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From the Archives!—SpecGram Propaganda XII. The SpecGram Archive Elves™. A recent expedition into the SpecGram archives turned up 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. This twelfth batch of posters from that collection has been digitized and presented here for you, dear reader, to enjoy, retrospect on, and share. The full collection, which will continue to grow, is available from the SpecGram Ministry of Propaganda in an easily browsable and sharable format. ... [ 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 ]
An Introduction to, Linguistics in Haiku Form. Anonymous. linguistic theory, hidden representations, to surface structures phonology is, sound patterns of languages, phonemes, allophones phonetics is sounds, articulation of them, acoustics, hearing comp. linguistics is, theory into efficient, implementation morphology is, if same structure, same meaning, then it’s a morpheme syntactic theory, blah blah chomsky chomsky blah, blah chomsky blah blah ... [ more ]
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 ]
Language Made Difficult, Vol. XLVI — The SpecGram LingNerds are joined by returning guest Pete Bleackley. After some Lies, Damned Lies, and Linguistics, the LingNerds discuss something *else* that tries to look like iconicity, and then look at some innovative and/or abominable on-going changes in English. ... [ listen ]
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While we wait for today’s list to get a bit more interesting, take a look at what’s been going on for the last 7 days that will keep you entertained for now.
1001 Ways to Troll Linguists —A Fragment. Discovered by R. Key O’Logist & Pei-Li O’Logist. During one of our regular digs in MIT midden 32-D808, we discovered a coffee-soaked manuscript by a now unknown author. This radical manuscript would certainly have revolutionized the entire field of linguistics, if it had survived whole. Unfortunately, only fragments remain—the rest of the originally quite intact manuscript having been destroyed by caffeine-starved graduate students working on the dig; they repeatedly pressed their donuts—cake donuts, no less!—firmly but not gently against the manuscript in an attempt to extract even a ... [ more ]
Childhood Phonology Exposure Causes Bilabial Trills at Breakfast. by Phineas Phlegmson & Raz Berrie. Introduction and Literature Review. Notker Balbulus (1998) famously argued that childhood exposure to phonological theory would improve language learning and also bring language acquisition more in line with dominant theoretical hypotheses. This paper presents the results of a small-scale trial of his argument. It is found that exposure to materials on phonology did indeed lead to increased phonological variation but at the expense of adherence to familial mealtime norms. Methodology. Three children were selected for this study due to shared kinship features. Their ages were 4.75374 years (male), 3.333333 ... [ more ]
A Grad Student’s Guide to Publication. by Bill Spruiell. If you’re a graduate student, you’re probably unsure about where to submit that brilliant piece of writing you’ve just completed for publication. And you’re also probably tired of those darn confusing flow charts everyone seems to be using now, with their baffling “yes” and “no” paths! Well now you can simplify your decision-making without a single flow chart. Just rely on our simple, limpidly clear network diagram, using the latest in Amorphous Blob Unstratal Architecture. ... [ more ]
Chomskadamus Predicts The Future. A Letter Channeled through Editor-at-Large Jonathan van der Meer. The scene: a darkened, cavernous lecture hall. Most of the seats are empty. A stodgy, inconsequential professor pedantically drones on and on while stumbling around the front of the room. None of the students are really paying attention, and a few even snore gently in the front row. This is Linguistics 101. Suddenly, the professor pauses mid-“morphosyntax” transfixed by an unnatural shaft of light stabbing through a window. He seems to gain stature and presence as he begins to speak, loudly and with force, in an unspeakably ancient and unutterably eldritch tongue, which, to understand even a syllable, ... [ more ]
Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXIX, Number 3 ... Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief Keith Slater, Executive Editor, Associate Editors, Pete Bleackley Jonathan Downie Mikael Thompson, Assistant Editors, Virginia Bouchard Mark Mandel Yuval Wigderson, Editorial Associates, Florian Breit Bethany Carlson Madalena Cruz-Ferreira Anita G. Gorman Tel Monks Bill Spruiell Sheri Wells-Jensen, Joey Whitford, Comptroller General Warning: This Product May Contain Deixis August 2017 ... [ more ]
A More Interesting Observation Than You a Response. Aloysius Vinicius Perle, Assistant Professor of Theoretical Pragmatics, Western Nebraska Community College, Scottsbluff NE. Recently, in the process of perusing a particularly brutal piece of syntactic analysis, we were reliably informed in a footnote that “Pico wrote a more interesting novel than Brio wrote a play” is an eminently asteriskable production—or, rather, non-production, as it supposedly would not be spontaneously produced outside the confines of syntacticians’ offices and insane asylums. Curious that, for not 24 hours earlier we encountered a statement on Facebook, “Everything’s bigger in Texas! Our state has ... [ more ]
Simplificational Onomastics, A Pedagogy for IMMEDIATE Double Freedom. by the DEVELOPER, CREATOR and GRAND MASTER of SIMPLIFICATIONAL ONOMASTICS Cletus McGraw. The gods of Linguistiana have been LYING TO YOU. They tell you that their OPERATIONS operate on OBJECTS, ignoring the fact that the WORLD IS A DOUBLE WORLD, and that there are OBJECTS and SUBJECTS. I have discovered this doubly TRUE FACT, and have applied to EVERY MAJOR LINGUISTICS CONFERENCE in and around the Columbus, Ohio area in the past seventeen years to spread the MESSAGE. And what do you think? I’ve been DENIED admittance to EVERY SINGLE CONFERENCE TO WHICH I’VE APPLIED. It makes you wonder: What are they so AFRAID of? What are they trying to HIDE? ... [ more ]
Speculative Grammarian and SpecGram.com. 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 ]
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 mongering—first 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 ]
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 ]
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Last updated Aug. 20, 2017.