Dear Editors of Speculative Grammarian,
I have just finished Trent Slater’s recent article on the impossibility of translation. (Well, to be honest, I read a bootleg Basque translation of it. I was travelling in Spain and couldn’t wait until I got home to read the February issue of SpecGram.) While I agree with both his premise and his conclusion, I have to take issue with the bit in the middle. In particular, he writes:
In English ... while farmers raise “pigs,” we eat “pork, bacon, sausages and scratchings.”
I’m not sure where Prof. Slater hails from, but here in the civilized parts of the English-
First, we cannot condone either the creation or use of unauthorized bootlegs of our journal. For shame. On a side note, when in Spain, we find the Catalan bootleg translations of SpecGram to be superior to the Basque. The Basque bootlegs are better for physics journals, though.
Second, we also generally agree with Prof. Slater’s conclusions, but must remain culinarily neutral on the question of scratchi... We have no real opinion on the example he cho... ideas are more important than examples, and scrat... Blbllllaarrrrraargghggggghg!
I just recently learned of the technical linguistics jargon term “snowclone”. I didn’t know there was a word for that. What is there not a word for yet?
Of course there are things for which there are no words, but how are we supposed to tell you about them?
Think about it. Duh.
In response to a letter to the editor last year, both “theolinguistics” and “theo-
Ugh. We were hoping no one would notice that. There is a major schism in the field of /θiolɪŋɡwɪstɪks/ over the question of whether the hyphen should be included or not. Much of our low-
Speculative Grammarian accepts well-
I think I may have discovered an unexpected allomorph of the so-
I wish he could get his /ʔːː/ act together.
That’s a glottal stop held for a fraction of a second. I laughed and said that pause was as filled with vitriol as if she had used the “f-bomb”. She laughed and said that that had been exactly what she was thinking when she made the pause.
At a bar a few days later, I heard some misogynistic frat boys discussing some co-
I want to /ʔːː/ her brains out.
Both I and the speaker’s friends knew exactly what he meant, though our reactions were quite different.
Later, as I pondered this data, I recalled an event from my childhood. My foul-
The little mother-
Though I didn’t understand him at the time, my older brother laughed under his breath and my mother gave Uncle Maynard the same dirty look she usually did when he swore.
As a linguist, I’m wrestling with how to analyze these utterances. Is /ʔːː/ an especially aggressively minced oath, like “fricking”, but taken to some phonetically reductionist extreme? Is it a null or nearly-
Language, Boletín de Lingüística, IJES, Investigationes Linguisticae, Lecturae Tropatorum, Llengua Societat i Comunicació, Lexicometrica, and Computational Linguistics have all refused to answer my letters.
This is my most desperate hour. Help me, SpecGram; you’re my only hope.
Ah, you have re-
Given the current linguistic political climate, we dare not make any pronouncements on the proper morphological or syntactic analysis of the phenomena you describe involving -ing and -er, for fear of being disparagingly and distractingly labelled (anti-)
However, we would love to share some interesting phonetic data with you. Despite the staid
You might not believe that a nasalized, creaky-
PS: “misogynistic frat boy” is redundant, much like “unmarried bachelor”.