Most Popular Pages—Last 7 Days

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1. X-bar Diagram AcquisitionTel Monks (375 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 ]

2. Vol CLXXXVI, No 2 (144 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXVI, Number 2 ... Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief; Keith Slater, Executive Editor; Mikael Thompson, Senior Editor; Jonathan Downie, Senior Editor, Pete Bleackley, Contributing Editor; Associate Editors: Mark Mandel, Deak Kirkham; Assistant Editors: Emily Davis, Vincent Fish, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Brenda Boerger, Joe McAvoy, Steve Politzer-Ahles, Mary Shapiro, Megan Stevens, Daniel Swanson; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; The Best of Journals, The Worst of Journals; December 2019 ... more ]

3. University News (98 visits)

University News. TV Chef and Government Boffins Spruce Up Linguini with Linguistics. by Ruthlessly Roving Reporter Miss Deakina Andrea Kirkhamia Celebrity chef Claudesia van O’Hara, famous for her pioneering reality TV cheffing programme Cook-a-Doodle-Doo, has teamed up with linguists from the Southport Institute of Language Investigation and the Basildon Institute of Linguistic Inquiry (SILI-BILI) to investigate how lexical and grammatical constructs can add, in her words, “taste, tone, texture and adventure” to food and cooking. In a series of six programmes, O’Hara will be mixing standard linguistic constructs such as place of ... more ]

4. Letters to the Editor (CLXXXVI.2) (64 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Mes chers eds, Mes amis, I note with distress the unedited abuse committed on the Franglais language by your recent correspondent, Sign Up The Trees O’Soufflé who rants most uncharmingly about perceived Hellenic oversights on your part. Oh la ironie! In an error more grave than imposing a fleur-de-lis on the Tricolore, Synope himself is guilty of a grave abuse of the Franglais tongueas are yourselves for permitting this. To wit, in respect of his phrase passé issues, it should be clear to even the most naïve of editors that in choosing to select an adjective of French origin to modify the noun, this adjective should, at the very least, ... more ]

5. The Gift of LanguageThe SpecGram Christmas Elves™ (55 visits)

The Gift of Language. The S p e c G r a m C h r i s t m a s E l v e s ™ *. As Christmas approaches, there’s little else on the mind of the average, normal, well-adjusted and socially acceptable citizen of the average western democracy than “Buy, buy, buy!” We follow the example set by the Nativity story§ by buying plastic guns for our nephews and oddly-coloured ties for our fathers. But can we as language lovers, being that touch more enlightened than our fellows, expect ourselves to look a little further and to reach a little higher? Howsoever much a mega box of chocolates or a Lego Millenium Falcon says “Happy Christmas, ... more ]

6. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (55 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: We gave the monkeys the bananas because they were hungry/over-ripe. Time/Fruit flies like a(n) arrow/banana. pretty little girl’s school crying computational linguist Up next: Lexicostatistics vs Glottochronology. References, Baeza-Yates, Ricardo and Berthier Ribeiro-Neto (1999). Modern Information ... more ] Merch! Book!

7. Linguistics Nerd CampBethany Carlson (52 visits)

Linguistics Nerd Camp. Bethany Carlson. Marsha and her thesis made a cute couple, but their friends worried she was trying to change him ... more ] Podcast! Book!

8. Micro-Commando Diachron-5 Auction/vɝnənz viː eɪtʃ ɛs vɔlt/ (49 visits)

/vɝnənz viː eɪtʃ ɛs vɔlt/, —Presents for Auction—, Micro-Commando Diachron-5. The one and only /vɝnənz viː eɪtʃ ɛs vɔlt/ is pleased to present another rare and valuable VHS tape for auction! ... From the back cover: Now you can see the wondrous world of imagination and a powerful new vision of approaches to linguistics. A young intellectual language is facing death. To save it, “micro-commandos” are sent into its semiotic body. And now, we see another world in its semiotic body. The wicked alien “ButMuhGrammar” destroys the languageship, “language fighter” and tries to ... more ]

9. LinguimericksBook ६९ (48 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ६९. Derek Bickerton Argued and bickered on ’Bout creole and pidgin, As though ’twas his religion —Clara Hu, Linguists’ articles are bad, that’s for sure; Technical writing just has no allure. How to write up your stuff Without pretentious fluff? Linguimerickicization’s the cure —Morris Swadesh III, ‘The head of the sentence is I’? Asked the student with wide open eye ‘But why not the predicate? Enough with this headache! It Just makes me think why do I try?’ —William Deaksworth, It’s known dogs are insipid and dumb, And that cats are deceitful and numb, Yet we treat some as high-bred Who act worse than a ... more ]

10. The No. 1 Linguists’ Detective AgencyKeith Slater (46 visits)

The No. 1 Linguists’ Detective Agency. Found among the papers of Alexander McCall Smith by Keith W. Slater. M̥ma Makutsi had just poured the tea. Red bush tea for M̥ma Ramotswe, and ordinary tea for M̥ma Makutsi, who preferred ordinary tea and had told M̥ma Ramotswe so, though not until after a long period of uneasiness and indecision. That had been in the early days of the Agency, before M̥ma Makutsi had become an Assistant Detective and had become engaged to the morphologist Phuti Redupliphuti, indeed even before M̥ma Ramotswe, who founded the Agency, had become the wife of Mr. N.L.P. Matekoni, the finest computational linguist in all of Gabarone, in all of Botswana, perhaps even in ... more ] Podcast!

11. The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (44 visits)

The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective. Are you in a world of linguistic hurt? The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (SLAC) will offer you empirical, empathic, emphatic advice you can use!* Remember, if you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, then you don’t need advice! So, if you need advice, trust usand cut yourself some SLAC! ... Dear SLAC, How come when I tell someone my name, they always hear a ‘B’ when I say a ‘V’: McAboy vs McAvoy? And yet I never hear any confusion the other way around when spelling out a word with a ‘B’ in it? Why is the confusion only from V to B and not the other way around? ... more ]

12. Ps. Q.Pisces’ Playpen (43 visits)

Pisces’ Playpen. [Editor’s Note: We regret that space was previously wanting for inclusion of the final part of Dr. Porcus Pisces’ commentary on the Latin translation of a Greek rendering of the anonymous inscriptions alleged to be an account of Phoenician experiments in animal communication; we present herein then the final portion of this work, continued from Vol I, No. 1 of this journal. The learned community, as always, is invited to respond.] and is said to have “talked with the animals.” Given, however, the extreme prejudice prevailing at the time in Phoenicia against inhumane experimentation with aquatic species, it soon became justifiable to dissect the finny tribes for linguistic ... more ]

13. Decoupling the Linguolabial Trill From Its Ideobatian AssociationEunice Emigre (43 visits)

Decoupling the Linguolabial Trill From Its Ideobatian Association. Eunice Emigre, Professor of Maquillage in Linguistics, The Δίς Λεγόμενον Centre for Endeepened Ideation. When I first came across the Gricean associations of the otherwise respectable linguolabial trill, I immediately informed a make-up artiste I knew who had unfortunately drawn her eyebrows too high that morning. She looked surprised. Artificial pigmentation aside, it is clear that viewing the noble linguolabial trill as a mere breach of the Gricean maxim of manner is a disservice to linguistics. The uniqueness of this trill is, of course, that it unites two large, consciously movable ... more ]

14. Good Enough for Folk EtymologyPart VIIIA. Pocryphal & Verity du Bius (41 visits)

Good Enough for Folk Etymology Part VIII. 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 ]

15. Domiphones IIKeith Slater & Trey Jones (38 visits)

Domiphones II. Keith Slater & Trey Jones. Traditional Dominosa is a puzzle game that requires you to pair numbers corresponding to the faces of dominoes. You are presented with a rectangular grid of numbers. Each number must be paired with one of its vertical or horizontal neighbors. As in a set of dominoes, each numerical value pairs exactly once with each other numerical value. See the original “Domiphones and Dominasals” (SpecGram CLXXXV.1) for a simple example if you are unfamiliar with the genre. Naturally, SpecGram’s version of the puzzle involves some linguistics-related twists. Rather than boring and obvious numerals, we use symbols that linguists can enjoy and feel comfortable ... more ]

16. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (34 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!

17. A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky AntonymsJessie Sams (33 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 ]

18. The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics (33 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 ]

19. About Us (33 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!

20. 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 ]

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Last updated Dec. 10, 2019.