Most Popular Pages—Last 7 Days

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1. Cartoon Theories of Linguistics Part 3Morphological TypologyPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (76 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!

2. People for the Ethical Treatment of WugsAdvertorial (71 visits)

ADVERTORIAL People for the Ethical Treatment of Wugs. It’s time to stop experimentation on Wugs in Linguistic Labs. The majestic wug (Coturnix neologistica) has long been a favourite of linguists. Its small size, docile nature and remarkable distribution around the world have meant that it has always been easy, if morally indefensible, to pin it to a piece of paper and display it to informants. Yet wugen are much more than mere linguistic curiosities. While previous studies have pointed out their close social structures and life-long mating, few have mentioned their capacity to feel pain. This is, of course, demonstrated by their emission of a long “wuuuuuug” sound. Therefore, we at PETW stand ... more ]

3. “A Linguist’s Life is Pretty Dull”: A Letter from the Editor-at-Bat (65 visits)

“A Linguist’s Life is Pretty Dull”. A Letter from the Editor-at-Bat, Butch McBastard. ... April whinges about her sad life as a linguist in the comic strip Judge Parker. To the dismay of U.S. Government Linguists everywhere, in the February 27, 2009 strip for the comic Judge Parker, by Woody Wilson and Eduardo Barreto, the character April says, speaking of her recent employment history with the CIA, “A linguist’s life is fairly dull...not what I expected! What I’m doing now is much more rewarding!” Three years ago, three U.S. Government linguists, A. Nonymous, Linguist (CIA Covert Linguistics Program), B. Nonymous, Linguist (FBI Overt Linguistics Program), and C. ... more ]

4. Davie Dunnit’s Disparaging DictionaryAdvertisement (62 visits)

ADVERTISEMENT Davie Dunnit’s Disparaging Dictionary . Practical Prescriptivism at its Finest!. ... Davie Dunnit’s Disparaging Dictionary will help you understand exactly how annoying your tiresome attempts to be “cool” or “hip” or “groovy” are to those around you who have matured, emotionally and mentally, beyond the elementary school level. Some linguists may be tsk-tsking at this point, but they can think of Davie Dunnit’s Practical Prescriptivism as less about dictating usage and more about explaining the sociolinguistic reality of word choice to the lexically inept. Below are a few sample entries. anyhooAre you ... more ] Podcast!

5. Introducing Hawelshi'ianPidge N. Kriolio (56 visits)

BREAKING LINGUISTIC NEWS Introducing Hawelshi'ian. New Language Brings Sense of Acceptance To Speakers Honolulu, Hawai'i--In a bold move sure to have language mavens everywhere either clucking "tsk-tsk" in disapproval or gasping "oooo" in admiration, a mixed group of Hawai'ian and Welsh speakers have come together to merge their two languages into one, the result of which they hope will be, in their words, "less of a laughing stock." "Hawai'ian is made fun of all the time for being 'nothing but vowels'," said A'ia'e Ia'e'iia--a native speaker of Hawai'ian--as she made angry air quotes. "And Welsh is ridiculed for having nothing but consonants," continued her brother-in-linguistic-arms and native Welsh speaker, Llwyd ... more ]

6. Seeking Part-Time Tea Person/Interactional LinguistAdvertisement (51 visits)

ADVERTISEMENT Seeking Part-Time Tea Person / Interactional Linguist. The Catterton Left-Handed Institute of Linguistics seeks a part-time tea person/interactional linguist. The successful candidate will possess a PhD in a relevant field with at least three publications in 4-star journals alongside which s/he will have not fewer than 5-years tea-making and serving experience (in academia or beyond). The role is 0.6 FTE and requires membership in the Yorkshire Federation of Teapersonages, with which the appointee is expected to engage by making a presentation on the role of tea in academia on at least one occasion, and teaching the module LX3900 “Why, when and how people say er in ... more ]

7. Vol CLXXXIV, No 4 (47 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXIV, Number 4 ... Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief Keith Slater, Executive Editor Mikael Thompson, Senior Editor Jonathan Downie, Contributing Editor, Associate Editors, Pete Bleackley Mark Mandel, Assistant Editors, Emily Davis Vincent Fish Deak Kirkham Yuval Wigderson, Editorial Associates, Joe McAvoy Tel Monks Mary Shapiro, Joey Whitford, Comptroller General It’s Enough to Make One See the Bright Side of Anarchy June 2019 ... more ]

8. A Natural History of the WugRodabaugh Venditto (44 visits)

A Natural History of the Wug. Rodabaugh Venditto, Natural Language History Unit. The Wug, or Papuan White Quail (Coturnix neologistica), is a small, white or pale blue, ground-dwelling bird from the Old World Quail (Coturnix) family. It is found only in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Being of a timid disposition, and living in dense undergrowth, it has rarely been seen by outsiders and almost never photographed. Its appearance is known to the outside world mainly by the simple line drawings made of it by the Nappaholi people, for whom it is a totemic animal. Wugs mate for life, and pairs are inseparable, so much so that on sighting a wug, the next thing you are likely to say is “Now there are two ... more ]

9. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (39 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!

10. Good Enough for Folk EtymologyPart VA. Pocryphal & Verity du Bius (34 visits)

Good Enough for Folk Etymology Part V. A. Pocryphal & Verity du Bius, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. The SpecGram Archive Elves recently made another large collection of documents available to the XQK Directorate, leaving them on our doorstep in black plastic sacks in the middle of the night. In order to avoid any more unfortunate incidents involving a cucumber, a marmot, or the Director’s favorite coffee mug, we were given the task of cataloging these documents. Going through the collection, we have found again that, while apparently lacking provenance (which the Archive Elves still attribute to a bizarre set of circumstances obscurely ... more ]

11. About Us (32 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!

12. Archives (31 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 ]

13. The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature (29 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, compiled ... more ]

14. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (28 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!

15. Vol CLXXV, No 1 (28 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXV, Number 1 Sēsquiplicātus स्टफ Ἡμι-Demi-Семи- Μέγα Issue ... Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief Keith Slater, Executive Editor Bill Spruiell, Senior Editor Sheri Wells-Jensen, Consulting Editor, Associate Editors, Pete Bleackley Madalena Cruz-Ferreira Jonathan Downie Mikael Thompson, Assistant Editors, Virginia Bouchard Florian Breit Mark Mandel Yuval Wigderson, Editorial Associates, Adam Baker Bethany Carlson Peter Carrillo Tel Monks Davis Prickett Laura Ryals Brock Schardin Mary Shapiro Isabelle Tellier Anna Weingarten, Joey Whitford, Comptroller General I love a good creole. It’s got that new language smell. ... more ]

16. R’s Are Ours!Hugh Kipper (27 visits)

R’s Are Ours!. Hugh Kipper. It is absurd that English linguists refer to “rhotic” dialects of English. Rho is not an English letter! “Rhotic” is another one of those fancy foreign words smuggled into academia by some Eton toff who wanted to bandy about his knowledge of ancient languages like a giant todger. Well, excuse me if I come off looking like a boorish johnson, but I say, “No deal!” Greek terminology takes English linguistics and wrecks it. It’s time for rhexit. When we speakers of proper English dialects logically pronounce intervocalic “t” as /t/, we don’t say that it’s “tautological”. Imagine the optics if we derided ... more ]

17. Speaking in TonguesA Letter from Charismatic Editor Eakd Hirmkak (26 visits)

Speaking in Tongues. A Letter from Charismatic Editor Eakd Hirmkak. Now, I’ve been working away in the language sciences for over 20 years, but was amazed the other day when I was flicking through the classified advertisements in my local newspaper to read that the term linguist actually derives from the Latin lingua meaning both “language” and “tongue”. Apparently, this is also reflected even in English expressions like “your native tongue” “speaking in tongues” “tongue-tied” and “has the cat got your tongue”. Well I never. Anyway, all this insight, quite rightly, got me thinking all about tongues, what they are and what we do ... more ]

18. Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ИMary Shapiro (26 visits)

Cryptolinguistic Puzzle И. Mary Shapiro, Truman State University. Like other cryptic crosswords, the clues in this puzzle are not straightforward. Unlike most, however, this one focuses mainly on languages and linguistics. For instance, the clue for Zapotec might be “Oto-Manguean variety alters pez coat” (anagram of pez coat), or “Indigenous Mexican language to destroy overtime prior to European Commission” (ZAP + O.T. + E.C.), or “a nice top, a zany blouse conceals retro Oaxacan language” (niCE TOP, A Zany), or many other combinations of puns, anagrams, or typographic quirks. Punctuation in clues is often misleading. Each clue contains both a ... more ]

19. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (25 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!

20. LinguimericksBook ६३ (24 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ६३. In ‘Socrates seems to be pink’ It’s the seems makes semanticists think: ‘How might I express it In some modal logic? With x (where x = strong drink)’ —William Deakspeare, A millipede said, “I am beat! My scansion will never be neat. For when I write limericks, Whatever my clever tricks, I always have too many feet.” —Pete Bleackley, By our seeking distinctions discriminable, And eschewing the merely subliminable, We avoid idealism In the name of realism And the strictly phonetically delimitable —Pumptilian Perniquity, Cackalackadaisical While searching for the source of cackalacky An etymologist from th’Old ... more ]

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Last updated Jun. 26, 2019.