUNCER: V.S.O.P. The New Order.


  1. [ˈbɜ˞t̚.fŋ̩.kl̴̩], roughly "Bertfinkle". Family comes from where syllabic nasals and liquids are more common than vowels.
  2. "Representation, information theory and basic word order" by Luke Maurits
  3. "We used to mix Hen with Bacardi Dark / And when it kicks in you can hardly talk"
  4. "The Complicated Question of Drugs in the Water" by Leigh Boerner

External links