2018 Conferences in Nerdolinguistics SpecGram Vol CLXXXI, No 1 Contents What Is Sil Doing?—Silvestre Ninelette


It is with great sadness that we report that Velma Hortensia Schleppengruber passed away last week at the age of 37. Ms Schleppengruber was a legendary figure among laboratory phoneticians as perhaps the most cited subject in the history of instrumental phonetics, though her participation was not limited to that field. Among her most famous appearances in the linguistic literature are the following:

Phoneticians around the world expressed their sorrow at her passing. “She was always friendly and eager to help the cause of science,” reported Hans Schnittpunkt, Professor of Phonetics. “It is truly a shame that data never eventuated.” Added Arthur King-Key, “She really forced us to up our game. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong when she showed up.” Assistant Professor Ivana Long-Johnson expressed her condolences to the Schleppengruber family and shared her reminiscences, “I remember introducing myself to her and hearing the only words she ever spoke to me, ‘You actually chose that name yourself when you married?’”

The sentiments of the laboratory phonetics community were best expressed by Karen Bolognese-Parmesan, Director of the Jacob Hentiade Child Phonetics Laboratory, who stated, “Velma was an object lesson for all our staff, not to mention researchers around the world, for she represented the irreducible human element no experiment can ever fully exclude. It was a joke in our lab that whenever a grad student got too cocky, we’d make sure she was in the candidate pool. Many tried to get data from her but none succeeded, and all were the better for the experience.”

In her memory, the American Phonetics Association has rushed into press a volume in tribute to her, Always a Candidate, Never a Subject: The Complete Phonetic Studies of Velma Hortensia Schleppengruber, containing the 67 phonetic studies in which she participated, which represent all the major research trends and many of the significant results of instrumental phonetics throughout the 37 years of her life. It has already been slated for use in graduate phonetics classes in a variety of subfields in programs around the world, and has been made the centerpiece of laboratory practicums in several phonetics laboratories.

2018 Conferences in Nerdolinguistics
What Is Sil Doing?Silvestre Ninelette
SpecGram Vol CLXXXI, No 1 Contents