Most Popular Pages—Last 30 Days

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1. Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t KnowMadalena Cruz-Ferreira (625 visits)

Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know, (because they aren’t actually true), gathered at great personal risk of, psycholinguistic harm from actual student papers, by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira Beginner Speculations. This collection of students’ pearls of wisdom, laboriously digitised from hand-written papersno slips of the keyboard or spell-checker auto-corrections can be blamed for these beautiesdemonstrates how students new to the study of language speculate about grammar after having imperfectly absorbed what their teachers think they have taught them. The English languageHistorical Aspects. The arrival of the Anglo-Saxon ... more ] Book!

2. BabelThe Priority of Written LanguageAndreas Paplopogous (286 visits)

The Priority of Written Language. One of the principle tenets of modern American linguistics is the priority of spoken as opposed to written language. This priority is understood both as importance as an object of study and as temporal precedence. Temporal precedence is further taken to include both ontogenetic and historical precedence; that is, as students in introductory linguistics classes are repeatedly told, children learn to understand speech and to speak themselves before they learn to read and to write, while historically (more properly prehistorically), the story goes, humanity had already been speaking for tens of thousands of years by the time writing was invented. It is this last conclusion, that speech ... more ]

3. Vol CLXXXIII, No 4 (281 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXIII, 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, Virginia Bouchard Emily Davis Vincent Fish Deak Kirkham Yuval Wigderson, Editorial Associates, Samuel Andersson Bethany Carlson James Pasto Mary Shapiro, Joey Whitford, Comptroller General We Jest Because We Care... Wait, No, We Jest Because We Don’t February 2019 ... more ]

4. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (181 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!

5. About Us (177 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!

6. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (171 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!

7. More Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t KnowMadalena Cruz-Ferreira (169 visits)

More Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know, (because they aren’t actually true), gathered at great personal risk of, psycholinguistic harm from actual student tests, by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira This second collection of students’ pearls of wisdom, laboriously digitised from hand-written test answers (with italics added for clarity), demonstrates once again how students new to the study of language speculate about grammar after having imperfectly absorbed what their teachers think they have taught them. Test question Explain whether the demonstratives belong to the same part of speech in this sentence: That tastes nice but this curry is cold. Answers Both the demonstratives ... more ]

8. Archives (158 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 ]

9. Merchandise (155 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 ]

10. The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics (151 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 ]

11. LinguimericksBook ५९ (137 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ५९. When proposing five null morphs to follow paths ’Mid null lexica tracing lines set by maths, And with a null morphome To generate more foam, It all made for warm syntactic bubble baths —Pumptilian Perniquity, A non-standard Westron was Sméagol’s And Yoda’s speech should be illegal! But one was a baddie, The other a Jedi, So syntax does not imply morals —William Deaksworth, Morphophonetics. Socio-psycho-syntax. Prefix your tenure —Col. O. Nihilist, A language in truth universal Need not be a choice controversial: Just pick music or math, And avoid the fierce wrath Of fans of the Kurgan dispersal —Chaz Tushka, Analytical language is ... more ]

12. Against Discarding Symbols from Anglicist WritingThik W. Trals, PhD (131 visits)

Against Discarding Symbols from Anglicist Writing. Thik W. Trals, PhD, Institution of Linguistics and (Multi)Lingual Symbolism, Division of Criticism and Indignation. Many scholars of orthography (and of writing broadly) claim that Anglo-Saxon ABCs contain too many symbols. Our list of writing symbols, it is said, is too abundant. This “surplus” you may maintain, afflicts our youth, and it is also injurious to adults. Poppycock! This claim is totally without validity, as I will show in this short discussion. Gradual phasing out, or instant discarding, of particular symbols (a notion all too popular with many “scholars”) is in truth a malicious attack on orthographic civility, adoption of which ... more ]

13. Thank You, SociophoneticsThe Third Autonomous Bilborough Linguistics Circle (131 visits)

Thank You, Sociophonetics. Presented by The Third Autonomous Bilborough Linguistics Circle. It’s a complex, crazy world, and rarely more so than in the topsy turvy, rough and tumble, zig-a-zig-ah multiverse of regional and social variation in accent. If you’ve been going through your linguistics career believing in such improbable abstractions as “the phoneme” these guys’ll soon put you right with fieldwork studies that show that “underlying phoneme /α/” surfaces as pretty much everything and anything but [α] in real-world speech. And it’s not just our familiar friends such as age, sex, nose-shape and socio-economic status that can influence ... more ]

14. Tim Pulju’s The History of Rome (128 visits)

Tim Pulju’s The History of Rome . Are you looking for a book about ancient Roman history that’s interesting, informative, and amusing? No? Oh. Well, all the same, as long as you’re on this webpage already, we’d like to recommend that you buy Tim Pulju’s The History of Rome. Easy to read, full of genuine historical facts, and adorned with amateurish hand-drawn pictures, The History of Rome is so good that even Girolamo Savonarola might hesitate to cast it into the flames. And best of all, it’s only $6.99! Buy one now! Interested, but wary of being burned by a slick advertising campaign for a product that fails to live up to the hype? Then download the free preview and read ... more ]

15. Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ⠼⠊Mary Shapiro (128 visits)

Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ⠼⠊. 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 ]

16. Psammeticus Press (124 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. The SpecGram Compendious Compendium of Linguists’ Dessert Recipes by Dàn Gāo & Gatt O. Cooxen Published 2018. 412 pages (with 397 full-color photographs) While there are many possible metrics for the ... more ]

17. Folk EntomologiesA Letter from SpecGram Intern-Wrangler Col. Curtis Kirby-Girdle (124 visits)

Folk Entomologies. A Letter from SpecGram Intern-Wrangler Col. Curtis Kirby-Girdle. It has recently come to our attention that Leeds Trinity’s School of Journalism has issued a harsh weather advisory to its instructors urging them not use capital letters or don’t prohibitives when writing to their students for fear of upsetting and oppressing them. The common refrain among commenters seems to be along these lines: I CAN’T BELIEVE SCHOOLS DO THIS KIND OF THING. IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE CAPITAL LETTERS AND THE OCCASIONAL DON’T HOW WILL YOU SURVIVE IN THE REAL WORLD?!OH GOD NOT DOUBLE PUNCTUATION!? WAIT, AGAIN??? EEEK!!!! <faint> On the other ... more ]

18. Ministry of Propaganda (123 visits)

The SpecGram Ministry of Propaganda. Welcome to the SpecGram Ministry of Propaganda. The SpecGram Archive Elves™ have undertaken a project to digitize and share a sheaf of early 20th century SpecGram propaganda posters, which were used during the Great Linguistic War and the Second Linguistic War to encourage linguists everywhere to keep a stiff upper lip and a sense of humor during those trying times. We provide the digitized posters here for you to enjoy, retrospect on, and share. Select a poster to see a higher quality image, and for links to share on social media, to email friends, and to view or download the highest quality version of the image. If you have ideas for other messages that need ... more ]

19. Even More Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t KnowMadalena Cruz-Ferreira (122 visits)

Even More Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know, (because they aren’t actually true), gathered at great personal risk of, psycholinguistic harm from actual student tests, by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira This third collection of students’ pearls of wisdom, laboriously digitised from hand-written test answers, demonstrates yet again how students new to the study of language speculate about grammar after having imperfectly absorbed what their teachers may think they have taught them. The English languageGrammatical aspects. Indian English is a self-contented system following its own set of rules. Language, as Spoken by Linguists “There’s a ... more ] Book!

20. Linguistic CocktailsThe SpecGram Mixologists (121 visits)

Prepared and extensively taste-tested, by the SpecGram Mixologists. Interest in cocktails has had a resurgence lately, with people trying new combinations and reviving forgotten blends. We shouldn’t forget the long history the grand subfield of Mixological Linguistics has. Below is a mix of old favorites and new delights. The Newmeyer 1 martini, dry, with olive 1 gin and tonic ... Disparage the martini vigorously for ten to twenty years, arguing that no real establishment should serve it. Urge everyone to drink gin and tonic (“the one true cocktail”) instead. Redefine “gin and tonic” so that it can refer to lots of things other than a cocktail that has gin in it, and tonic. ... more ] Podcast!

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Last updated Feb. 20, 2019.