If this is a question that’s never crossed your mind, don’t feel alone. It did come up, however, in a recently published Speculative Grammarian, “the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field [?] of satirical linguistics.” The current issue, for example, has articles on “Linguimericks, Etc.,” “Profuse Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know” (this will go on my reading list obviously), and “It Was a Dark and Stormy Noun.”
But I digress. The article in question, written by F. Ang Bangah (oh the pun of it!), presents musings such as this one:
What languages thought dead live on in the minds and tongues of the living dead? Are there vampires of African or Native American origin who can give first hand accounts of the history and cultural practices of societies of which we have few or no written records? Even vampires only two hundred years old can give valuable insight into dialect shifts and cultural changes that have happened over the course of their lives and deaths.
Well, yes, of course they can. Then Mr. (Dr.?) Bangah makes a radical proposal:
Finally, though some may find the ethics of such propositions questionable, it is not impossible to imagine staving off language death, which so often coincides with the physical death of its speakers, by “turning” the willing among the last few speakers of a language to immortal vampires, giving them time and energy to teach the language to linguists and interested new generations of speakers.
There’s a concept. This idea also opens up a world of possibilities for the positive use of vampires. Now that True Blood has ended, we need something to keep them alive, so to speak. Think of the cooking lessons they could offer. I can imagine episodes of The Undead Chef offering advice on how to roast a haunch of wooly mammoth over a slow fire. Or perhaps we could see exciting competitions with boulders on Neanderthal Ninjas or tense drama following in Dark Shadows’ footsteps on shows like As the Human Turns or The Guiding Maker.
I need guidance myself, though, on how to get the all-things-vampire ball rolling. I think I will write F. Ang at the Vampiric Linguistics Advancement Department (V.L.A.D.) at the University of Ultrasylvania at Erdő-elve for advice on this. After all, he did say “interested parties, including scholars, speakers of endangered languages, and vampiric informants, are welcome to contact me there.” As I do that, I will inquire as to whether he’s answered one of his own questions: “Does the brain structure and linguistic organization of long-term hyper-polyglots who learn and perhaps use languages serially over lifetime-scale time spans differ from those who have had to learn their languages in a matter of mere decades?” I’m dying to know.
Visit Kim Pederson’s blog RatBlurt: Mostly Random Short-Attention-Span Musings