Most Popular Pages—Last 7 Days

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1. How Does Art Mean? Parsing the Grammar of Fine ArtMorris McConaughey (66 visits)

How Does Art Mean?, Parsing the Grammar of Fine Art. Morris McConaughey, Professor of Fluxus in Linguistics, The Δίς Λεγόμενον Centre for Endeepened Ideation. It is impossible to observe Michaelangelo’s David without the realisation that it represents the apotheosis of the Hallidayan grammar’s attempt to schematise meaning-making. From a trinocular perspective, the thighs are, of course, emblematic of the basic system, while the arms receive their metaphoric semiosis as concurrently the metafunction and meaning potential of the whole. Extending the application of linguistics to other artworks is the beating heart of this essay. Art, ... more ]



2. Letters from EsperantolandDr. Ho Ping (65 visits)

Letters from Esperantoland. Dr. Ho Ping. Our special correspondent Dr. Ho Ping keeps us up to date and in the loop with all things Esperantic. Let it not be said that Esperanto, the world’s most successful constructed language, is a language without a culture! This was of course J. R. R. Tolkien’s criticism, and has remained a perennial means of knocking the excellence of Esperanto. No more, however! At a recent gathering of La Internacia Federacio de Esperantaj Bakistoj, I was privileged to bake bread with fully Esperanto ingredients. Kiel bongusta! First up, it all started with some flashcards with the key vocabulary for baking. Familiar to any true Esperantist are faruno and ... more ]



3. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (59 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!



4. “Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill”by J–––– J––––––Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer (51 visits)

“Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill” by J–––– J––––––. From Speculative Grammarian CLI.3; July 2006. Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer. ... Double-Dot Wide O, Spoiler Alert !. It’s been more than eight years, so I’m going to go ahead and let you in on a little secret: the nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill is a pig snort, and the double-dot wide O looks like a pig snout. (Some phoneticians will argue that they themselves produce a uvular trill. They probably doespecially when reading journals less interesting than SpecGrambut ... more ]



5. Germanic Day & The Celebration of Romance (50 visits)

Germanic Day & The Celebration of Romance . We are making something known to you: Germanic Day!. Speculative Grammarian is happy to tell the world about our new yearly holidayGermanic Day! What is Germanic Day? It is a day set aside to think about the Germanic roots that can still be found in English. It gives thanks for the lasting strength of Germanic words. Germanic Day happens on October 13. That was the last day before King Harold was struck down by the Norman gang led by William, and Germanic words at the heart of English began to wane. Before that, English was all Germanic; afterwards, French loanwords took over. What will we do on Germanic Day? ... more ]



6. Merchandise (42 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 edition 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 in 2013 was The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics. In 2014, Editor Mikael Thompson entered a deep fugue ... more ]



7. “In Chaucer’s time . . .”The Liberating Joy of Do-It-Yourself EtymologiesJonathan Caws-Elwitt (42 visits)

“In Chaucer’s time. . .” The Liberating Joy of Do-It-Yourself Etymologies. by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt. [Note: This article first appeared in Verbatim: The Language Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Autumn 2005), and is reprinted here by permission —Eds.] I used to look words up in a good dictionary whenever I was curious about their origins. Time and again, what I found was that words that looked like they were related were in fact completely unrelated; while other words, which to the naked eye seemed to have no excuse for anything other than a passing acquaintanceship, were in fact on rather incestuous terms. I’ll never forget the day that the dictionary thumb-indexed its nose at me ... more ]



8. Vol CLXXXV, No 4 (41 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXV, 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: Mary Shapiro; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; Exorcising Some, Exercising Others; October 2019 ... more ]



9. Quipley’s Don’t Believe It! ... Or Do? (36 visits)

Quipley’s Don’t Believe It! ... Or Do? Frank Quipley spent some time yachting around one of the -nesias1 with his nephew Josh. A brief unscheduled stop from late morning to early evening allowed Dr. Quipley to do more fieldwork. Dr. Quipley reports on the K—— tribe, located on a remote South Pacific atoll too small to show up on any maps.2 The island is home to about 75 non-seafaring natives. The elders tell of a man and woman and a giant storm that destroyed their vaʻa. Dr. Quipley was unable to figure out the meaning of this word but is willing to venture an “educated” guess that it means banana. The island is mostly devoid of edible flora with the ... more ]



10. Son of Lingua PrancaSpore Theory: A Contribution to the Study of the Biological Foundations of Natural LanguageDavid Athletesfoot (36 visits)

Spore Theory: A Contribution to the Study of the Biological Foundations of Natural Language. by David Athletesfoot, Dilectus Christi College, Oxbridge. In recent years, much attention has been focused on the biological basis of human language. In particular, the extremely organic nature of language has manifested itself clearly in such devices as trees, branches and roots, which have established themselves firmly on theoretical linguistic soil. However, few (if any) linguists have noticed the similarities between certain types of plant life and syntactic phenomena, and even fewer are aware of the strong theoretical claims that can be made by using these types as models. I am referring, of course, to fungi. In this article, I ... more ]



11. Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ԺԱMary Shapiro (32 visits)

Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ԺԱ. 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 ]



12. Archives (32 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. A Preliminary Field Guide to Linguists, Part OneAthanasious Schadenpoodle (32 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!



14. ODE TO ALCUINANONYMOUS (31 visits)

ODE TO ALCUIN. ALCUIN, O ALCUIN, YOU RENAIS-, SANCE-Y CAROLINGIAN BASTARD, YOU HAVE GONE AND NEARLY DOUBLED, THE COUNT OF LETTERS TO BE MASTERED. FIRST AND SECOND GRADERS ALL OVER, SHOULD REVILE YOUR WICKED NAME; EVEN THEY KNOW THAT BIG AND LITTLE , LETTERS SHOULD REALLY LOOK THE SAME. A PAN-EUROPEAN ALPHABET , WAS ONCE PERHAPS A POSSIBILITY, BUT NOW WITH β, b, AND в, IT QUITE CLEARLY CANNOT COME TO B. THE DREAM OF THAT SINGLE SCRIPT IS, NO MORE, A PARADISE WISHED, BUT LOST; MERE DUST AND ASHES, THE FOOD OF WORMS, , BLOOMS SLAIN, BY YOUR MINUSCULE FROST. O ALCUIN, YOU “LOVER OF WISDOM”, FULL OF PIETY, HUMBLE AND MEEK, I BLAME YOU FOR StUdLy CaPs, AND , CamelCase, AND WORDS TOO l33t TO ... more ] Podcast!



15. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (27 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!



16. About Us (26 visits)

Speculative Grammarian and SpecGram.com. 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!



17. /nuz baɪts/ (24 visits)

/ nuz baɪts /. Not a wire news service but still more reliable than most newspapers. Superlative Chamber Hands Down Verdict. In a judgment that has shocked the linguistics world, the Superlative Chamber has delivered its verdict in Johnson, OED, Webster and Merriam vs the Internet. The Chamber was asked whether the Internet was right to call for the prorogation of the process of linguistic change, isolating British English off from languages in Europe, in a process called Lexit. Summarising the chamber’s finding, Chair Anita Rachnid spake thusly: “Thou canst not hold thineself Cnut-like against the slings and arrows of outrageous descriptivism, fo’ shizzle ... more ]



18. A Preliminary Field Guide to Linguists, Part TwoAthanasious Schadenpoodle (21 visits)

A Preliminary Field Guide to Linguists, Part Two. Athanasious Schadenpoodle, University of Nueva Escranton. Introduction The previous installment, dealing with Neoplatonicus and Functionalisticus, comprised a brief discussion of the less problematic genera in the family--less problematic in the sense that their grouping is not contested among those working in this area. This section will deal with two groups whose taxonomic status is a matter of quite some debate; to a large extent, the groupings presented should be taken as tentative, and done largely for the sake of organized presentation (cf. Gnibbes 1998 and Czechzindemeyl 1999 for representative positions on grouping of these ... more ] Podcast! Book!



19. Good Enough for Folk EtymologyPart VIIA. Pocryphal & Verity du Bius (20 visits)

Good Enough for Folk Etymology Part VII. 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 ]



20. The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics (20 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 ]



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Last updated Oct. 20, 2019.