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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 ]
Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXV, Number 4 ... Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief; Keith Slater, Executive Editor; Bill Spruiell, Senior Editor, Sheri Wells-Jensen, Consulting Editor; Associate Editors: Pete Bleackley, Madalena Cruz-Ferreira, Jonathan Downie, Mikael Thompson; Assistant Editors: Virginia Bouchard, Florian Breit, Mark Mandel, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Bethany Carlson, Emily Davis, Jouni Maho, David Marino, Tel Monks, Davis Prickett, Brock Schardin, Mary Shapiro, Steve Straight, Isabelle Tellier; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; It’s Not Impossible in All Possible Worlds; April 2016 ... [ more ]
Festive Arborolatry. The Speculative Grammarian Editorial Board. This journal has in the past dabbled half-heartedly, with interspersions of sudden inexplicable fits of enthusiasm as quickly forgotten1 as they were assumed, with the vexed2 issue of the religiosity of linguists and of linguistics. Generally, of course, this being all in all a markedly secular age, no one3 has really cared about this issue, but it has come up recently in discussions of which holidays should be
paid recognized tolerated. We of course recognize all the major holidays—Christmas, New Years’ Day, Thanksgiving,4 Halloween, Hangeul Day, and April ... [ more ]
The Divine Future of Linguistics, Part I. by John Miaou, with the assistance of the editors of SpecGram. Linguists need money. A lot of money. Unfortunately, sponsors do not always give linguists money. This sorry state of affairs needs to change, and it is in our own hands to rectify it. SpecGram has already offered some suggestions on how to achieve this by selling naming rights and advertising space. Here we will suggest another way out of our discipline’s financial misery. Taking our lead from various bogus religions and cults created to milk money out of their memberships, we intend to reform linguistics as a religious movement. We will organise regular fund-raising events during conferences, ... [ more ]
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 ]
Huh. Seems to be a slow day.
We can’t have you getting bored, so here are some more items from the last 7 days that should be more fun than a sharp stick in the eye.
Reasons Not to Study Linguistics— Part III. Compiled by Dyspepsia Prater and Cynnie Sizzum, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. Linguists, generally, try to encourage others’ interest in their field with enticements such as, “linguistics helps us understand the human condition” “every language provides a unique view of the mind” “linguistics empowers people” “you can work in translation, interpreting, foreign language teaching, the tech industry, fieldwork, etc.” Blah, blah, blah. You see, no matter how exciting a field seems, there’s someone out there who is sick and tired of putting up with it. Rather than promise nothing but ... [ more ]
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 us—and cut yourself some SLAC! ... Dear SLAC, What’s the plural of focus and how do you pronounce it? I’ve seen it spelled <foci> but do you pronounce that /foʊkaɪ/ or /foʊsaɪ/ ? Or is it something else entirely? Focuses? Focora? Focopodes? Please offer me your insights on pluralization so I can ... [ more ]
Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXVI, Number 1 ... 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: Chris Brew, Christian DiCanio, Joe McAvoy, Steve Politzer-Ahles, Mary Shapiro, Megan Stevens, Daniel Swanson; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; Like Blunt Force Trauma to Your Broca’s Area; November 2019 ... [ more ]
At the Mall of Indo-Europea. Hlökk bin Praeteritio ab Ἀπόστροφος von Sōkaiya. ... [ more ]
Phonetic Evaporation and Precipitation, The greatest linguistic discovery of the new century. Trey Jones, l’École de SpecGram, Washington D.C.. As is well known in physics circles, mass, energy, momentum, charge, quantum color, quantum flavor, baryon number, lepton number, parity, and probability density are all conserved, and cannot be created or destroyed in normal (non-relativistic, non-nuclear, non–science-fiction) circumstances, despite any number of physical transformations a system may undergo. Why shouldn’t linguistics have its own conservation laws? An obvious candidate is phonological conservation—underlying forms remain constant throughout the ... [ more ]
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 ]
Rasmus Rask Diamond Puzzle X. by Lila Rosa Grau. This is the tenth 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 in a diamond shape are given to provide a framework for filling in the answers. ... [ more ]
Whose Puppet Are You?. SpecGram Sub Rosa Editor Kae d’Rik Kham. At a recent conference on proto-Slavic (somewhat incongruously in Hawaiʻi), the organisers kindly provided a plenary alternative in the form of a ventriloquist’s act. Being an invited speaker myself, with a narrative that would not sit easily with one particular plenarian, I opted to avoid this one speaker’s litany of observettes on reconstructed vowel nuclei, regarding which I would have struggled to maintain my composure, so I toddled along and enjoyed the show. It didn’t disappoint as so much non-Wagnerian art can do: subtlety of narrative and technical skill were brought together to create a memorable ... [ more ]
How We Think About the Sounds of Chinese— Any Implications for Psycholinguistics ?*. Bii Ming (bii.ming@ BuhTswenTzay.edu.cn), Keynote presented at the International Conference on Chinese Linguistics, February 30, 2008, Nanjing, Sinitic States of China. *This work was supported by grant #LKJHG985432 from the Parliament of the Sinitic States of China. I would like to share some observations about how linguists and Chinese native speakers think about the sounds of Chinese, and whether this may have influenced the development of the study of Chinese or even the development of the language itself. Of course, as we all know, when people refer to “the Chinese language” they usually are ... [ more ]
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 linguistics—and now it is available in book form—both 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 ]
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Last updated Nov. 19, 2019.