There have been a surprising number of early registrants for the SpecGram 2020 conference following our announcement in last month’s issue of SpecGram. The specific number of registrants, eπ/2 + 1, is surprising because it is irrational. Of course, many linguists in general and SpecGram devotees in particular are irrational
Subsequent to the revelation of the surprisal of this registration event (i.e., ~2.538656698 bits) a whole, rational number of additional rational speakers have submitted abstracts to the conference, and the most rationally multiplicative have been approved.
As ever we offer a sardine tin–
A list of our new speakers follows.
Professor Douglas D. ‘D-Mo’ McDougall-O’Doherty
Affiliation: Department of Dictaphony, University of Deep Donegal
Bio: Professor D-Mo is widely regarded but usually from afar. His regardments and, latterly, regardworthinesses derive from his pioneering use of the dictaphone in all manner of applied linguistics contexts.
Title: Double D Dictaphone
Abstract: The dictaphone has been co-opted, applied, re-imagined and post-
hoc retro- implicated in a variety of applied linguistic contexts both contextual and otherwise. This overview, state- of- the- art talk situates the use of the dictaphone historically in the field of applied linguistics, before introducing a novel application of the device in relation to parental mismanagement of children’s antisocial public misbehaviour.
Lev. T. Handid (with assistance from Zinn E. Starr and Dexter Russ)
Affiliation: Handy Hands Inc
Bio: As a life-
long leftist, both politically and handedly, Lev. T. Handid co-founded the social enterprise Handy Hands to promote the rights and the lefts of the left- handed community.
Title: Not left out
— left in! Towards an egalitarian and handedly- inclusive orthography
Abstract: Motivated by Wright’s (2009) famous slogan ‘The rites of
— and right to — write not right’, we present results from field testing of a series of practical proposals to provide left- handed individuals (‘Lindividuals’) with alternative orthographic modalities that both value their leftedness per se and avoid smudging. Inspired by Leftbridge’s (2015) The Left Bridge and Vincent ‘Lofty’ Ryte’s recent Left to Write workshop series (symbolically delivered at locations down the left coast of America), we resist the hegemony of left- to- right orthography in the Anglophone world and propose a range of field- tested alternative orthographic formatings including Spiral Writing, Column Writing, Smoke Signals, One- Word- Each- Line (O-WEL) and Refusal to Write. Results from schools, the workplace, prisons and non- literate societies suggest that a range of health benefits, including increased height and shoe size, can accrue to individuals of any handedness in orthographically left- friendly organisations.
Affiliation: Discount Post-
graduate School, University of The Sticks
Title: Is the conference in a nice location?
Abstract: Because my last one was in this pokey town and I ended up staying with Bob from the syntax section. I am NOT doing that again! And, like, is the food free? A man gotta eat, you know. And I can’t live for too long on the stuff they have here, heck no. It’s all beige stuff on sticks and cold pizza. Hold on. I don’t think this is the contact form, bud. OK. OK. We got this. Just down that beer and tell them about your great research idea. You got this!
Right. My research is totes on FYAH! My question is this: do blondes say different stuff to brunettes when I get out my guns. Like, I spend hours flexing. Watch. So, I was thinking, talking of stimulus and utterances and guff like that, maybe blondes right, they’re gonna go “whoa man, great guns. You wanna grab a coffee or something?” But brunettes, like, they’re totally different. They’ll all be like “hey, do you work out?” And I’ll be like “yeah! You wanna go eat pizza?” And it’ll be off the hook, man, right? Proper pragmatics, that is, right?
Say, you couldn’t sponsor my visa and let me crash for the conference, could you?
Zeuglemunt von Applecrasher FRSM
Affiliation: Royal Philharmonic Spoonestra of Cornwall and the Isles
Bio: Fascinated by the tambourine from an early age, Zeuglemunt swiftly gained expertise in the hand-
held percussion instruments in his adolescence before becoming entranced by the zither whilst on a visit to Mount Athos. Only later in life did Zeuglemunt encounter the spoons for which he has now become famous.
Title: The spoons in my collection go clinketty-
clanketty ... speak!
Abstract: This presentation (and performance!) will argue (and showcase!) that the spoons as a musical instrument, when played in a certain manner, possess all the properties of natural language
— and then some! After an initial conversational performance with the assistance of his assistants Sven and Gurt, von Applecrasher will demonstrate that spoon- playing can be executed such that all of Greenberg’s features of language are manifested, along with specific structural properties such as recursion and long- distance dependencies. Finally, by playing the spoons closer to and further away from the listener, as well as in different locations in the performance space, von Applecrasher will demonstrate that spoon- playing is as richly influenced by, and sensitive to, such cognitive qualities as construal and foregrounding as is natural language. The linguistic nuances and complexity of the spoons effectively opens up a fourth medium for the transmission of human language alongside the phonic, graphic and gestural modes.
Gordon “The Gecko” Boesky
Affiliation: Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe, LLC
Bio: After achieving international fame and success with his slogan, “Greed is [+good]”, Gordon Boesky paid a record $100M fine and spent 8 years in federal prison for inappropriate use of insider trade language. Since his release, he has become a much sought-
after speaker and author.
Lexicalism: The Art of Lexical Similarity Expense Hacking to Make Your Job Pay Big Dividends
Abstract: In this linguistics-
themed hands-on workshop, The Gecko reveals his secret formula for fisco- lexical success, teaching you to cleverly map the jargon of your field onto the objects of your desire — in a way that allows you to request reimbursement from your department. You can start small and manifest your interest in Gricean principles as a subscription to your favorite men’s magazine. Or you can go for the [+brass] ring and justify a cruise from St. Maarten to Cozumel based on your work on wh-movement violations in Haitian Creole, Papiamentu, and Iñeri.
Space for this talk is limited. A $25,000 per-
seat fee applies.
Affiliation: Independent Practitioner and Scholar
Title: Analytic Philosophy of Language and Mental Salubrity: A Match Made in Heaven Not of This Earth
Abstract: While analytic philosophers of language have made valiant efforts having clear Freudian roots to clarify the exact set of logical constraints involved in the use of human language, the basic model of their entire enterprise is laughably idealized and false to fact. Consider, for example, the statement often adduced in discussions of adverbial quantifiers with eventive versus stative predicates, “*When Mary knows French, she knows it very well,” versus “When Mary knows a foreign language, she knows it very well.” The bankruptcy of all previous discussions is summed up in the asterisk, for there are many circumstances in which it is perfectly acceptable. However, all of these circumstances pertain to the actual human condition as opposed to the idealized man-
machines of analytic philosophy. Nor can this issue be subverted in rationalist fashion by such dodges as indexicals referencing each of Mary’s separate personalities, for each personality might know French very well at some times (i.e., when picking up a Parisian stud and/or studette) and not know it at all at other times (like when getting heckled by Parisian dolts) — and the fact that analytic philosophy takes the subjective experience of others as unknowable shows that it has no methodologically acceptable answer to this problem, which in practice is easily circumvented by a psychotherapy session. The view of the human mind on which analytic philosophy of language is based must be scrapped in favor of a more realistic model (as shown by the constant increase throughout the industrialized world of annual expenditures on psychiatric services) of a fragmented human mind with a fragmented language faculty, each mind doing its best to pay the damn mortgage, pay down those damn student loans, and survive, and extend this therapeutic model of linguistic investigation to the academy that needs it most, with benefits (whether material or mental) for all parties involved.