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1. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart זSynchronic vs. DiachronicPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (6 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part ז—Synchronic vs. Diachronic. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. If you have fallen behind, try to catch up. For those who are caught up, a simple explanation of the difference between synchronic contrast and diachronic contrast, illustrated with examples from a couple of the beautiful Romance languagesSpanish and its ancestor, Latin: Synchronic ... Diachronic ... Up next: The Trouble with NLP. References, Barðdal, Jóhanna H. (2001). Case in Icelandic: A Synchronic, Diachronic and Comparative Approach. Blevins, Juliette. (2004). Evolutionary Phonology: The Emergence of Sound ... more ]

2. Good Enough for Folk EtymologyPart IA. Pocryphal & Verity du Bius (4 visits)

Good Enough for Folk Etymology Part I. A. Pocryphal & Verity du Bius, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. The SpecGram Archive Elves recently made a large collection of documents available to the XQK Directorate, by leaving them on our doorstep in black plastic sacks in the middle of the night. After an unfortunate incident involving a cucumber, a marmot, and the Director’s favourite coffee mug, we were given the task of cataloging these documents. Going through the collection, we have found that, while apparently lacking provenance (which the Archive Elves attribute to a bizarre set of circumstances obscurely alluded to in editorials passim), they shed unexpected light on ... more ]

3. Vol CLXXXI, No 4 (4 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXI, Number 4 ... 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, Samuel Andersson Emily Davis Vincent Fish Deak Kirkham Tel Monks Ollie Sayeed Mary Shapiro Bill Spruiell Daniel Swanson Sheri Wells-Jensen, Joey Whitford, Comptroller General Penguins Need Not Apply June 2018 ... more ]

4. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart ζPhysics vs. Physics EnvyPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (4 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part ζ—Physics vs. Physics Envy. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Introductions are superfluous for those who have been keeping up. Now, to the heart of the matter, in which we discuss the long-recognized but little-discussed travesty of unconfidence in our field of study: ... Up next: Diachronic vs Synchronic. References, Cohen, Joel E. (1971). “Mathematics as Metaphor: a review of Dynamical System Theory in Biology. Vol. 1, Stability Theory and Its Applications by Robert Rosen.” Science, New Series, Vol. 172, No. 3984. Dymetman, Marc. (1998). “Group Theory and Computational ... more ]

5. The Oxford Comma: A SolutionEliza Doolittle (3 visits)

The Oxford Comma: A Solution. Eliza Doolittle. The Oxford Comma has once again raised its nasty little head in linguistic circles, thanks largely to the efforts of one Ms Truss and her book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It is time once and for all to put this little beast to rest. (No, not Ms Truss, you moron--the Oxford Comma). For those of you wondering what the Oxford Comma (OC) actually is, I have one question: what on earth are you doing reading an up-market linguistic magazine like this? So for your delectation and delight here is a definition of the OC: it’s the insertion of a comma after the penultimate item in a list, just before the and--for example, ‘coffee, cream, and ... more ] Podcast!

6. Archives (3 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 ]

7. The Quotta and the Quottiod: Punctuation Designed for Linguists, by LinguistsVére Çélen (3 visits)

The Quotta and the Quottiod. Punctuation Designed for Linguists, by Linguists. Vére Çélen, l’École de SpecGram, Cheboksary, Chuvashia. It is not news to linguists that particular forms of punctuation can be problematic. One frequent source of considerable friction in certain circles is the unending debate over whether and when (and, increasingly, why) commas and periods go inside or outside quotation marksespecially when they are not actually part of the material to be quoted. Typically careful linguists usually prefer not to include punctuation in a quoted citation form or gloss, while many punctilious punctuationally prescriptivist publishers demand they be ... more ] Podcast!

8. Cryptolinguistic Puzzle SebēMary ShapiroTruman State University (3 visits)

Cryptolinguistic Puzzle Sebē. 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 ... more ]

9. The C-Rhyme and Pun-ish-ment of St. AlvinJerry Fyodor & Josef Dobrovskýevsky (3 visits)

The C-Rhyme and Pun-ish-ment of St. Alvin. by Jerry Fyodor & Josef Dobrovskýevsky. It is now commonly accepted that St. Alvin was always accompanied by an assistant called Theodorus. Theodorus was a budding philosopher, with interests in Kant, Hegel and innateness in generative grammar. He was however, very rotund and was therefore known as the Deep Fat Friar. As a young monk, St Alvin left his first monastery, where he had taken a vow of silence, to found an order that believed that people were best served by creating attractive paper to put around Christmas gifts. It is for this reason that his autobiography was entitled “From Trappist to Wrappist.” The members of that order were noted for their ... more ]

10. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart 九Lexicostatistics vs. GlottochronologyPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (3 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 九—Lexicostatistics vs. Glottochronology. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. If you are new to Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, please review back issues of this journal. Now let us consider the fundamental difference between Lexicostatistics and Glottochronology: ... Up next: Feeding and Bleeding with guest cartoonist Erin Taylor. References, Arndt, Walter W. (1959). “The performance of glottochronology in Germanic”. Language, 35, 180-192. Bergsland, Knut; & Vogt, Hans. (1962). “On the validity of glottochronology”. Current Anthropology, 3, 115-153. Chretien, Douglas (1962). “The ... more ] Podcast!

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Last updated Jun. 25, 2018.