Most Popular Pages—Last 30 Days

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1. Vol CLXXXIV, No 2 (400 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXIV, Number 2 ... 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 James Pasto Mary Shapiro, Joey Whitford, Comptroller General Now Largely Insect-Free April 2019 ... more ]

2. Writing Cult Threatening Western Civilization?Joe McAvoy (180 visits)

Writing Cult Threatening Western Civilization?. Joe McAvoy, Culture Beat Reporter. The Latin8s, an insidious writing cult with roots to the early 19th century, have re-appeared on the literary scene, threatening today’s easy reading culture with their forceful use of big words, dense writing styles and intellectually challenging content. “It’s concerning,” said Federal Bureau of Literary Pretension (FBLP) field agent Stephan Allblu, of their rapid resurgence. “People are worried.” The self-described ‘refined and elitist’ group was driven into obscurity in the early 20th century by the populist and monosyllabic Saxonsa ... more ]

3. Germanic Taboo Glottalization as a Defense Mechanism Against VowelsʔAnna-ʔEmily ʔI. ʔOlivier-ʔUnderhill (170 visits)

Germanic Taboo Glottalization as a, Defense Mechanism Against Vowels. ʔAnna-ʔEmily ʔI. ʔOlivier-ʔUnderhill. It has been claimed by a reliable source (Fayce-Booke, 2018) that no Germanic language truly has vowel-initial words; rather, all the words we think start with vowels actually start with a glottal stop. Examining the empirical truth of this claim is beyond the scope of this paper; rather, I will seek to explain why. As the anthropological saying goes, anything in a culture that can’t be easily explained must have a religious or ceremonial function (Some Blog Comment or Something I Read Once, n.d.). Similar reasoning applies to sound changes: if we ... more ]

4. 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 ]

5. Letters to the Editor (CLXXXIV.2) (153 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Dear sirs/ma’ams, In your recent NewsNibble, your reporter wrote regarding E-Prime, “The English variant, in which all forms of the verbs ‘to be’ and ‘to have’ are eliminated to try to improve clarity and reduce discrimination...” and added that “Experts at EnPhoWahrs University have pointed out that a similar, albeit less-restrictive, version of the rule is in existence in Russian...” Please note that while Russian doesn’t have a copula in the present (it does in the past and future), it does have a verb of existence, есть. It also does have a verb of possession, иметь as ... more ]

6. Realistic Linguistic DegreesAdvertisement (148 visits)

ADVERTISEMENT Realistic Linguistic Degrees. Are you tired of the real work that went into your research receiving no reward? Do you want your qualifications to reflect your actual skills? Our new Department of Realistic Linguistic PhDs has the course for you! Here are just a few examples: PhD in Crying over Data (3 years + 12 counselling sessions) If gathering your data meant staying up all night hoping your drunk informants weren’t lying about the local gavagai population, this degree is for you. PhD in Arcane University Admin Did you spent your time plying the department secretary with chocolate in the hope of getting the code for the department photocopier? This PhD shows you know your stuff. ... more ]

7. Springing into SpringA Letter from Climatological Editor Ka-ed Krimkha (143 visits)

Springing into Spring. A Letter from Climatological Editor Ka-ed Krimkha. Spring is in the air! Inch-by-inch, the rose-garlanded maiden who is the personification of the season of new life tenderly pulls back the black tarpaulin that the crotchety old git of Winter has laid down over the garden. And lo: there’s daffodils and stuff. Now personifications are all well and good in their place if you’re a “text linguist” or worse a “literature” person: but we’re linguists, and we deal in words, dontcha know! And so the thought arises, much as the new shoots of spring’s first plants poke their eager headlets out from beneath the warming earth: what goes with this word ... more ]

8. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (141 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!

9. LinguimericksBook ६१ (136 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ६१. My work on the causal because-clause Was rejected by publishing scofflaws. When asked why that was, There was scarcely a pause Before they replied, “Well, because flaws.” —Pumptilian Perniquity, The limerick’s pattern’s forgiving, And linguists break rules for a living; When the SpecGramming crew Writes a linguimerick or two, It may happen that some abstract and idealized underlying form must be posited in order to make the last line fit the rhyme and meter —Morris Swadesh III, At the Library A crucial bookgone! Checked out by a professor— Indefinitely —Lauren Ipsum, A cohort of philologists Was asked to take pop culture ... more ]

10. Rasmus Rask Mini Puzzle IXLila Rosa Grau (134 visits)

Rasmus Rask Mini Puzzle IX. by Lila Rosa Grau. This is the ninth Rasmus Rask puzzle, devoted to the original Mr. Charming Scandinavian Linguist. The puzzle is similar to a crossword puzzle, in that there is a grid for filling in words and phrases, and clues for the ACROSS and DOWN directions. However, all the squares in a Rasmus Rask puzzle are filled with letters, and the answers to the clues may (but are not required to) overlap. Clues for a particular row or column are given together, in the order they appear in the grid. No indication of the amount of overlap between clues is given. Letters spelling out RASMUS RASK along the diagonal are given to provide a framework for filling in the answers. Grey ... more ]

11. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (133 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!

12. K-LIŊ Linguistic Radio (130 visits)

K-LIŊ Linguistic Radio. In an attempt to attract more people to Linguistics, not only was there an increase in the number of pop songs and films produced by and for linguists, but there was also a short-lived linguistic radio station broadcasting from Dogtooth, North Dakota, in the 1990s. The signal was so weak that the estimated listenership peaked at twelve. Once sheep and farm cats were subtracted from the total, this dropped to four. However, one listener, Nantucket McWhiskey, accidentally recorded some short snippets of the station by accident while trying to record a mix-tape for his beau. The following segment has been transcribed by SpecGram interns at great personal cost. DJ: That was MT ... more ]

13. University News (129 visits)

University News. Great Hare Linguistics: Noom Nibblesky. by Ruthlessly Roving Reporter Miss Deakina Andrea Kirkhamia Noom Nibblesky has established his place in the forefront of Hare linguistics. After his debut book last year which attacked the traditional understanding of Hare language as a structure much like a lettuce leaf with peripheral, “social” elements occupying the outer leaves of the lingulettuce, and central “heart”-like components expressed as lexicalisations of formal rules, Nibblesky has now taken a fresh direction adopting the metaphor of the warren instead. Here language is seen as an interconnecting warren-like structure, almost like a ... more ]

14. About Us (127 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!

15. Good Enough for Folk EtymologyPart IVA. Pocryphal & Verity du Bius (125 visits)

Good Enough for Folk Etymology Part IV. 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, by 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 ]

16. Podcast—Language Made Difficult, Vol. L (117 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 ]

17. The Necessity of Sound Theoretical Frameworks in Linguistic EducationNoah McMosky (116 visits)

The Necessity of Sound Theoretical, Frameworks in Linguistic Education. Noah McMosky, Professor of Abstract Syntax, University of Ledworth. Theoretical Linguistics has the loftiest of goals, namely the creation of a theoretical framework that can explain the features of all languages. Lamentably, however, the pursuit of this goal is often frustrated by the activities of field linguists, who seem to take perverse delight in presenting data that apparently contradicts whatever theory seems most promising at the time. Sometimes, the data can be reanalysed in a more reasonable fashion, but to this day I remember my bitter disappointment as a young postdoctoral fellow when no amount of analysis would make Welsh and Hebrew yield to ... more ] Podcast!

18. The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics (105 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. You Xould be Using ColEctivO X!®™The Birthifying of an Executive Modal VerbExecutivized Linguistickish Solutionizers, Inc. (99 visits)

You Xould be Using ColEctivO X!®™, The Birthifying of an Executive Modal Verb. Atherton Brock Carrington Delancey Eastburn, CEO Farnsworth Godfrey Holden Ingram Jamison, Jr. CFO Keaton Livingston Merriweather Northrup Osborne, III, CIO Peyton Quinn Roane Sinclair Thurston, Jr. COO and, with only mild disdain, Upton Vanderbilt Windsor Xavier Yancy Zimmerman, Sr. CTO Executivized Linguistickish Solutionizers, Inc.. Time is Money. —Benjamin Franklin Of course, it is important that a person as important as the “Chief Executive Officer” have a title that sounds appropriately important. But it can be both tiring and tiresome to have to enunciate and/or listen ... more ]

20. Ministry of Propaganda (97 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 ]

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Last updated Apr. 19, 2019.