Letters to the Editor SpecGram Vol CL, No 4 Contents On the Terrible De-Grammaticalization in Hujulukinat—Hans Forz

Poetry Corner

The Stalker

by N. Significant Worm

Your journal is illustrious,
and I am quite industrious.
We are clearly made for one another.

I will write if you will print.
A poem is already sent!
To prove my love I would sell my mother.

SpecGram, I’m to you as—you’ll see—
phonetics to phonology.
We must be one—I will have no other.

Print it! Print it! You will! You must!
(The quality is clear I trust.)
Or else all the editors I’ll smother!

[Nothing says “We love you, too,” like a restraining order. You’ve been served!—Eds.]

Tropical Storm Franklin

A Fly on the Ball

by Sheila McCann

“Will you talk without palaver?”
Said the Spider to the Fly;
To the oddest lot of linguists
That ever you did spy;
The way into their mindset
Is up a winding stair
And God knows what peculiar things
You’ll find when you get there.”
Oh, no, no,” said the little Fly;
To ask me is in vain;
For who goes up that winding stair
Oft struggles to stay sane.”
I’m sure you must be weary, sir,
But do give it a try;
I hope you reconsider,”
Said the Spider to the Fly.
There’s lots of interest in the crowd;
The lecture hall’s a dream;
And if you like to rest awhile
We’ll surely fit you in!”
Oh, no, no,” said the little Fly;
For I’ve often heard it said,
That they never pay expenses
And you end up in the red.”



I enclose herewith expenses claims for $1,280.08, being expenses incurred during the academic years 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 199...

Your prompt attention would be appreciated.


A Fly.

(Apologies to Mary Howitt)

Mandarin Tone in Historical
Epic Quest Perspective

by Jamin Pelkey

I sing of four tonemic knights
Who in medieval Orient
With wanderlust took to the heights,
To battle the ambivalent.

Sir Píng, Sir Shàng, Sir Qù, Sir Rù
Their names emblazoned on their shields
Set forth acknowledging as true:
To polar forces nature yields.

Thus nestled in a forest glade
By moonlight as they slept unstirred
Yin’s voiceless sirens potions made
And split their souls with register.

At dawn as they awoke, behold!
Four damsels with four knights were paired.
And vibrating their vocal folds,
A lower range the knights now shared.

The ladies claimed each knightly name
With voiceless onsets, pitches high;
Thus, Yin and Yang of ancient fame
Began their eight-fold patois cries.

The realms they traveled thence were dim
Beset by danger, scandal, vice;
They knew not that their path would end
In Standard Language Paradise.

Sir Shàng fell slain and was interred
But left his spirit to the Qù’s.
Sirs Qù and Rù with conscience blurred
By chivalry’s duplicity

Spoke sonorant initials to
The tonemes of Yin’s Shàng and Qù;
Thus, soon the Rù’s would meet their doom,
Imparting gifts to the bereaved.

The journey took its toll on voice,
Initially—make no mistake,
But aspiration made a choice,
And leapt contrastive in its wake.

The centuries’ long march into
The present proved a worthy chore.
Now puzzling over four times two
Can lead the puzzler back to four.

The Qù’s, now married, faithful, spry
With global falls, they 骂 yet 爱,
The Píng’s still hope for love’s requite
He speaks of 麻, she speaks of 哀.
And lonely Lady Shàng still sighs
But says to all, her 马’s not 矮.

From four to eight and back to four;
Like Bilbo, there and back again:
An epic quest from days of yore
Enchants the tones of Mandarin.

Glossary and Synchronic Tonal Notes for Stanza 11:

骂 mà ‘scold, curse’    爱 aì ‘love’
(both sharing the 4th [falling] tone)
麻 má ‘hemp’   哀 āi ‘sorrow’
(the 2nd [rising] tone and 1st [high-level] tones, respectively)
马 mă ‘horse’   矮 ăi ‘short’
(the 3rd [low-contour] tone)

Tropical Storm Gert

Letters to the Editor
On the Terrible De-Grammaticalization in Hujulukinat—Hans Forz
SpecGram Vol CL, No 4 Contents