Most Popular Pages—Last 30 Days

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1. Collateral Descendant of Lingua PrancaMinimalism: The MovieDavid Ingram (305 visits)

Minimalism: The Movie. David Ingram. Stu Slipschitz tugged his pants up over his hefty 46 inch girth and entered the door to Walter’s office. “Here” he announced, tossing the manuscript onto Walter’s desk, “is our next blockbuster.” The manuscript was David Mamet’s latest script, “Minimalism: The Movie”. “What’s it about?” Walter asked. “It is a gripping story about a linguistic theory, its birth, growth, and struggle for survival. You’ll laugh, cry, and never think the same way about DPs, merge operations, and even LF. I was so choked up over the loss of d-structure that I could barely talk.” “Hm, I do think about DPs a lot, ... more ]

2. Vol CLXXXIV, No 4 (299 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 ]

3. Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ИMary Shapiro (180 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 ]

4. People for the Ethical Treatment of WugsAdvertorial (169 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 ]

5. Speaking in TonguesA Letter from Charismatic Editor Eakd Hirmkak (162 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 ]

6. Good Enough for Folk EtymologyPart VA. Pocryphal & Verity du Bius (161 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 ]

7. R’s Are Ours!Hugh Kipper (160 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 ]

8. University News (158 visits)

University News. Possessive -s Relabelled by the International Confederation of Linguistic Nomenclature, Terminology, and Lexicon (IntCoLiNoTeLe). by Ruthlessly Roving Reporter Miss Deakina Andrea Kirkhamia The familiar, if idiosyncratic, feature of English—possessive -s—is under unprecedented scrutiny tonight after the findings of a three-year long investigation into the underlying make-up of the famous nominal clitic were published early yesterday morning. The International Confederation of Linguistic Nomenclature, Terminology, and Lexicon (IntCoLiNoTeLe) announced at a press conference in the middle of Woodhouse Moor, Preston, UK, that an analysis of an extensive ... more ]

9. Letters to the Editor (CLXXXIV.4) (142 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Dear old dud(e)s: You recently wrote, “none of this comes as any surprise to us, having spent a century in Houston.” Nosy minds want to inquire: Is that century collective, institutional, or (shudder of shudders) individual? Sincerely, Herr Doktor Bernhard Jung-Pönque ... Dear blowhard young punk: The title of the referenced editorial must be read ironically. Words fly, but time there crawlsit has been suggested that the humidity in the air renders it too viscous for time to take flight, though others have pointed to the deleterious effects of the petrochemical effluents, and still others posit a New World variety of sleeping sickness. We ourselves lean towards all three. ... more ]

10. Seeking Part-Time Tea Person/Interactional LinguistAdvertisement (142 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 ]

11. Archives (138 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 ]

12. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (136 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!

13. LinguimericksBook ६३ (135 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 ]

14. Hippotomia of TyreThe Phreeee-Phinkin’ Philosophers of Philologogia and The SpecGram Encyclopedia of Linguistic Deities (127 visits)

Hippotomia of Tyre. Presented by, The Phreeee-Phinkin’ Philosophers of Philologogia, and The SpecGram Encyclopedia of Linguistic Deities . Who can forget the goddess Hippotomia of Tyre, the ancient Syrian Goddess of wh-movement? Anthropologists of religion see her as originally a horse deity, with material cultural artefacts from the 3rd millennium BC depicting her as seated astride a magnificent four-headed horse and consuming custard slices. However, with the shift of ancient Syrian from a wh-in situ language to a wh-fronted language, her divine roles and responsibilities gradually shifted to encompass these aspects of the language. At the peak of her popularity, she was honored ... more ]

15. To the Computational LinguistsA Letter from the Managing Editor (124 visits)

To the Computational Linguists. A Letter from the Managing Editor. First, why isn’t there more Computational Philology out there? Okay, I know no one is going to actually answer that, and most computational linguists don’t even know that Computational Philology exists. Kids these daysno respect for their elders, and no knowledge of the classics! But seriously, why did you have to name the field “Computational Linguistics” and not, say, “Linguistic Computation”? Then you could have been housed solidly in the Engineering Building, and no Real Linguist™ would ever have to give your disgraceful field a second thought. Yeah, you heard me, your field is a disgrace. You have ... more ] Podcast!

16. About Us (122 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!

17. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (120 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!

18. Cartoon Theories of Linguistics Part 3Morphological TypologyPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (99 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!

19. A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky AntonymsJessie Sams (92 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 ]

20. The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature (88 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 ]

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Last updated Jun. 26, 2019.