Most Popular Pages—Last 30 Days

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1. Vol CLXXXV, No 4 (349 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 ]

2. Germanic Day & The Celebration of Romance (201 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 ]

3. Letters from EsperantolandDr. Ho Ping (182 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 ]

4. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (179 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!

5. EU Set to Standardise Diacritics Following BrexitDeacon Red White and Blue (161 visits)

EU Set to Standardise Diacritics Following Brexit. In a rare piece of positive Brexit-related news, the EU this week issued a statement regarding the linguistic situation in the bloc post-Brexit. From the steps of the EU’s Brussels HQ, Arnheim Von der Scottleganger d’Urphy, Chief Underlayer of Language to the Bureau of the EU Office of Manifest Destiny, spoke to the press on the topic of proposed linguistic harmonisation of the EU’s languages once English is no longer cluttering things up by being lingua franckic (or anglic), and having far too many tenses for its own good and stuff. Von der Scottleganger d’Urphy said, “Of the 24 official languages of the EU, English is one of ... more ]

6. How Does Art Mean? Parsing the Grammar of Fine ArtMorris McConaughey (161 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 ]

7. /nuz baɪts/ (159 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 ]

8. Don’t Just Talk (About) the TalkA Letter from Recursive Editor Edak Krikmah (153 visits)

Don’t Just Talk (About) the Talk. A Letter from Recursive Editor Edak Krikmah. At my local monthly meeting of Linguist(ic)s and Vanilla Slices (LaVS), we got talking. No surprise there: we’re linguists! But then one of us (it may have been Wilhemina, but I’m not sure) made a passing comment on what someone else (perhaps Bertrand?) had just said. Then, and this is the crux of it, Bartholomew (and I’m sure this was him) pointed out that what Wilhemina had said had actually been about what Bertrand had said. You’ve guessed itwe’re here to celebrate the highs and lows, the joys and sorrows, the tax bills and Last Wills and Testaments of meta-talk. What went on to ... more ]

9. Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ԺԱMary Shapiro (151 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 ]

10. Quipley’s Don’t Believe It! ... Or Do? (147 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 ]

11. LinguimericksBook ६७ (138 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ६७. A prescriptivist, manner peremptory, Sought for language a future redemptory. “Native speakers today Hardly know what they say, And the goods ones are all in the cemetery.” —Pumptilian Perniquity, There once was a curate of Kew, Who kept a tom cat in the pew. He taught it to speak Alphabetical Greek, But it never got further than μ —Anonymous, The Animal Communication Researcher, F before double FG, NG, H, I don’t Understand how things could Go so amiss. Help! My geiriadur’s so Lexicographically Jumbled, I’ve got to ask: Who ordered this? —Mam Ŵydd, Mary, that sweet shepherdess from childhood, had a little lamb- -da calculus core textbook ... more ]

12. Archives (133 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. Letters to the Editor (CLXXXV.4) (129 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Dear Eds, As an Olympian deity, I am just as much up for the high jinks, capers and general merriment so ably executed in your journal as the next divinity in the pantheon. However, we gods must protect our brand and to that end I feel I should point out that it was Apollos 8 and 10 (and not 9) that achieved lunar orbit, contra your; September 2019 edition. The space programme of the 1960s would have achieved little if anything without consistent intervention from me. (Hermes also helped occasionally, in fairness.) Why do you think 13 went wrong? It wasn’t some superstitious rubbish about the number 13; I was out with Dionysus! I would be grateful, therefore, if you yourselves would ... more ]

14. Merchandise (123 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 ]

15. Update on Linguistic Protocol Regarding Addressing the MonarchHer Majesty’s Department of Linguistics (120 visits)

Update on Linguistic Protocol Regarding Addressing the Monarch. Her Majesty’s Department of Linguistics. Citizens, non-doms, holders of indefinite leave to remain, EU citizens who’ve already filled in the quick-and-easy computer registration thingy, visitors and anyone else: As is well known, Her Majestic Britannic Majesty Queen Liz of Winalot Prime must, as a Monarch Appointed by God, be addressed and interacted with in a manner consistent with her Royal Head-of-What-a-State-We’re-In-Ness. Top-level examples of this include the pronunciation of ‘ma’am’ which as anyone who has watched The Queen with that lovely Michael Sheen chap ... more ]

16. About Us (117 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. Seeking 0.6 FTE Professor of Articulatory Phonetics/Articulated Lorry DriverAdvertisement (117 visits)

ADVERTISEMENT Seeking 0.6 FTE Professor of Articulatory, Phonetics/Articulated Lorry Driver. The West North-Western Academy des Arts and Sciences de la Langage seeks a Professor of Articulatory Phonetics/Articulated Lorry Driver across its two-campus site in the UK/France. With campuses outside Edinburgh, UK (location of Professorial role) and Nantes, France (location of articulated lorry driver role), the candidate should have own transport (preferably helicopter or similar). The role as advertised is 0.4 professorial/0.2 lorry driver with a strong preference for three consecutive days of work. The ideal candidate will bring a solid grasp of articulation to both roles whilst being able ... more ]

18. SpecGram Language Placement ServicesAdvertisement (116 visits)

ADVERTISEMENT SpecGram Language Placement Services. As any sociolinguist can tell you, language vitality is all about status. And frankly, most languages don’t have it. Does yours?1 Most languages haven’t even taken the basic step of hiring a part-time publicist. Nor can most attract a truly talented linguist (or an unscrupulously devious one) whose tireless publication efforts can usher them into international prominence. Fortunately, SpecGram is here to help. SpecGram Language Placement Services offers your language the fame it deserves, at a price for any budget. Available Packages. “Back from the Brink” Language Tune-Up. Script consultation ... more ]

19. Vol CLXXXV, No 3 (114 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXV, Number 3 ... 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: Brenda Boerger, Mary Shapiro; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; Ça Plane Pour Qui?; September 2019 ... more ]

20. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (111 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!

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Last updated Oct. 20, 2019.