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1. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (57,016 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part ж—The Trouble with NLP. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Please review previously discussed materials as needed. Now that that is taken care of, let us consider why Natural Language Processing (or, its alter-ego, Computational Linguistics) has not been the resounding success regularly predicted by the NLP faithful: ... Up next: Lexicostatistics vs Glottochronology. References, Baeza-Yates, Ricardo and Berthier Ribeiro-Neto (1999). Modern Information Retrieval. Manning, Christopher, and Hinrich Schütze. (1999). Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing. Russell, Stuart J. and Peter Norvig. ... more ] Merch! Book!

2. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (54,663 visits)

Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics. by Trey Jones. As a service to our young and impressionable readers who are considering pursuing a career in linguistics, Speculative Grammarian is pleased to provide the following Gedankenexperiment to help you understand the possibilities and consequences of doing so. For our old and bitter readers who are too far along in their careers to have any real hope of changing the eventual outcome, we provide the following as a cruel reminder of what might have been. Let the adventure begin ... more ] Book!

3. Archives (44,053 visits)

SpecGram Archives. A word from our Senior Archivist, Holger Delbrück: While bringing aging media to the web and hence the world is truly a labor of love, SpecGram tries the passion of even the most ardent admirer. Needless to say, we’ve fallen behind schedule. At every turn, the authors found in the pages of this hallowed journal stretch credibility with their gratuitous font mongeringfirst it was the IPA, then a few non-standard transcription systems, then Greek, and not just the alphabet, but the entire diacritical mess, and now I’ve got some god-forsaken Old Church Slavonic glyph sitting on my desk that no one can even name, and which would give the Unicode Consortium ... more ]

4. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (24,580 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part E—Phonetics vs. Phonology. Hilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. We will skip the introduction, as we have been there, done that. Once more into the breach! For this installment in our series on Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, we will turn our attention to Phonetics and Phonology and the difference between the two: Phonetics:, ... Phonology:, ... Thanks to Professor Phlogiston, of the Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn, for the opportunity of a lifetime, as a student, to, on this occasion, share with so many of my fellow linguisticians my views, as illustrated above, concerning matters, which are of such immeasurable import ... more ] Merch! Book!

5. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart זSynchronic vs. DiachronicPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (20,986 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part ז—Synchronic vs. Diachronic. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. If you have fallen behind, try to catch up. For those who are caught up, a simple explanation of the difference between synchronic contrast and diachronic contrast, illustrated with examples from a couple of the beautiful Romance languagesSpanish and its ancestor, Latin: Synchronic ... Diachronic ... Up next: The Trouble with NLP. References, Barðdal, Jóhanna H. (2001). Case in Icelandic: A Synchronic, Diachronic and Comparative Approach. Blevins, Juliette. (2004). Evolutionary Phonology: The Emergence of Sound ... more ]

6. About Us (19,364 visits)

Speculative Grammarian and Our Story. The august journal Speculative Grammarian has a long, rich, and varied history, weaving an intricate and subtle tapestry from disparate strands of linguistics, philology, history, politics, science, technology, botany, pharmacokinetics, computer science, the mathematics of humor, basket weaving, archery, glass blowing, roller coaster design, and bowling, among numerous other, less obvious fields. SpecGram, as it is known to devotees and sworn enemies alike, has for centuries sought to bring together the greatest yet least understood minds of the time, embedding itself firmly in the cultural and psychological matrix of the global society while ... more ] Podcast!

7. Letters to the Editor (CLI.3) (16,937 visits)

Letters to the Editor, ... To the most respected Editors, In the fall I’ll be a first-year grad student in linguistics at R––– University. A couple of the current fourth-years told me that the International Phonetic Association was adding several new symbols for sounds that have previously been considered to have questionable status as phonemes. They said that the most contentious new addition was double-dot wide-O, a nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill. I’ve leafed through several back issues of SpecGram, Language, and a few other journals. I’ve searched the Linguist List archives, and scoured the web. I can’t find anything about it (though right ... more ] Podcast! Merch!

8. Merchandise (16,608 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Merchandise. Introduction. In order to lend a hand to our good friends and steadfast supporters over at the Linguist List during their 2006 fund drive, we prepared a small selection of limited issue SpecGram merchandise, including T-shirts, stickers and magnets. Originally these items were only available as prizes awarded as part of the Linguist List fund drive. In 2012, several of the SpecGram editors suffered from a rare form of collective frontal lobe damage, which made it seem like a good idea to put together a SpecGram book. The result was The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics. ... Discussion. As a result of initial positive feedback, ... more ]

9. The Oxford Comma: A SolutionEliza Doolittle (14,617 visits)

The Oxford Comma: A Solution. Eliza Doolittle. The Oxford Comma has once again raised its nasty little head in linguistic circles, thanks largely to the efforts of one Ms Truss and her book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It is time once and for all to put this little beast to rest. (No, not Ms Truss, you moron--the Oxford Comma). For those of you wondering what the Oxford Comma (OC) actually is, I have one question: what on earth are you doing reading an up-market linguistic magazine like this? So for your delectation and delight here is a definition of the OC: it’s the insertion of a comma after the penultimate item in a list, just before the and--for example, ‘coffee, cream, and ... more ] Podcast!

10. New speech disorder linguists contracted discovered!Yreka Bakery (14,586 visits)

New speech disorder linguists contracted discovered!. An apparently new speech disorder a linguistics department our correspondent visited was affected by has appeared. Those affected our correspondent a local grad student called could hardly understand apparently still speak fluently. The cause experts the LSA sent investigate remains elusive. Frighteningly, linguists linguists linguists sent examined are highly contagious. Physicians neurologists psychologists other linguists called for help called for help called for help didn’t help either. The disorder experts reporters SpecGram sent consulted investigated apparently is a case of pathological center embedding. Yreka Bakery (Egello College). ... more ] Podcast! Book!

11. Quotes: What People are Saying (13,769 visits)

Quotes: What People are Saying. Here are a few of our favorite things people have said about Speculative Grammarian over the years, collected wild on the internet, or domesticated in email — Q1094. Needless to say, the descriptivists and prescriptivists have been fighting for years; in the academic English world, they are the Hatfields and McCoys, the Montagues and Capulets, the Sharks and Jets, the Blue Devils and Every Other Basketball Team. Now there is a movement that strives to cut the liguistic Gordian Knot by going the prescriptivists one better: The Original English Movement would return our language permanently to its form a millennium ago, at the time of the writing of Beowulf —The Good Reverend ... more ]

12. Gothic for TravellersAnita Judzis (13,749 visits)

Gothic for Travellers. A. Judzis, the Visigoth. Making friends Hints for the traveller: The Goths are a very friendly and gregarious people. They will be quick to invite you to their homes for special ceremonies and entertainments. They also have hot tempers, so don't turn down an invitation to go home with a Goth. Good conversation starters are death, torture, eating and drinking. What do you do?, hwa taw-yis thoo, 𐍈𐌰 𐍄𐌰𐌿𐌾𐌹𐍃 𐌸𐌿 I'm a... ik im... 𐌹̈𐌺 𐌹́𐌼 tax collector, mow-tar-ees, 𐌼𐍉𐍄𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐍃 harlot, kahl-kyo, ... more ] Podcast!

13. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart IVStatistical Machine TranslationPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (13,205 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part IV — Statistical Machine Translation. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. We will dispense with the preliminaries, and get to the meat of the matter. For the next installment in our Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, we will turn our attention to statistical machine translation, using semi- automatically aligned texts: ... Next time: Phonetics vs. Phonology with guest cartoonist Hilário Parenchyma. References, Booth, A. D. L. Brandwood, and J. P. Cleave (1958). Mechanical resolution of linguistic problems. Butterworths Scientific Publications. Brown, P. S. Della Pietra, V. Della Pietra, and R. Mercer (1991). “The ... more ] Book!

14. The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics (13,200 visits)

The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics . For decades, Speculative Grammarian has been the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguisticsand now it is available in book formboth physical and electronic! We wish we were kidding, but no, seriously, we’ve published a large collection of SpecGram articles, along with just enough new material to force obsessive collectors and fans to buy it, regardless of the cost. From the Introduction: The past twenty-five years have witnessed many changes in linguistics, with major developments in linguistic theory, significant expansion in language description, and even ... more ]

15. Podcast—An Iñupik Linguistic Fragment (or, the Last Grammarian) (12,935 visits)

An Iñupik Linguistic Fragment (or, the Last Grammarian); by Metalleus; From Lingua Pranca, June 1978. — The following fragment was found in a shoe box at Indiana University. It was translated by Metalleus with the help of a Phi Beta Kappa key. The author is unknown. (Read by Trey Jones.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

16. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart 九Lexicostatistics vs. GlottochronologyPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (12,151 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 九—Lexicostatistics vs. Glottochronology. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. If you are new to Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, please review back issues of this journal. Now let us consider the fundamental difference between Lexicostatistics and Glottochronology: ... Up next: Feeding and Bleeding with guest cartoonist Erin Taylor. References, Arndt, Walter W. (1959). “The performance of glottochronology in Germanic”. Language, 35, 180-192. Bergsland, Knut; & Vogt, Hans. (1962). “On the validity of glottochronology”. Current Anthropology, 3, 115-153. Chretien, Douglas (1962). “The ... more ] Podcast!

17. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart INon-Configurational LanguagesPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (12,038 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part I—Non-Configurational Languages. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. A. Mathematician Friend once told me that, in mathematics, it is sometimes said that if you cannot explain the basic outline of a mathematical idea to a bright and interested 10-year-old, then you don’t really understand it yourself. That got me thinking, and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions: According to my 10-year-old niece, I don’t understand any mathematical ideas. Something similar could be said for linguistic ideas. It is generally accepted that math is hard (Davis & Hersh, Friend, Lakoff & Núñez, Lucas, Mac Lane, ... more ] Book!

18. Puzzles and Games (12,027 visits)

SpecGram Puzzles and Games. Collected all in one place for your brain-teasing pleasure, below is a list of the currently available linguistically themed puzzles and games that have appeared over the years in SpecGram and related publications. ... Acrostics: ... AkróstichonDr. Dr. Fortina Haecceity, M.D. Ph.D. Speculative Grammarian CLVII.η July 2009 ... LinguacrosticDrs. Oniomania Succedaneum and Lex Quisquis, Ph.D.s, Speculative Grammarian CLVII.η July 2009 Anagrams: ... Lingo JumbleOrang Pendek, D.Sc. and Orang Mawas, Litt.D. Speculative Grammarian CLVII.η July 2009 ... The “Panama Guzzler” Anagram ... more ]

19. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart BErgativityPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (12,009 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part B—Ergativity. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. As set forth in the previous installment (on non-configurational languages), our goal is to illustrate important concepts in linguistics via cartoons. (And, as mentioned last time, in so doing perhaps illustrate our own mastery of the material!) For our next foray into the Cartoon Theory of Linguistics, I present the following visual explanation of ergativity: ... Next time, we’ll look at morphological typology. References, Anderson, Stephen R. (1985). Inflectional morphology. In T. Shopen (Ed.), Language typology and syntactic description: Grammatical categories and the ... more ] Book!

20. Ps. Q.Variation in the English Indefinite ArticleTim Pulju (11,445 visits)

Variation in the English Indefinite Article. The problem of variation in the English indefinite article between the forms a and an has long vexed linguists. In his 1933 classic, Language, Bloomfield cited this case as an example of free variation at the morphological level, saying, “There seems to be no principled basis for predicting which form occurs in which contexts.” This solution was accepted by the neo-Bloomfieldians in general. It was Jespersen who first questioned the Bloomfieldian solution. In 1941, he proposed that the syntactic class of the following word determined the form of the indefinite article; specifically, an occurred before adjectives, and a before nouns. He ... more ] Podcast! Book!

21. Lingua PrancaDates in the Month of May that Are of Interest to LinguistsJames D. McCawley (11,194 visits)

Dates in the Month of May that Are of Interest to Linguists. James D. McCawley, University of Chicago. (Note: May, the month in which Goodspeed day is celebrated, by recently established tradition, can be seen from the following to be a linguistically auspicious month), May 2, 1919. Baudouin de Courtenay concedes defeat in his bid for the presidency of Poland. May 3, 1955. Mouton & Co. discover how American libraries order books and scheme to cash in by starting several series of books on limericks. The person given charge of this project mishears and starts several series of books on linguistics. No one ever notices the mistake. May 5, 1403. The Great English Vowel Shift begins. Giles of Tottenham calls for ale at his ... more ] Podcast!

22. Podcast—Phonological Theory and Language Acquisition (11,157 visits)

Phonological Theory and Language Acquisition; by Notker Balbulus, Monastery of St. Gall; From Volume CXLVIII, Number 2, of Speculative Grammarian, January 1998. — Gildea has argued that modern phonological theorizing suffers from a tendency toward over application of a particular insight. That is, a particular theory is developed to deal with a particular sort of problem, which it handles well. However, the theory's creators, emboldened by their success, and eager to win a Kuhnian victory over their rivals, then start applying the theory willy-nilly to areas for which it is not well-suited. (Read by David J. Peterson.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

23. The Original Language of Winnie-the-PoohAureliano Buendía (10,879 visits)

The Original Language of Winnie-the-Pooh. Aureliano Buendía, Universidad de Macondo. The text known in English as Winnie-the-Pooh occurs in dozens of different languages. Scholars have long debated the question of what was the original language of composition. One of the most popular hypotheses has been that the original text was written in English. The present paper will use textual evidence to demonstrate the impossibility of that hypothesis and to suggest a more likely candidate. Consider the following lines from the beginning of Chapter I in the English-language version. (1) he is...ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh. When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to ... more ] Podcast!

24. Lingua PrancaMorpheme AddictionSusan Wishnetsky (10,753 visits)

This leaflet was produced by the Council On Morpheme Abuse (COMA) to increase public awareness of the most recent health hazards — What is a Morpheme? Morphemes are the elements obtained by breaking down the flower of language. They are also present in the roots and stems. It is not yet known exactly what constitutes a morpheme, but it is agreed that almost all verbiage, however innocent it may appear, contains these insidious ingredients. What are Some Common Terms for Morphemes? Among those acquainted with morpheme use you may hear the slang terms “morph” or “formation”. Uneducated users refer to the morpheme as a “word” (possibly related to “weed”). One type of morpheme is commonly ... more ] Podcast! Book!

25. Cartoon Theories of Linguistics Part 3Morphological TypologyPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (10,490 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 3—Morphological Typology. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. No need for an introduction, it was covered in previous installments (on non-configurational languages and ergativity). Instead, let us proceed to the next chapter of our Cartoon Theories of Linguistics. I have provided the following cartoonish exegesis of morphological typology for your edification: ... Up next: Statistical Machine Translation. References, Baker, Mark. (1988). Incorporation: A theory of grammatical function changing. Baker, Mark. (1996). The polysynthesis parameter. Comrie, Bernard. (1989). Language universals and linguistic typology (2nd ... more ] Merch! Book!

26. Twenty Special Forms of RhetoricDawn B. Seely (9,760 visits)

Twenty Special Forms of Rhetoric. Rhetoric has been a topic of academic interest for, approximately, forever. Below are detailed a number of special types of rhetorical argument, some of which (eg, (3)) have been observed since the time of Aristotle [Aristotle] and before. Others (eg, (1)) have been clearly recognized only within the last century [eg, Davis and Hersh]. Some of these (eg, (2)) have never been explicitly delineated before. The uses of rhetoric are manifold and many explications of such have been made before, which this paper will not repeat. Proof by Intimidation, A: What do you think about objection X?, B: That's silly!, Proof by Loudness, A: What do you think about objection X?, B: That's VERY ... more ] Podcast!

27. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart 13Langue vs. ParolePhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (9,701 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 13—Langue vs. Parole. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Please familiarize yourself with earlier installments of Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, available in previous issues of this journal. Now, to the meat of the matteran illustration of the most crucial distinction between Langue and Parole: ... Coming up: Gricean Implicature. References, Culler, Jonathan. 1976. Saussure. de Saussure, Ferdinand. 1916. Cours de linguistique générale. Edited by C. Bally and A. Sechehaye, with the collaboration of A. Riedlinger. Godel, R. 1957. Les sources manuscrites du Cours de linguistique ... more ]

28. Lingua Pranca (9,629 visits)

I U Linguistics Club. Lingua Pranca. T. Ernst & E. Smith, Editors. Indiana University. June 1978. ... more ]

29. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart ζPhysics vs. Physics EnvyPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (9,628 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part ζ—Physics vs. Physics Envy. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Introductions are superfluous for those who have been keeping up. Now, to the heart of the matter, in which we discuss the long-recognized but little-discussed travesty of unconfidence in our field of study: ... Up next: Diachronic vs Synchronic. References, Cohen, Joel E. (1971). “Mathematics as Metaphor: a review of Dynamical System Theory in Biology. Vol. 1, Stability Theory and Its Applications by Robert Rosen.” Science, New Series, Vol. 172, No. 3984. Dymetman, Marc. (1998). “Group Theory and Computational ... more ]

30. A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky AntonymsJessie Sams (9,433 visits)

A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky Antonyms. Jessie Sams, Stephen F. Austin State University. When students get to college, the majority of them have never thought about antonyms as being anything more than “opposites.” So big is the opposite of small, just like buyer is the opposite of seller. Then, all of a sudden, students are forced into a linguistics course with a professor who tells them that they have to learn to differentiate among different types of antonyms. Student’s minds are nearly exploding with information as they have to learn definitions of terms like ‘converse’ and ‘gradable’ and ‘complementary’ in the world of ... more ]

31. JLSSCNCTowards a Perfect Definition of the Term “Sign”Louis Capet (9,224 visits)

Towards a Perfect Definition of the Term “Sign”. Saussure defined the sign as the union of the signifier and the signified. Steinmetz emphasized the importance of the interactional element. Burma-Shave proposed that a sign could only be understood in the context of adjacent signs. Modern linguistics has elaborated the concept of the sign system. The Brittanica World Language Dictionary defines a sign as “noun...6 Any mark used in musical notation, as a flat or a sharp...9 In scripture, a miraculous deed as a proof of divine commission or supernatural power; a miracle...11 In hunting, a trace left by an animal; spoor...” The dictionary’s definitions are plainly nearer the truth ... more ] Podcast!

32. The Quotta and the Quottiod: Punctuation Designed for Linguists, by LinguistsVére Çélen (9,172 visits)

The Quotta and the Quottiod. Punctuation Designed for Linguists, by Linguists. Vére Çélen, l’École de SpecGram, Cheboksary, Chuvashia. It is not news to linguists that particular forms of punctuation can be problematic. One frequent source of considerable friction in certain circles is the unending debate over whether and when (and, increasingly, why) commas and periods go inside or outside quotation marksespecially when they are not actually part of the material to be quoted. Typically careful linguists usually prefer not to include punctuation in a quoted citation form or gloss, while many punctilious punctuationally prescriptivist publishers demand they be ... more ] Podcast!

33. Podcast—Language Acquisition Device Found (9,103 visits)

Language Acquisition Device Found; by R. Davis; From Volume CLI, Number 2, of Speculative Grammarian, April 2006. — At a recent press conference in Istanbul Prof. I. Jones, chief on-site archeologist at an excavation of an Upper Paleolithic site in central Turkey, made an announcement that stunned the linguistics community: a language acquisition device, or “LAD” has been found. (Read by Trey Jones.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

34. Language Acquisition Device FoundR. Davis (9,068 visits)

Language Acquisition Device Found. Associated Linguists Press (ALP), April 2006. At a recent press conference in Istanbul Prof. I. Jones, chief on-site archeologist at an excavation of an Upper Paleolithic site in central Turkey, made an announcement that stunned the linguistics community: a language acquisition device, or “LAD” has been found. The LAD has long been the object of speculation among linguists and cognitive scientists concerned with the evolutionary origins and nature of language, but until now no one had actually seen one. The unexpected find was credited to a linguistics graduate student who had fortuitously volunteered to work at the dig site. During the usual painstaking process of brushing ... more ] Podcast!

35. LingDokuLike SuDoku, But For LinguistsTrey Jones (8,980 visits)

LingDoku—Like SuDoku, But For Linguists. Trey Jones, l’École de SpecGram, Washington D.C.. The Japanese number/logic game SuDoku ... has become all the rage around the globe of late, and in a shameless attempt to cash in on that popularity, Speculative Grammarian is pleased to concoct a SuDoku-like activity for Linguists. Traditional SuDoku requires a certain amount of logical reasoning and subtle consideration of the evidence which many linguists probably find time-consuming, labor-intensive, and boring. LingDoku simplifies the logical components of SuDoku, and introduces a thin veneer of linguistics which confuses outsiders while making linguists feel superior. The rules of ... more ]

36. Podcast—“Language” Characteristics in Certain Higher Primates—(Professors of Education) (8,826 visits)

“Language” Characteristics in Certain Higher Primates—(Professors of Education); by Charles Bishop; From Son of Lingua Pranca, November, 1979 — Scientists have long recognized that the average professor of education is remarkably close to man himself in brain capacity and physiology, and we have all marvelled at how human they sometimes appear. Yet these creatures—far more intelligent than the chimpanzees with whom they are often compared—seem unable to use language, and until recently it was assumed that they were incapable of learning any form of true human language. (Read by Les Strabismus.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

37. Thirteen Untranslatable WordsMichael Covarrubias (8,670 visits)

Thirteen Untranslatable Words. by Michael Covarrubias. I’m a language lover. I have been since I was a kid. Just about eleven months after being born, I started saying words and I’ve been using them ever since. I probably use words every day and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. After a while, we language lovers have a hard time learning more about our native language. That’s why we branch out to memorize other languages. It can be hard though, because a lot of foreign languages have words in them that we just can’t translate into English. Maybe it’s because we don’t have the concept in English, and that makes it impossible to make up a label for the concept. Or, more interestingly, ... more ]

38. Reanalysis of Spanish by Naïve LinguistsChesterton Wilburfors Gilchrist, Jr. (8,542 visits)

Reanalysis of Spanish by Naïve Linguists. Chesterton Wilburfors Gilchrist, Jr. Chairman, Department of Lexicology and Glottometrics, Devonshire-upon-Glencullen University, Southampton While sitting in the Linguistics Lounge the other day, I overheard some first-year grad students discussing the day’s Spanish class. My eavesdropping turned out to be much more interesting than I had anticipated. I must interject here that several faculty members and grad students had fought against the idea of first-years fulfilling their foreign language reading requirement with Spanish. Objections ranged from the dearth of academic linguistics material published in Spanish to the commonly accepted ease of ... more ] Podcast! Book!

39. Linguistics Nerd CampBethany Carlson (8,376 visits)

Linguistics Nerd Camp. Bethany Carlson. The linguists strike back ... more ]

40. Modern and Historical Graphical Representations of Structural Relationships in Spoken and Written English Sentential UtterancesNattapoŋ Yunloŋ Seuŋyoŋ (8,016 visits)

Modern and Historical Graphical Representations of Structural Relationships in Spoken and Written English Sentential Utterances. selected and presented, with commentary, by, Nattapoŋ Yunloŋ Seuŋyoŋ BFE University, Waikikamukau, New Zealand With the mild splash created last year by Florey’s small but sincere homage, Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog, sentence diagramming (Figure 1) was momentarily en vogue. Of course, it didn’t last long, as any student of the field could have predicted, because diagramming sentences is generally quite a boring task. The general population will look cursorily at a cleverly diagrammed sentence, in much the way they look at car wrecks on the ... more ] Book!

41. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart XIPrescriptivism vs. DescriptivismPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (7,809 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part XI—Prescriptivism vs. Descriptivism. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Those in need of an introduction to Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, please review previous installments in the series. Now let us consider the finer distinctions between Prescriptivism and Descriptivism: ... Coming up: Syllables. References, Bessant C. A. M. McEnery (1992). Computational Linguistics: A Handbook & Toolbox for Natural Language Processing. Cameron, D. (2004). Verbal Hygiene. Gleason, H. A. (1961). An Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics. Johnstone, B. and D. Baumgardt. (2004). ‘Pittsburghese’ online: vernacular norming ... more ]

42. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart JFeeding and BleedingErin Taylor (7,566 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part J—Feeding and Bleeding. Erin Taylor, Cal State Fullerton. Those unacquainted with the form and purpose of the Cartoon Theories of Linguistics can probably fake it if they are able to locate previous installments of this series. Let us turn our attention to Feeding and Bleeding Rules, as explained by Erin Taylor: ... Next time: Prescriptivism vs. Descriptivism. References, Baron, W. (1983). “Cases of counter-feeding in Fas.” Language and Linguistics in Melanesia. Blumenfeld, L. (2003) “Counterfeeding, derived environment effects, and comparative markedness”. Theoretical Linguistics, Vol. 29, No. 1-2, pp. 89-99. Hastings, A. J. (1974) ... more ]

43. Psammeticus Press (7,508 visits)

Psammeticus Press, BOOKS, SERIES, and MORE The following valuable volumes, spectacular series, and interesting items have been released with pride by Psammeticus Press, an academic publishing house founded in honor of the first and purest of linguistic inquirers: one might criticize his methods, but who could quibble with his results? Follow the links below to learn more about these fabulous books and excellent series, each destined to become a classic in the field. Relaunched JournalMunicipal Journal of Language Devolution There has been a lot of interest in environmental influences on language, including the emerging field of geophonetics. Other publishers can jump ... more ]

44. Lingua PrancaAmbiguity In Action: A Bawdy CountNorman C. Stageberg (7,442 visits)

Ambiguity In Action: A Bawdy Count. Norman C. Stageberg, University of Northern Iowa. One major source of humor is found in the many and various situations of everyday life, both as they occur in actuality and as they are refined and recounted in literature. A second major source of humor is language itself in its many aspects. One of these aspects is ambiguity. This is our subject for today: ambiguity in language and the pranks it plays. First, however, I believe that every gathering of people to pursue a serious subject should have a motto to give direction and purpose to their thoughts. So, I offer as a motto for us on this solemn occasion a sign that I once saw outside a dance hall near Iowa City. It goes like this: Clean ... more ] Podcast!

45. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart 14Gricean ImplicaturePhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (7,292 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 14—Gricean Implicature. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Welcome to the Cartoon Theories of Linguistics! If you are new to the series, where have you been? We’ve been doing this for almost two years! Go back to the beginning (SpecGram CLII.1) if you need to, to understand our mission: [W]e should be able to reduce the essence of important linguistic concepts to something we can explain to that bright, interested 10-year-old. In fact, I contend that we can boil the essence right down to something we can explain in a cartoon. Now, to the heart of this installmentan illustration of the different types of ... more ] Merch! Book!

46. Podcast—Top Tips For Linguists—Part I (7,257 visits)

Top Tips For Linguists—Part I; by The SpecGram Editorial Board; From Volume CLXXIV, Number 3, of Speculative Grammarian, November 2015 — Realizing that many linguists, young and old, find themselves unsure of how best to succeed (or have success thrust upon them), we of the Speculative Grammarian Editorial Board have assembled a collection of high-impact protips that will help any linguist achieve their full potential—and then some! (Read by The SpecGram Players.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

47. Ps. Q.The Effect of Coffee Consumption on Adults’ Average MLU at the Breakfast TableSuzy X. (7,173 visits)

Dear Sirs: When Mommy fell asleep at the computer during her third straight all-nighter and accidentally erased her doctoral thesis, I wrote this to help her out. She graduated with honors, and so I thought I’d do a paper on it and send it to you, since I’ve heard it’s your kind of thing. Please do not print my full name with this article, because I am not allowed to use Mommy’s computer at all. Thanks, Suzy X. P.S. My little brother Jimmy also contributed to this work, but I only let him touch the computer once. The Effect of Coffee Consumption on Adults’ Average MLU at the Breakfast Table. Jimmy and I have always thought that the way Mommy and Daddy act in the morning has something to do with how ... more ] Podcast!

48. An Introduction to Linguistics in Haiku FormAnonymous (7,005 visits)

An Introduction to, Linguistics in Haiku Form. Anonymous. linguistic theory, hidden representations, to surface structures phonology is, sound patterns of languages, phonemes, allophones phonetics is sounds, articulation of them, acoustics, hearing comp. linguistics is, theory into efficient, implementation morphology is, if same structure, same meaning, then it’s a morpheme syntactic theory, blah blah chomsky chomsky blah, blah chomsky blah blah ... more ] Podcast! Book!

49. The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature (6,999 visits)

The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature. Welcome to Online Selections from The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature, researched, compiled, and edited by the lexicographers, etymologists, and philologists of Speculative Grammarian. ... The editors of Speculative Grammarian are delighted to present selections of the fifty-volume lexicographic opus, The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature, online for the first time ever. The Compleat Encyclopaedia is a one-of-a-kind resource, ... more ]

50. RebusWulfila Bruinne, M.F.A., Ph.D. (6,882 visits)

Rebus. by Wulfila Bruinne, M.F.A. Ph.D. University of North Oodaaq. This puzzle is worth 3 points. ... Lingo Jumble—Orang Pendek, D.Sc. and Orang Mawas, Litt.D. ... E’s-y Cryptogram—Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Erlösende Einigkeit, ... SpecGram Vol CLVII, No η Contents, ... more ]

51. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart 12SyllablesPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (6,678 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 12—Syllables. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. To review the earlier Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, please seek out previous installments in the series in this journal. Now let us consider the most important aspects of syllables and their structure: ... Next time: Langue vs. Parole. References, Bagemihl, Bruce. (1991). “Syllable structure in Bella Coola”. Linguistic Inquiry 22: 589-646. Davis, Philip W. & Ross Saunders. (1979). “Bella Coola phonology”. Lingua 49: 169-187. Fujimura, O. (1975). “Syllable as a unit of speech recognition”. Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing 23.1. ... more ] Book!

52. Ps. Q.Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures (Review)Robert E. Lee (6,397 visits)

Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures. Noam Chomsky. Syntactic Structures. The Hague: Mouton & Co. 1957. This slim volume, first published in 1957 and occasionally reprinted since then, has attracted surprisingly little attention in linguistic circles. It is unfortunate that this is the case, for in the book Chomsky proposes a truly innovative approach to syntactic problems which have plagued linguists since the days of Bloomfield. Essentially, Chomsky proposes that actual utterances should be understood as surface structures which have been derived from more basic deep structures by means of transformations. For instance, the sentence “Sir Egbert was devoured by the dragon” (my example, not ... more ] Podcast!

53. A New Mechanism For Contact-Induced Change: Evidence From Maritime LanguagesH.D. Onesimus (6,209 visits)

A New Mechanism For Contact-Induced Change: Evidence From Maritime Languages. H.D. Onesimus, Gobi Institute of Maritime Linguistics, Lanzhou, China. Modern contact linguistics has demonstrated an impressive ability to account for language change and the emergence of new languages with a remarkably small number of mechanisms: bilingualism, creolization, borrowing, and convergence (also known as “smart drift”). However, a few intractable situations of language contact seemingly cannot be accounted for in terms of this elegant system (notable examples include Wutun, Ma’a and Texas English). In this article, I show how the long-standing problem of Penguin and the Cetacean languages reveals a new type of ... more ] Podcast! Book!

54. Hunting the Elusive Labio-NasalClaude Searsplainpockets (6,084 visits)

Speculative Grammarian is proud to present yet another irregular installment in the Linguistic Anthropologic Monograph Endowment’s Bizarre Grammars of the World Series. Hunting the Elusive Labio-Nasal. An Anthropological Linguistic Study of the Beeg Haan Krrz. Bizarre Grammars of the World, Vol. 57, Introduction The now well-known clicks found in certain African languages must have come as quite a shock to the first European linguists who heard them. Many of the sounds were familiar, of course, but the idea that they could be a component of language had to have been hard to believe. Even now the languages of Africa have secrets to sharenote the recent addition ... more ] Podcast! Book!

55. How to Pay for Linguistic FieldworkSpecGram Editorial Board (5,942 visits)

How to Pay for Linguistic Fieldwork. by the SpecGram Editorial Board. The thing is is that fieldwork is expensive, and yet we have to somehow pay for it. Or we won’t get to do it. And really, heaven help the poor soul who can’t pay for a trip even to Tahiti, and has to try to come up with some topic on English syntax that hasn’t already been beaten like a dead metaphor. At SpecGram, our interest is is to help people in this kind of situation. So, in the interest of new data (or, should we say, in the interest of no more old English data), and out of a sense of selfless devotion to the betterment of Ph.D. students all across Linguistica, the SpecGram editorial board has pulled together ... more ] Podcast! Book!

56. Scrabble Cheaters’ Dictionary (5,794 visits)

The Scrabble Cheaters’ Dictionary. provided as a service to our readers, by Speculative Grammarian. ... Have you ever backed yourself into a corner, lexicographically speakingwhile playing Scrabble, or chatting around the water cooler at work, or telling tall tales at the pub? The story is an unfortunate but familiar one: a linguist, polyglot, or other linguaphile finds themselves in the heady position of declaiming to the untutored masses on the subject of a particular word, only to realize that perhaps they’ve over-reached, and no such word exists. A standard fallback position in such a situation is to claim certainty that the word in questionwhile the details ... more ]

57. X-bar Diagram AcquisitionTel Monks (5,717 visits)

X-bar Diagram Acquisition. Tel Monks. I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences. —Gertrude Stein The year 2007 marked the thirtieth anniversary of Jackendoff (1977), the book that made the following diagram such a part of the linguist’s life. (1) ... The intervening 30 years have seen the X-bar provide the basis for more utterances than can be imagined with increasingly complex examples, such as (a personal favourite): (2) ... Unfortunately, the original English sentence has been lost, and we can only offer conjecture as to the utterer’s intent. However, in the euphoria that X-bar diagrams have brought to linguistic studies, little thought has been given ... more ]

58. A 21st Century Proposal for English Spelling ReformH. Sanderson Chambers III (5,664 visits)

A 21st Century Proposal for English Spelling Reform. by H. Sanderson Chambers III, Associate Professor of English at an elite northeastern university that costs more in tuition and fees for one semester than most people earn in a lifetime, (I can't tell you the university's name, but it rhymes with Little Gary). As is well-known to all educated people--and if it's not well-known to you, then you're not one of us--the early part of the 20th century was the heyday of the Simplified Spelling movement, which sought to reform English spelling on the grounds that it was "mard by absurdities and inconsistencies". So what, you might say? Well, among other things, the simplifiers claimed that the spelling system ... more ] Podcast!

59. Personals for Linguists (5,642 visits)

Personal Ads for Linguistsincluding linguists of every kind seeking romance, academic partnerships, and moreall with that special SpecGram twist. N.B.: Information in personal ads is provided by the submitters. The editors and publishers of Speculative Grammarian are not responsible for their content, including, but not limited to, typos, spelling mistakes, poor grammar, bad judgment, factual errors, bald-faced lies, or lapses in national security ... more ]

60. Podcast—The Tribesman (5,609 visits)

The Tribesman; by Aya Katz & Leslie Fish; From Volume CXLVII, Number 1 of Speculative Grammarian, January 1993 —— Once a fieldworker hiked into unknown terrain, / Seeking someone to question, he came. / When he asked of the natives what language they spoke / There was one who was glad to explain. / Behind lay a linguist, as well as a saint, / Who would translate the Bible for them. / Would decipher the code of their language so quaint, / And secure for himself lasting fame. (Performed by Leslie Fish.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

61. Point: Why Linguistics is Not a ScienceAlpberta Cedium-Ndelemeiyerov (5,463 visits)

Point: Why Linguistics is Not a Science. [Editor’s Note: This opinion piece is the first of a contrasting pair discussing the relationship between Linguistics and Science. The opposing piece will run in the next issue of SpecGram.] While many have claimed, and probably rightly so, that Linguistics suffers from a bad case of Physics Envy, it is Mathematics, the Queen of the Sciences, which is best suited to provide a role model for bringing some sorely needed rigor to the field. Any practicing mathematician will speak of the crucial role intuition plays in the formulation of ideas--the mysterious spark, the gut feeling, the leap of faith that points the way to a difficult but elegant theorem ... more ]

62. Indo-European Crossword Puzzle No. 1Donald Reindl (5,369 visits)

Indo-European Crossword Puzzle No. 1. Complete the crossword by supplying the Indo-European root suggested by the reflexes glossed for each number, using forms given in Pokorny's Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (1959). Treat aspirated (bh, etc.) and labialized (k, etc.) stops as a single character. Omit marks of vowel length and accent, but distiguish palatal and velar stops, syllabics and non-syllabics, vowels and semi-vowels. The first one has been done for you. ACROSS, 1. Gk. ἔρεβος ‘underworld, darkness’ 5. Lat. angustus ‘narrow’ 9. Gk. μή ‘(that) ... more ]

63. Re-Rating the World’s LanguagesWaxaklahun Ubah K’awil and José Felipe Hernandez y Fernandez (5,236 visits)

Re-Rating the World’s Languages. Waxaklahun Ubah K’awil, and, José Felipe Hernandez y Fernandez, University of Sprouts, Brussels. In 1991, Dikembe Mutombo and John Thompson rocked the world of linguistics with their iconoclastic article “Rating the World’s Languages”. With the bold statement that “the canard of linguistic equality has to be abandoned by anyone wanting to be a realistic student of language,” Mutombo and Thompson opened the door to what should have been a new era in applied linguistics. But that didn’t happen. Though it would indubitably make an interesting thesis topic in the field of History of Science or Psychology of Academia, the reasons for this ... more ] Book!

64. Vol CLI, No 1 (5,205 visits)

SPECULATIVE GRAMMARIAN, Yet Another Mega Quote Issue Volume CLI, Number 1, January 2006, ... The Lifestyle Magazine, for Linguists, MANAGING EDITOR, Trey Jones, EDITOR EMERITUS, Tim Pulju, SENIOR EDITOR, Keith Slater, ASSOCIATE EDITORS, Bryan Allen, Adam Baker, Candace Cardinal, Teal Doggett, Daniel Currie Hall, Martin Hilpert, Steven Lulich, Kean Kaufmann, Sheila McCann, Ken Miner, Michael Niv, Jamin Pelkey, Mikael Thompson, Nathan, Sanders, Bill Spruiell, Rob van der Sandt, Adam, Ussishkin, Joey Whitford, ... more ]

65. Lingua PrancaThe Linguist’s Self-Definer for Humanistic Greek and Latin Lingoand other termsRobert Rankin, et al. (5,150 visits)

The Linguist’s Self-Definer for Humanistic, Greek and Latin Lingo and other terms. Compiled by R.L. Rankin with much help and many suggestions from far and wide, Michael Henderson, Bob Binnick, Andrew Sihler, Ken Miner, and others.. vowol harmono, ümlaut, dithsimilation, to back formate, metasethis, epentthesis, aprothesis, anapityxis, folk ate-a-mology, execrescence, foneme, agglutinatinglanguages, apfricate, analogician, -pheresis, haspiration, aphas.... diphthoung, kpoarticulated stop, compēsatory lengthening, condamination, diäeresis, díäçrîti̇č digræph, gemminnattion, gloʔalization, metophony, monophtong, ... more ] Podcast!

66. Notes on the Kzinti LanguageArthur Saxtorph (5,013 visits)

Notes on the Kzinti Language. by Arthur T. Saxtorph. The Kzinti, our spacefaring rat-cat neighbors, have not been studied in any detail from a linguistic or even generally cognitive point of view. We have been, until the recent treaty, much too busy finding ways of killing them to worry with more intellectual pursuits. Now, though, the situation has changed, and we have a chance to consider the Kzinti and their language, and what that tells us about the workings of their minds, and in turn perhaps the workings of our own minds. Very little ground work has been done, and so much yet remains to be accomplished; but here I will try to summarize the knowledge that we have gained so far, to aid future researchers. Much of the ... more ]

67. Eating the WindAn Anthropological Linguistic Study of the XoŋryClaude Searsplainpockets (5,004 visits)

Speculative Grammarian is proud to present yet another increasingly regular installment in the Linguistic Anthropologic Monograph Endowment’s Bizarre Grammars of the World Series. Eating the Wind. An Anthropological Linguistic Study of the Xoŋry. Bizarre Grammars of the World, Vol. 58, Introduction. The people who call themselves “the Xoŋry ” comprise not a single people and language, but rather a surprisingly large constellation of small, related tribes speaking a surprisingly large constellation of large, related languages. The Xoŋry are spread over several thousand square miles of desolate and mostly unclaimed territory on the Arabian Peninsula. The main ... more ] Book!

68. Podcast—Morphemes: A New Threat to Society (4,965 visits)

Morphemes: A New Threat to Society; by Susan Wishnetsky; From Lingua Pranca, June 1978. — This leaflet was produced by the Council On Morpheme Abuse (COMA) to increase public awareness of the most recent health hazards. (Read by Trey Jones.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

69. Podcast—Language Made Difficult, Vol. L (4,944 visits)

Language Made Difficult, Vol. L — The SpecGram LingNerds are on their own this time. After some Lies, Damned Lies, and Linguistics, the LingNerds discuss the dangers of mispronouncing the names of Canadian provinces, and then advise students as to what they should *not* do. They also fail to celebrate the 50th episode. Many outtakes are provided. ... listen ]

70. A Primer in SF XenolinguisticsJustin B. Rye (4,941 visits)

A Primer in, SF Xenolinguistics. - eep opp ork ah-ah -, Justin B. Rye. - ash nazg durbatulûk -, Table of Contents. Fantasy Exotic TonguesAn Introduction, Let’s Speak AlienIn Ten Easy Lessons, The UnspeakableAnd The Unthinkable, Universal TranslatorsA Buyer’s Guide, CETI for BeginnersLittle Green Manuals — - borag thungg -, FANTASY EXOTIC TONGUESAn Introduction. If you’ve reached the online version of this article chasing the search-string “ +fantasy +exotic +tongues ” then I’m afraid you’ve probably come to ... more ]

71. LingDoku IIMore, Better, HarderTrey Jones (4,921 visits)

LingDoku II. More, Better, Harder. Trey Jones, l’École de SpecGram, Washington D.C.. In the April issue, Speculative Grammarian made a shameless attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Japanese number/logic game SuDoku by concocting a SuDoku-like activity suitable for Linguists. Our original LingDoku puzzle simplified the logical reasoning component of traditional SuDoku, and introduced a thin veneer of linguistics to create an artificial barrier to participation for non-linguists. The solution to last issue’s puzzle is given here. In all likelihood it is the correct solution, but nothing in life is certain. Well, as it turns out, the original LingDoku puzzle is ... more ]

72. Vol CL, No 2 (4,903 visits)

SPECULATIVE GRAMMARIAN, Black Leather Issue, Volume CL, Number 2, April 2005, ... MANAGING EDITOR, Trey Jones, EDITOR EMERITUS, Tim Pulju, SENIOR EDITOR, Keith Slater, ASSOCIATE EDITORS, Bryan Allen, Mark de Vries, Martin Hilpert, Edward Johnson, Steven Lulich, Sheila McCann, Jamin Pelkey, Mikael Thompson, Bill Spruiell, Rob van der Sandt, Joey Whitford, There is no spoon. ... more ]

73. Summer Puzzle Mega Issue Solutions (4,866 visits)

Summer Puzzle Mega Issue Solutions. Scrambled Linguist—Trey Jones ნიკოლოზ იაკობის ძე მარი (though “Nicholas Marr” was also accepted). ... Self-Defining Puzzle—Swivelhips Smith, D.Phil. NP vs Np # is rotated 90° S vs Q at root .—? vs ? differences vs diferences two vs 2 line length for MD—Can Knights of the Linguistic Roundtable—Fergus Falls-Brainerd VOICELESSNESS Lingo Jumble—Orang Pendek, D.Sc. and Orang Mawas, Litt.D. ... more ]

74. Spaghetti or Lasagna for LinguistsLSA Committee on Comestibles in Linguistics (4,861 visits)

Spaghetti or Lasagna for Linguists. LSA Committee on Comestibles in Linguistics. In order to understand various types of linguists better, we conducted a controlled experiment. Very simply, we asked each linguist “Do you want spaghetti or lasagna for dinner?” We think the replies we got are instructive, and so we are sharing them with you. Classical Generative Phonologist: “Whether it’s spaghetti or lasagna will be predictable from context. Give me either one, and call it ‘pasta.’ ” Structuralist: “Both. Neither one will have any flavor unless I can compare them.” Typologist: “Spaghetti. It’s a more prototypical instance of the ... more ] Podcast!

75. Son of Lingua Pranca (4,828 visits)

Son of Lingua Pranca. T. Ernst & E. Smith, Editors. Indiana University. IULC. November 1979. ... more ]

76. Podcast—Feature Girl Episode 1 (4,800 visits)

Feature Girl Episode 1; by Friday Night Linguistics — Linguistic superhero Feature Girl enjoys a night out. ... listen ]

77. A Preliminary Field Guide to Linguists, Part OneAthanasious Schadenpoodle (4,756 visits)

A Preliminary Field Guide to Linguists, Part One. Athanasious Schadenpoodle, University of Nueva Escranton. Introduction While naturalists have long observed the behaviors of some of the better-known families within the Order Academica, producing for the lay person such fascinating and useful volumes as Jane's Guide to Physicists and The Sierra Club Picture Guide to Psychologists, the Family Linguistica has so far not been shown a great deal of attention. This is, in part, justifiable--the small numbers of linguists, and their comparatively drab plumage, draws fewer amateur naturalists. Still, there is a need for at least one major publication on the subject. While the ... more ] Podcast!

78. How They Do It In LinguisticsJames Crippen (4,721 visits)

How They Do It In Linguistics. James Crippen. Sociolinguists do it with variety. Phonologists do it with deviation. Professors do it for tenure. Psycholinguists do it with reliable effects. Theorists do it in armchairs. Field linguists do it with the whole village. Cognitivists do it with mental imagery. Acquisitionists do it with families. L2 acquisitionists do it in classrooms. Computationalists do it with corpora. Generativists do it with bindings. (Recursively!), Typologists do it with everyone. Comparativists do it the longest. Creolists do it in colonies. Grad students do it for the experience. Phoneticians do it in booths. Comparativists do it over millennia. Syntacticians do it with trees. Semanticians do it with ... more ] Podcast!

79. A Short History of American LinguisticsTim Pulju (4,656 visits)

A Short History of American Linguistics*. Tim Pulju. Reprinted, with permission, from Historiographia Linguistica, XVIII:1.221-246 (1991), with minor updates and a new afterword by the author. *It has occurred to the Editor of this Journal [Historiographia Linguistica] that the History of Linguistics as an academic subject has sufficiently progressed during the past fifteen or more years to allow for this spoof to be printed in HL without being mistaken for proper scholarship. Indeed, after all the drudgery of historical research and the seriousness of reflection on matters of methodology and philosophical argument, we may be permitted to enjoy some lighter moments in our day-to-day ... more ] Book!

80. Linguistic TopologyI. Juana Pelota-Grande (4,542 visits)

Linguistic Topology. I. Juana Pelota-Grande, Centre den Geometrik Linguistiken . That many groups of human languages are sprung from some common source is obvious to any student of the subject, whether linguist, philologist, or polyglot. However, the detailed nature of these genetic relationships is often difficult to unambiguously determine--and likely the subject of heated debate. The impressive array of analytic methods brought to bear on the problem is a testament to the inherent difficulty of the task. However, one of the human species' most amazing tools for analysis--vision--has never been fully and properly applied to the problem. Language and vision are two towering pillars of ... more ] Merch! Book!

81. Podcast—The Phonetician’s Love Poem (4,504 visits)

The Phonetician’s Love Poem; by Epiphanios o Phantasiopliktos; From Volume CLXI, Number 1 of Speculative Grammarian, February 2011. — Sweet modulations of fundamental frequency / Air particles dancing to and fro (Read by Jonathan van der Meer.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

82. JLSSCNCCrossword for LinguistsDoug Files (4,481 visits)

Crossword. by Doug Files. Answers will be printed in the next edition of The Journal, of the Linguistic Society of South-Central New Caledonia. Crossword for Linguists. Across, 1, Ndonga for man’s apron made of the first stomach of a ruminant, 6, Tiv for the midpoint of the lower surface of a male organ, 10, Kiniasa for beads, 17, Zulu for get apportioned, 18, German for license, 19, Breton for crucible, 20, Malay for bad stomach pains, 21, English for make habituated, 22, Hiliagaynon for Chinese, 23, Oslo-accented English our, 24, Zulu for events to come, 26, Ndumu for go quietly, 28, Spanish for torch, 29, ... more ]

83. Grey Duck or Goose?Mapping variation in a children’s game in MinnesotaSven Slater and Ollie Bickford (4,477 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Youth Research Focus is proud to bring you the finest language-related research by the world’s school-aged youth. Grey Duck or Goose?, Mapping variation in a children’s game in Minnesota. Fifth Grade Science Fair Project, by Sven Slater and Ollie Bickford, J. O. Nelson Public School, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA. Research Question. Last year, a new kid named Tyler P. joined our fourth grade class. Tyler was from Illinois or some other southern state, and she told us that down there kids play “duck, duck, goose,” instead of “duck, duck, grey duck” like we do here in Minnesota. We thought this was strange, even for the South, but then we ... more ] Podcast! Book!

84. Podcast—λ♥[love] (Linguistics Love Song) (4,453 visits)

λ♥[love] (Linguistics Love Song); by Christine Collins; From Volume CLXII, Number 1 of Speculative Grammarian, June 2011. — let me have your heart and i will give you love / the denotation of my soul is the above / if there’s anything i lack, it’s you / as my double brackets, you make me mean things / i can’t say enough (Used with permission.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

85. Gavagai with PeppersRob van der Sandt (4,447 visits)

Gavagai with Peppers (serves 4) Many tasty gavagai recipes were brought from the jungle by linguists and missionaries in the first half of the 20th century. After the publication of Quine’s Word and Object they gained popularity among philosophers, though the book’s underlying idea was soon attacked from linguistic circles. As an unfortunate consequence, gavagai recipes emanating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tend to be inedible. In most gavagai recipes quantities are vague, as is the exact nature of the meat to be used. Many recipes prescribe sundry undetached rabbit parts as a basic ingredient. The following is an exception. Ingredients 800g of properly detached rabbit parts ... more ] Podcast!

86. Podcast—Love Queries of a Linguist (4,353 visits)

Love Queries of a Linguist; by John Miaou; From Volume CLVII, Number 3 of Speculative Grammarian, November 2009. — If I were a stop, would you be my explosion? If I were a nasal, would you be my syllabification? (Read by Jonathan van der Meer.) ... listen ] ... [ read the article ]

87. Lingua PrancaLinguistic Influences In Recent Research On MusicJames D. McCawley (4,310 visits)

Linguistic Influences In Recent Research On Music. James D. McCawley, University of Chicago. (read at the University of Chicago Linguistics Department’s 1975 celebration of Godspeed Day) In recent years an increasing number of musical scholars have come to the conclusion that musical analysis has no solid theoretical foundation, that the reality of the units and relationships in terms of which analyses are formulated has been subject to at best scanty experimental verification, and that in many cases it is not even clear what sort of reality these units and relationships are supposed to have. Is a cadence an acoustic phenomenon? a perceptual phenomenon? is it merely a convenient fiction that one employs in specifying ... more ]

88. Vol CLII, No 2 (4,258 visits)

SPECULATIVE GRAMMARIAN, Human Language Appreciation Issue Volume CLII, Number 2, March 2007, ... /ʃwi:::t/!, MANAGING EDITOR, Trey Jones, SENIOR EDITOR, Keith Slater, EDITOR EMERITUS, Tim Pulju, ASSOCIATE EDITORS, Yahya Abdal-Aziz, Clif Armstrong, Adam Baker, Ellen Bartee, Martin Hilpert, Kean Kaufmann, Ken Miner, David J. Peterson, Harris Risman, Bill Spruiell, Mikael Thompson, Jim Unger, Rita Watson, Sheri Wells-Jensen, Joey Whitford, Christopher Wood, ... more ]

89. Lingua PrancaLinguistic Contributions To The Formal Theory Of Big-Game HuntingR. Mathiesen (4,253 visits)

Linguistic Contributions To The Formal Theory Of Big-Game Hunting. R. Mathiesen, Brown University. The Mathematical Theory of Big-Game Hunting must surely be ranked among the major scientific achievements of the twentieth century. That this is so is largely the work of one man, H. Pétard, in whose fundamental paper (1938) certain recent advances in mathematics and physics were employed with great skill to create a theory of unmatchednot to say unmatchable!power and elegance. One must not, of course, dismiss Pétard’s predecessors totally out of hand: the field had a long and distinguished history as a technology, was raised to the rank of a science by the Mysore and ... more ] Podcast!

90. Ps. Q.A Stratificational Approach to Making Macaroni and CheeseTim Pulju (4,232 visits)

A Stratificational Approach to Making Macaroni and Cheese. It has long been a tenet of stratificational theory that stratificational notation is adaptable to extralinguistic structures. The contention of this paper is that not only can we use relational networks in this way, but that in fact a stratificational diagram is superior to, and should supplant, the traditional tool for visual transmission of information, namely written representation of natural human language. As an example, compare the traditional version of instructions for preparing macaroni and cheese with the new and improved version. (The text is that of “Directions,” Food Club Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, Wgt. .453# (the package is distributed by ... more ] Merch! Book!

91. How To Get A Ph.D. Without Really TryingDr. Wolf Kitty, B.S. Ph.D. (4,227 visits)

How To Get A Ph.D. Without Really Trying. (And Maybe Even Get A Date In The Process). By Dr. Wolf Kitty, B.S. Ph.D.. Pick your field carefully. Do not go into mathematics. Do not choose a science, such as physics. These fields have objective standards by which your lack of contribution can be measured. Do not choose a liberal art, such as literary criticism. Here the standards are wholly and unashamedly subjective, which means that you will have to read a lot in order to find out what other people think, and then write a lot to show that what you think is exactly like what they think, only different. In the absence of objectivity, all that really matters is what your advisor thinks; so why bother with all the reading ... more ] Book!

92. Speech Disorders as Indicators of Potential for Lyrical SuccessOzzie Tchomzkij (4,176 visits)

Speech Disorders as Indicators of, Potential for Lyrical Success. by Ozzie Tchomzkij, Rock Glossologist to the Stars. In recent decades, there has been a subtle shift in popular music, as the idea that the human voice itself can be considered an instrument, rather than merely a delivery system for lyrics, has gained widespread acceptance among the general public. This has led to the recognition and thus to the success of such singers as Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, and Pat Benatar, whose ethereal voices have a purity of tone unmatched among mere mortals. Most singers looking to make a name for themselves, though, do not have the kind of staggering talent that, for example, the divine Kate Bush does. However, those who are ... more ] Podcast!

93. Vol CLI, No 4 (4,118 visits)

SPECULATIVE GRAMMARIAN, Special ... Issue, Volume CLI, Number 4, October 2006, ... “I used to think, now I just read Speculative Grammarian. —Noarn Chornsky, SPECIAL GUEST EDITOR Terry Langendoen, MANAGING EDITOR, Trey Jones, SENIOR EDITOR, Keith Slater, EDITOR EMERITUS, Tim Pulju, ASSOCIATE EDITORS, Clif Armstrong, Adam Baker, Daniel Currie Hall, Martin Hilpert, Damon Lord, Steven Lulich, Kean Kaufmann, Sheila McCann, Ken Miner, David J. Peterson, Bill Spruiell, Mikael Thompson, Jim Unger, Rita Watson, Joey Whitford, ... more ]

94. Podcast—The Uncanny Science of Linguistic Reconstruction (4,086 visits)

Speculative Grammarian proudly re-presents “The Uncanny Science of Linguistic Reconstruction” by Timothy Pulju. Originally presented at TEDxDartmouth 2011. ©2011 TEDxDartmouth; licensed under the Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). ... watch ]

95. Vol CL, No 3 (4,085 visits)

SPECULATIVE GRAMMARIAN, Special Swimsuit Issue, Volume CL, Number 3, July 2005, ... MANAGING EDITOR, Trey Jones, EDITOR EMERITUS, Tim Pulju, SENIOR EDITOR, Keith Slater, ASSOCIATE EDITORS, Bryan Allen, Mark de Vries, Steven Lulich, Sheila McCann, Jamin Pelkey, Mikael Thompson, Bill Spruiell, Rob van der Sandt, Joey Whitford, N = R* · fp · ne · fl · fi · fc · L, ... more ]

96. The Wrathful Dispersion Controversy: A Canadian PerspectiveQ. Pheevr (4,054 visits)

The Wrathful Dispersion Controversy: A Canadian Perspective. by Q. Pheevr. Linguists here in Canada have been following closely, with a mixture of amusement, bemusement, and, it must be admitted, a little trepidation, the deliberations of our neighbours to the south, who are currently considering, in a courtroom in Pennsylvania, whether “Wrathful Dispersion Theory,” as it is called, should be taught in the public schools alongside evolutionary theories of historical linguistics. It is an emotionally charged question, for linguistics is widely and justifiably seen as the centrepiece of the high-school science curriculuma hard science, but not a difficult one to do in the classroom; an area of ... more ]

97. Vol CLI, No 3 (4,048 visits)

SPECULATIVE GRAMMARIAN, Canadian Edition Volume CLI, Number 3, July 2006, ... dx, = x(α - βy), dy, = -y(γ - δx), ... dt, dt, SPECIAL GUEST EDITOR Sheri Wells-Jensen, MANAGING EDITOR, Trey Jones, SENIOR EDITOR, Keith Slater, EDITOR EMERITUS, Tim Pulju, ASSOCIATE EDITORS, Bryan Allen, Adam Baker, Daniel Currie Hall, Martin Hilpert, Damon Lord, Steven Lulich, Kean Kaufmann, David Mead, Sheila McCann, Ken Miner, Jamin Pelkey, David J. Peterson, Mikael Thompson, Bill Spruiell, Rita Watson, Joey Whitford, ... more ]

98. What is Linguistics Good For, Anyway?Jonathan van der Meer (4,043 visits)

What is Linguistics Good For, Anyway?. An Advice Column by Jonathan “Crazy Ivan” van der Meer. The most commonly asked question of a linguist, when one’s secret is revealed, is (all together now!): “How many languages do you speak?” I’ve decided that a good answer to this question is π. More than three, less than fourthough if you discover that your interlocutor is singularly unsophisticated or otherwise from Kansas, you can call it three to keep things simple. A less commonly asked, but almost certainly as frequently considered questions is, “So, what is linguistics good for, anyway?” That one is harder to answerat least if you ... more ] Podcast! Book!

99. How Many is Umpteen?Ura Hogg (4,005 visits)

How Many is Umpteen?. A Linguistic and Mathematical Exploration and Explanation. brought to you by Ura Hogg, of Skaroo University 1, and the Letter U. We have all heard various people use the quasi-numerical expression umpteen to refer to a largish number of items, as in (1) below: (1) I have umpteen things to do before I can leave. What I plan to do in this brief paper is to determine how many umpteen is. First I feel I must in part justify the claim that umpteen can in fact refer to an exact numerical quantity despite its varying use. Though we often use vague number expressions such as in (2) and (3) below, we nearly as often use exact, though large, expressions, such as a ... more ] Book!

100. The Original English MovementAnnouncement (3,997 visits)

Announcement The Original English Movement. For decades descriptive linguists and professional prescriptivists--technical writers, editors, and English teachers--have been at war. As most linguists know all too — The Original, English Movement, seeks to resolve the, conflict between, descriptivists and, prescriptivists by, fully embracing the, notion that English, should not, change--not now, not in the future, not even in the past. — well, the prescriptivists say that descriptivism is at best a weak philosophy of usage, and at worst an invitation to grammatical chaos. However, too many prescriptivists maintain what is, to descriptivists, an illogical position: ... more ] Podcast!

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Last updated Jun. 25, 2018.