Please print our reply, attached, to Schkrbtov’s tasteless screed in the next issue’s Letters to the Editor. Thank you kindly, you big strapping editor-man!
My Dearest Ana Mae,
I will do so with words of pleasure on the tip of my tongue. You needn’t worry your pretty little head about anything.
Dear Dr. Schkrbtov,
We find your wording in the utterance, “Sirs, you may have doomed us all” to be emblematic of the inherent gender bias found in both common usage and prescriptivist grammars in English and other languages. Default masculinity should not be the default in any language for an educated and linguistically sophisticated speaker, as you make such forward claims to be.
For shame, for shame.
Ana Mae Sfivelbú-Tay
Executive Vice Chairwoperdaughter
SpecGram Ladies’ Auxiliary
Editorial Committee for
Chivalrous Linguistics Enlightenment
Speculative Grammarian accepts well-written letters commenting on specific articles that appear in this journal or discussing the field of linguistics in general. We also accept poorly-written letters that ramble pointlessly. We reserve the right to ridicule the poorly-written ones and publish the well-written ones... or vice versa, at our discretion.
How many linguists does it take to pick up a box from the ground?
Mr. Macky Teya
Dept. of Linguistics and Name Science
Orvall Oryan School for the Onomastically Challenged
Dear Mr. Knife,
You need at least...
- one armchair theoretician to conceptualize the situation and its desired future outcome
- one typologist to interpret that into its (formal) grammatical equivalent
- one lab assistent to write it down and draw a nice picture of it
- one fieldworker to go out and find an informant who can pronounce what he sees in the picture
- one phonetician to record what the informant says
- another phonetician to listen to the first phonetician’s tape and say, “Hmm, fascinating”
- another typologist who can write a grammar fragment based on the tape’s content
- another fieldworker to find another informant who can make a grammaticality judgement
- and probably several others
It seems unlikely that real linguists would ever get around to actually performing the task, though, unless it’s done as a test in order to elicit a sentence from an informant.