The Modern Reformed Englishican—A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief SpecGram Vol CLXXVI, No 1 Contents /nuz baɪts/

Letters to the Editor

Dear Speculative Grammarian,

After reading Scrugg’s recent “social column” about factionalism among miserable sufferers of latinitis, I feel the need for a good old modern language. So I enrolled in Introductory Italian at my local community college, and I feel much better.

Please refrain from interviewing such badly afflicted people in the future. Leave them to suffer in silence; they may not feel better, but the rest of us will.

Springfield, ON

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Dear Ms. Ella Minnow Peon,

Thank you for your recent missive indicating that you are in fact too constitutionally fragile to continue receiving your monthly installments of Speculative Grammarian. On the advice of our medical interns, we will cancel your subscription immediately. The accounting interns are not very happy about refunding the 18.4 years remaining on your twenty-year prepaid subscriptionthere would almost certainly be floggingsbut the legal interns have indicated that a refund will not be required, according to the details of your subscription fine print. We allowed them to use their quarterly ration of high-fives, for which they will be forever grateful to you.

Sorry you can’t handle the truth! #sorrynotsorry


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Dear Editors of SpecGram,

I’d like to introduce your readers to my ground-breaking new theory of pragmatics, anti­dis­util­iz­ifica­tion­al­ism­ness. Would you like to receive some literature on this subject?

Modulo Votangus
Lake Char­gogg­a­gogg­man­chaugga­gogg­chau­bun­a­gung­a­maugg, Massachusetts

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Dear %,

No need for literature. First, save a tree! Second, the ground over here is already pretty broken. Third, your theory is sufficiently incredible that we can gather everything we need to know about it from context.


Dear Sirs/Ma’ams/Assorted Churls:

I read with mild interest Ass.Ed. Mikael Thompson’s editorial on music as not actually being a very universal language, and while I found it convincing on the whole, I take strong exception to the implications of the following passage: “The vocal cords are physically much the same as bowed violin strings...” I would remind you and your readers that while the basic mathematical description is the same in both cases, in fact the elastoacoustic properties of violin and viola strings are quite different and must not, as in this passage, ever be confused: Violin strings are made from cat’s guts, while it is viola strings that are made from their vocal cords.

Sincerely yours,
Fern Candock Quillwort-Bracken, PhD, FRS
Head of Research,
Organic Acoustics, Ltd.

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Dear Organic Acoustics, Ltd,

You needs to pull your Head of Research out of your Ass of Research.

If you are going to send your lackey Undergrowth Bottlewharf Plumeplant-Thicket McLiar-Pantsor whatever her name wasto try to pull some fallacious folk-etymological wool over someone’s eyes, don’t choose linguists with access to the largest storehouse of etymological knowledge on the planet as your victims. The sheer weight of our collected etymological dictionaries alone is enough to crush your claim to smithereens and your bones to dust.

Catgut was never made from catsthink for a second: they are squirmy, small, and have five pointy ends. Cattle, sheep, goatslarger, easier to catch, less likely to scratch you, and already headed to the slaughterhousethese make good sources of kitgut.

If the elastoacoustic properties of the various viol- stringed instruments are so unpleasant, work it out with your therapist. Don’t put your linguistically infelicitous* baggage on anyone else.


* Also not related to cats, non-cats, felines, un-felines, or anything else the weird little voices in your head may be telling you.

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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.

The Modern Reformed EnglishicanA Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
/nuz baɪts/
SpecGram Vol CLXXVI, No 1 Contents