Quotes: What People are Saying

Here are a few of our favorite things people have said about Speculative Grammarian over the years, collected wild on the internet, or domesticated in email.

Jump to page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

[SpecGram is] the World’s Leading Journal in the Often Neglected Field of Providing Entertainment and Distraction for Those Who Should Actually Do Something Else.

—Moritz Rathgeber

Трогательная история про язык, в котором есть один глагол, один предлог, нет существительных и прилагательных, а весь смысл выражается наречиями. Например, "лошадь бежит" будет "это есть лошадно, бегуще".
Узнал я обо всём этом из книги The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics, которую недавно достал по советам из интернетов. Это навроде "Физики шутят", только про лингвистику. Книжка неожиданно объёмная, содержит в себе подборку самых лучших статей из журнала SpecGram, посвящённого незаслуженно обойдённому вниманием разделу этой науки: сатирической лингвистике. Довольно смешно. Рассчитано на совсем настоящих лингвистов, не как я: обыгрывается довольно много знаний, которым всех учат на младших курсах (типа фонетики или истории языкознания), и про которые я не знаю, ибо фиолетово. Но там довольно много про морфологию, синтаксис и семантику впереди, надеюсь понять больше.


When to use “a” versus “an”? This question has been hotly contested by all the illustrious linguists of our age, who had great difficulty determining any sort of rule for this English-language anomaly. Observe the dramatic tale in all its glory, presented in this brilliant and concise essay.

Contains Language

I found this 100% worth the time.


Absolutely worth the time.


This is like Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock for people who hate themselves.

Science of Noise

[SpecGram] is a great linguistics satire rag, if anyone is interested in linguistics around here. And everyone would probably enjoy this.

Christina Thérèse

They say this is always a nice gift to give!


Handwriting analysis is bunk. There’s literally no way that a motor skill learned in childhood could tell you anything about the personality of an adult. It’s a linguistic horoscope, and it’s so obviously bunk to modern linguists and psychologists that they won’t even take the time to write articles debunking it. Speculative Grammarian, The Onion of linguistics, has an article making fun of it.


Ei tarvitse perustaa pseudolingvistiseuran aikakauskirjaa—Mä kun törmäsin tähän: [Speculative Grammarian]


Забавная картинка. Вернула меня в далёкие институтские годы, и где-то на самом горизонте сознания закачались, словно миражи экзотические фамилии “Щерба” и “Бодуэн де Куртенэ”.


I love @SpecGram. “The premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics.” Hilarious. Read it.

Rich Ruff

[I]f you are a linguist, I can guarantee that you’ll find at least one thing in here that is absolutely hilarious. There’s something here for every subfield. If you have ever thought how funny it would be to write “nasal ingressive uvular trill” on a blackboard somewhere and count how many people make snorting noises, you need this book. It is also possibly worth the purchase just for Appendix A, “A Self-Defining Linguistics Glossary.”


The SpecGram book ... is surprisingly full to the brim and hilarious (from what I’ve read). It assumes a general understanding of a lot of post-intro linguistics and covers the whole range of subfields and interests. This way you avoid getting a syntactician a book on historical linguistics (yuck) or getting a phonologist a book on generative semantics. Safest bet for sure, IMO.


I don’t work for them, but allow me to plug SpecGram’s book. They’ve had an excellent marketing campaign ..., and if your [gift recipient] is serious about linguistics, this is probably a better alternative than many of the other vaguely language-related books out there.


The bulk of the text is built around subfields—sets of pieces on typology, syntax, phonetics, whatevs. Richly illustrated even. I’m guessing anybody who reads this will find plenty of nuggets that they can enjoy and use.

Mr. Verb

Sometimes it actually makes the distinctions between different theories or sub-disciplines of linguistics easier to understand than more earnest volumes. But don’t let some learning get in the way of a good chortle. Even the errata page is a good excuse for a joke or two.

Lauren Gawne

[S]ome new hotness: The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics

Heron Greenesmith

Seriously, this volume has not only a real place in the field, it also continues an important tradition. I keep Studies out in Left Field: Defamatory essays presented to James D. McCawley (originally published in 1971 ...) on my desk at all times. I regularly give students the “supplementary glossary of linguistic terminology” from that. ... But it needed updating. The Essential Guide has six pages of “self-defining linguistic glossary” ... a bit of overlap with Studies, of course, but tons more stuff and covering a lot of the field.

Mr. Verb

I have enjoyed reading every single page in The Speculative Grammarian [book]. It is the book that a linguist can read for pleasure!

Sarah Almotairi

Just like I advise students that you don’t have to like every field of linguistics, you don’t have to like everything in SpecGram (or, for that matter, understand it, there is often detail upon detail lurking in those footnotes). There’s more than enough there for linguists of any flavour to find something of amusement, and it’s a book that’s always worth coming back to.

Lauren Gawne

At Team Verb, we’re all pretty pumped about this. Or as one colleague put it:

This goes on the new MA reading list. Hell, this is the new MA reading list.
Given that the old reading list consisted of stuff written between the Rig Veda and Bloomfield’s Menominee Grammar, it would be a step forward, but can’t you imagine the prelims: please open the Essential Guide to p. 194, and let’s discuss “Are Turkish and Amharic Related? Are they ever!”
Mr. Verb

I always wait for the new issues of SpecGram to be announced on LINGUIST.

Mr. Verb

As a syntax enthusiast, I am a fan of that last verse.


Someone please make a syntax tree of the Chomsky verse.


Well worth the attention of anybody with a linguistics background.

Velar Trill

Speculative Grammarian, a webzine of linguistic satire, for when you become a hardcore language nerd.

E. M. Epps

Here is satirical account of the history of ideas in linguistics as merely social, rather than socio-semiotic.


A love story.

The Spine and Its Tingle

Owtch. Buuurn.



Kitty Levin

What the. omg.


might just be the way the language works or we might have a badass over here


This is so beautiful I love it.


linguistic-y goodness.


This is probably the prettiest way I’ve seen these described.

—A Beautiful (In)sanity



Serious linguistics boner!


Oh my gosh, the Turkish makes so much more sense now!

The Bard of Romulus

Oh hey I’ve done stuff like this in linguistics. It’s supposed to be fun and it is but it also makes my head hurt sometimes.

—walking on a high wire

What I want for Xmas.

Chiefest Calamity

All the answers have at last been found & collected into one magnificent dirt-cheap volume!! Eternal enlightenment is ours! ... The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics! I bought it! I treasure it! I sit rapt at its sagely feet!

J Paul S

Finally, serious research in the oft neglected field of satirical linguistics. I thought this would never be covered.

Englishpro & Co.

The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics という本が発売されています。 言語学者によって書かれた言語学者向けのジョーク本です。

Fumiaki Nishihara

Go ahead and buy your own copy. It is even cheaper than a full unhealthy meal at a fancy “fast-food” restaurant. It is worth it.

Sarah Almotairi

My SpecGram book is finally with me! I hope it won’t ruin my working day :)

Tatyana Ignatova

The SpecGram Essential Guide to Linguistics really is a hoot! Highly recommended for linguaphiles & conlangers alike.


[D]ie-hard linguists will go crazy for [The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics]. ... A definite must read for Linguists or those who just like language and have some time on their hands. It made me have some fond memories of tape recorders and the numerous ways people can pronounce a vowel. ... PS: I want to be a vowelkyrie.

Melissa Reynard

Just wanted you to know that I adore your Podcast and I just ordered your book! Thanks being super cool and for fanning the flames of my passionate love of linguistics.


Shout it from the rooftops. Or just do like me and go stand on a street corner waving a Bible and scream it: “The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics is out!”

Mr. Verb

More ...

Last updated Mar. 21, 2014.