SpecGram Vol CLI, No 2 Contents Ask Mr Linguistics Person

Hello World!

A Letter from the Managing Editor

Despite our myriad modern problems, computers have become an indispensable part of our lives, and we should embrace and celebrate that fact. At SpecGram we naturally wanted

int main(void)
   printf("Hello, world!\n");
   return 0;
— C
to do so in a linguistically geeky waythus, we present to you this Computer Language Appreciation Issue.

A common complaint from those of us living fully in the Information Age is so-called “unsolicited commercial email”, or, as it is more commonly known, spam. I doubt that I will find a need to refinance any of my seven mortgages (don’t ask), purchase grey-market prescription drugs, or register for a “high-throughput poodle-waxing” correspondence course over the internet from some spelling-challenged stranger who just happened to be able to guess my email address. However, like any other manly, masculine, macho managing editor of a satirical linguistics journal, I often worry about whether or not I have sufficient length to provide appropriately massive pleasure to my female readership.

Just as this length anxiety was starting to cause certain performance problems, I received an unexpected and unexpectedly welcome email that advertised an ancient Mayan/Minnesotan herbal formula that promised increased length, stamina, and volume. I knew at the time that I shouldn’t have responded, but I just couldn’t resist, so desperate was I. Flash forward: I’ve been taking the supplement for a couple of years now, and the results are indisputable: SpecGram has increased in length from ten printed pages two years ago to fourteen in this
print "Hello, world!\n";
— Perl
issue (and I’m hoping to continue growing for the rest of the yearI may have to stop then, as there is such a thing as just too big), we’ve begun our third year on a regular quarterly publishing schedule, and our website gets more monthly visits now than ever before. I also get an astounding number of lilac- or even jasmine-scented emails from attractive-sounding female linguists telling me how so very much they enjoy and look forward to their regular, sensual perusal of SpecGram. Of course, being a scholar and a gentleman, I kindly thank them for their fond words and that’s the end of that.

What’s the secret, you ask? From the color and smell of the elixir in question, I’m guessing it is Mountain Dew, possibly evaporated and concentrated, repackaged in moderately attractive bottles. Whatever it is, I find I no longer need to sleep, which gives me an extra six to eight hours a night to work on making sure each issue of SpecGram will be all that it can be.

To that end, we have included in this issue what we will charitably call “several” firsts for a linguistics journal of our caliberof which there are so very few! One such
T:Hello, world!
first is a mentally challenging yet trendy recreation designed expressly for linguists: LingDoku. In what we expect (but, honestly, could not quite be bothered to confirm) is a one-of-a-kind event, we have the good fortune to publish both a glowing book notice (from the publisher) and a scathing book review (from a mildly-suspicious semi-“anonymous” reviewer) of the same semi-famously quasi-important book: An Optimality-Theoretic Account of the History of Linguistics. Also, just to mix things up, we’re trying out a new format for our letters section: Ask Mr Linguistics Person!


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SpecGram Vol CLI, No 2 Contents