The Gift of Language—The SpecGram Christmas Elves™ SpecGram Vol CLXXXVI, No 2 Contents University News

Letters to the Editor


Mes chers eds,

Mes amis, I note with distress the unedited abuse committed on the Franglais language by your recent correspondent, Sign Up The Trees O’Soufflé, who rants most uncharmingly about perceived Hellenic oversights on your part.

“In an error more grave than imposing a fleur-de-lis on the Tricolore, he is guilty of a grave abuse of the Franglais tongue...”

Oh la ironie! In an error more grave than imposing a fleur-de-lis on the Tricolore, Synope himself is guilty of a grave abuse of the Franglais tongueas are yourselves for permitting this. To wit, in respect of his phrase passé issues, it should be clear to even the most naïve of editors that in choosing to select an adjective of French origin to modify the noun, this adjective should, at the very least, carry with it the appropriate agreement morphology (here plural), while some (myself included) would argue that it should also retain its syntax, i.e. be post-nominal. Sigh Nope To Trees has demorphologised and desyntacticised his French-origin lexeme and is thus guilty of the non-remorphsyntacticisation. Une crime capitale, n’est-ce pas?

In short, we should have seen passés issues if not issues passés. Please amend and apologise.

In these times of Anglo-EU discord, I feel more should be done by responsible academicians such as yourselves to ensure appropriate respect to the Franglais language. J’attends avec impatience votre résponse.

Vive la Tricolor d’Union Jacques!
Prof Frank LeFranc
Académie Franglais

✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢

Cher DeFunct,

Let us be frank: allez-vous en.

Sincèrement, —Les Eds.

❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

Dear Eds,

I concur fully with your recent, excellent editorial from one of the many Keith Slaters; it’s at least my 27th favourite feature of SpecGram,1 that, to use that particular Keith Slater’s words, ‘multiple Keith Slater authors ... entertain [us] with a variety of areas of expertise.’

That said, I should add that it can be a trifle discombobulating when, on opening a particular article by, say, Trey Jones, and expecting this to be Trey Jones the social commentator (for example), one is actually confronted with an article by Trey Jones the alleged computational linguist. This can surprise and titillate, but equally can disappoint and disorient.

“This can surprise and titillate, but equally can disappoint and disorient.”

I’m wondering, therefore, whether a disambiguating system for your cohort of authors might be in order. Perhaps a system of annotations based on role or ‘hat’ worn for a given article; or, instead, a day of the week on which or mood in which the author wrote the piece. This might yield [Deak Kirkham [Monday; excited]] or [Mikael Thompson [third Sunday before Advent; pensive]].2 Such a system, while adhering to the Slaterian philosophy of your editorial, might also enhance reader experience.

Allow me to add that in my professional capacity as an Onomastic Analyst, I have devised such systems for the House of Windsor, the Pentagon, and Mrs Crimple’s Bakery (a quaint, retro artisanal dough-house at the end of my street). I would be more than happy to be solicited by SpecGram for an initial consultation charged at $750.

With best wishes,
Holbrooke MacTinosh III
MacTinosh Onomastic Analytics
Greyrain Industrial Estate Unit 451
Pickleton
Burpshire, UK


1 Although in fairness it is my wife’s 56th favorite feature, and my daughter’s -3rd.

2 Italics and square brackets formalism adapted from the 3rd Shostakovich (International) system.


✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢

Dear Tosh,

It just so happens that the SpecGram UK Office is at 372 Greyrain Industrial Estate. We suggest popping over a week on Tuesday to decline your offer. Does that work for you?

—Eds.

❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

Dear Editors,

As a long-time reader of your publication, I would like to give you some feedback that I think you sorely need.

Frankly, your articles make me feel like a pair of brown shoes with a black tuxedo sometimes. It’s like the one time I went to a public lecture by Jacques Derridahe used only one language, but it was not my own; I knew all the words but when he put them together I could tell he was talking about something else entirely, and I had no idea what it was.

“Your articles make me feel like a pair of brown shoes with a black tuxedo sometimes.”

Your publication suffers from this same tendency. Apart from the words absolutely none of my friends even recognize (I’m looking at you, ergativity), even the normal vocabulary you use seems to have been soaked in some kind of obscurance solution, and it makes no sense at all. I get the sense that your entire publication is just a bunch of inside jokes.

Please do something about this problem, so us normal people can enjoy your scholarship as much as you seem to enjoy it yourselves.

Sincerely,
Leon Lionheart

✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢ ✢

Dear Leon,

Thanks for your letter. We want to assure you that you are precisely the audience we have in mind. Nothing will change.

—Eds.

❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

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 Gift of LanguageThe SpecGram Christmas Elves™
University News
SpecGram Vol CLXXXVI, No 2 Contents