Most Popular Pages—Today

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1. X-bar Diagram AcquisitionTel Monks (51 visits)

X-bar Diagram Acquisition. Tel Monks. I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences. —Gertrude Stein The year 2007 marked the thirtieth anniversary of Jackendoff (1977), the book that made the following diagram such a part of the linguist’s life. (1) ... The intervening 30 years have seen the X-bar provide the basis for more utterances than can be imagined with increasingly complex examples, such as (a personal favourite): (2) ... Unfortunately, the original English sentence has been lost, and we can only offer conjecture as to the utterer’s intent. However, in the euphoria that X-bar diagrams have brought to linguistic studies, little thought has been given ... more ]



2. Ps. Q.Pisces’ Playpen (38 visits)

Pisces’ Playpen. [Editor’s Note: We regret that space was previously wanting for inclusion of the final part of Dr. Porcus Pisces’ commentary on the Latin translation of a Greek rendering of the anonymous inscriptions alleged to be an account of Phoenician experiments in animal communication; we present herein then the final portion of this work, continued from Vol I, No. 1 of this journal. The learned community, as always, is invited to respond.] and is said to have “talked with the animals.” Given, however, the extreme prejudice prevailing at the time in Phoenicia against inhumane experimentation with aquatic species, it soon became justifiable to dissect the finny tribes for linguistic ... more ]



3. Linguistic EquationsProf. Lars Tyndskids and Dr. Jef Van Pijperzele (15 visits)

Linguistic Equations. by Prof. Lars Tyndskids, University of Langtbortistan, and Dr. Jef Van Pijperzele, University of Verweggistan. These puzzles are worth 1 point each. Each equation contains the initials of words that will make it correct. Find the missing words. ... Words of Dubious Roman Origin—Numerius Negidius et Aulus Agerius, ... Famous Extracts—John Miaou, ... SpecGram Vol CLVII, No η Contents, ... more ]



4. CrosswordKeith Slater (13 visits)

Crossword. by Keith Slater. Across, 1. Obl. case, 4. Cognate of Spanish edad, 7. Onomatopoetic word for clocks, 10. Language of Japan, 11. More than one constituent marked with an adpos. 12. In a town by this name, you might find yourself speaking Spanish, Bengali, Estonian, or Syrian Arabic, 14. Verbum dicendi, low register, 15. Non-tense temporal categ. 16. Sapir: “All grammars ___” 17. Second language acquisition theorist Gass, 19. Most speakers of Plattdeutsch, 21. With 36 down, core arg. distinction, 23. Integrationism proponent Harris, 24. Longest palindromic language name, 28. ... more ]



5. The Splendid WordsJames S. Pasto (11 visits)

The Splendid Words. James S. Pasto. I got them! It took me seven years, three jobs, two marriages, and season tickets to the Red Sox, but I got them. He knew it as soon as he looked up and saw me; knew who I was even though he had never seen me. “You found us,” he said. “How nice.” I noted the ‘us’ and I noted him. He was lean with jet-black hair, hawkish dark eyes, and perfectly straight teeth that smiled shyly. The smile irritated me. I pulled out the gun, an old .45-caliber Webley-Fosbery with a hammer. The smile faded. “Now, now, is there really need for that?” “I’ll decide,” I said. “I’m calling the shots.” The smile ... more ]



6. FonoFutoshikiUlfheðnar ber Sarkur (11 visits)

FonoFutoshiki. ... As part of a recent linguistics black-ops mission, I have liberated the SpecGram Puzzle Elves™ from their imprisonment in Trey Jones’s puzzle sweatshop in Tokyo. We have relocated to a top-secret location in Sweden. The elves have mostly adjusted to the change in climate, and are ready to get back to work. Despite their harrowing experiences in Tokyo, they still insist on cranking out pseudo-Nihonese puzzles, which is fine by me (but see Lila Rosa Grau’s comments in issue CLV #4. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.) FonoFutoshiki is a straightforward variation of normal Futoshiki puzzles, but with just enough linguistics to keep the plebes away. If you are familiar ... more ]



7. IPA Code Puzzle IAnimals in DisguiseMary Shapiro (9 visits)

IPA Code Puzzle I, Animals in Disguise. by Mary Shapiro, Truman State University. My mother used to say that some men are pigs and some are pets, and you have to figure out which are which. I have succeeded in cracking the code, and it turns out that (as usual), Mom was right, but she missed part of the story: some men are other types of animal, and some are just themselves (with no hidden animal nature). And Noam, of course, is something else entirely. Transcribe the following names (phonemically) into IPA and apply the instructions (in order) to decode the animal nature of each man. a. Abe, b. Ben, c. Brock, d. Cain, e. Chett, f. Cole, g. Doug, h. Fred, i. Greg, j. Horace, k. Jay, l. Joe, m. Joel, n. Kyle, o. Manny, p. Mel, ... more ]



8. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (8 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. Vol CLXXXVI, No 2 (8 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXVI, Number 2 ... 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: Brenda Boerger, Joe McAvoy, Steve Politzer-Ahles, Mary Shapiro, Megan Stevens, Daniel Swanson; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; The Best of Journals, The Worst of Journals; December 2019 ... more ]



10. Linguistics Nerd CampBethany Carlson (8 visits)

Linguistics Nerd Camp. Bethany Carlson. Marsha and her thesis made a cute couple, but their friends worried she was trying to change him ... more ] Podcast! Book!



11. Archives (7 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. How We Think About the Sounds of Chinese–Any Implications for Psycholinguistics?Bii Ming (5 visits)

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 ]



13. A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky AntonymsJessie Sams (5 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 ]



14. University News (5 visits)

University News. TV Chef and Government Boffins Spruce Up Linguini with Linguistics. by Ruthlessly Roving Reporter Miss Deakina Andrea Kirkhamia Celebrity chef Claudesia van O’Hara, famous for her pioneering reality TV cheffing programme Cook-a-Doodle-Doo, has teamed up with linguists from the Southport Institute of Language Investigation and the Basildon Institute of Linguistic Inquiry (SILI-BILI) to investigate how lexical and grammatical constructs can add, in her words, “taste, tone, texture and adventure” to food and cooking. In a series of six programmes, O’Hara will be mixing standard linguistic constructs such as place of ... more ]



15. Thirteen Untranslatable WordsMichael Covarrubias (5 visits)

Thirteen Untranslatable Words. by Michael Covarrubias. I’m a language lover. I have been since I was a kid. Just about eleven months after being born, I started saying words and I’ve been using them ever since. I probably use words every day and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. After a while, we language lovers have a hard time learning more about our native language. That’s why we branch out to memorize other languages. It can be hard though, because a lot of foreign languages have words in them that we just can’t translate into English. Maybe it’s because we don’t have the concept in English, and that makes it impossible to make up a label for the concept. Or, more interestingly, ... more ]



16. Why Linguistics is Not a ScienceThe SpecGram Editorial Board (5 visits)

Why Linguistics is Not a Science. The SpecGram Editorial Board. In a couple of recent editorials we have answered several of the questions most frequently submitted by SpecGram readers. Since the publication of those editorials, by far the most common question received in our offices has been, “Could please furnish us with your bank account number so we can transfer payment to you?” We cannot in good conscience accede to this request, as it violates a number of constraints and therefore suffers from what we like to call “fatal infelicity.” Another frequent question, though, is more worthy of our attention, (though only due to its being fifth on the frequency list) and it is to that more ... more ]



17. Famous ExtractsJohn Miaou (5 visits)

Famous Extracts. by John Miaou. These puzzles are worth 1 point each. Here are extracts from ten famous linguistics books which we all should know by heart. Identify them — Extract 1. .. — Extract 2. .. — Extract 3. .. — Extract 4. ... and .. — Extract 5. .. — Extract 6. ... and .. — Extract 7. ... and .. — Extract 8. ... and ... and .. — Extract 9. ... and .. — Extract 10. ... Linguistic Equations—Prof. Lars Tyndskids and Dr. Jef Van Pijperzele, ... Crossword for Indo-Europeanists—Tim Pulju, ... SpecGram Vol CLVII, No η Contents, ... more ]



18. Words of Dubious Roman OriginNumerius Negidius et Aulus Agerius (5 visits)

Words of Dubious Roman Origin. ab, Numerius Negidius, Optimus Magister, et, Aulus Agerius, Bonus Liber, Spurius Carvilius School of Rhetoric, Rome. These puzzles are worth 1/2 point each. Despite their odd numbering, these puzzles aren’t too hard. Fill in the blanks based on the clues provided. 101, sick, _____, 157, polite, _____, 207, a kind of duty, _____, 501, not ego, _____, 512, bright, _____, 551, container top, _____, 557, angry, _____, 601, pickle type, _____, 1001, past action, _____, 1001, do, re, etc. _____, 1006, good with vigor, _____, 1011, stir, _____, 1101, grind, _____, 1501, not bright, _____, 1501, not open, not close, _____, 1551, not spicy, _____, 2102, imitate, _____, ... more ]



19. Micro-Commando Diachron-5 Auction/vɝnənz viː eɪtʃ ɛs vɔlt/ (5 visits)

/vɝnənz viː eɪtʃ ɛs vɔlt/, —Presents for Auction—, Micro-Commando Diachron-5. The one and only /vɝnənz viː eɪtʃ ɛs vɔlt/ is pleased to present another rare and valuable VHS tape for auction! ... From the back cover: Now you can see the wondrous world of imagination and a powerful new vision of approaches to linguistics. A young intellectual language is facing death. To save it, “micro-commandos” are sent into its semiotic body. And now, we see another world in its semiotic body. The wicked alien “ButMuhGrammar” destroys the languageship, “language fighter” and tries to ... more ]



20. Decoupling the Linguolabial Trill From Its Ideobatian AssociationEunice Emigre (4 visits)

Decoupling the Linguolabial Trill From Its Ideobatian Association. Eunice Emigre, Professor of Maquillage in Linguistics, The Δίς Λεγόμενον Centre for Endeepened Ideation. When I first came across the Gricean associations of the otherwise respectable linguolabial trill, I immediately informed a make-up artiste I knew who had unfortunately drawn her eyebrows too high that morning. She looked surprised. Artificial pigmentation aside, it is clear that viewing the noble linguolabial trill as a mere breach of the Gricean maxim of manner is a disservice to linguistics. The uniqueness of this trill is, of course, that it unites two large, consciously movable ... more ]



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Last updated Dec. 10, 2019.