Some Letters from Some Editors SpecGram Vol CLI, No 4 Contents The Informant—Metalleus

Letters to the Editor

We have received many letters complaining of the “absurdity” of Claude Searsplainpockets’ proposed labio-nasal articulation. So many in fact, that not only are we unable to print them all, we seem to be unable to print anything else. The first few sum up the general feeling quite well.


Dear editorial incompetents:

Claude Searsplainpockets is a talentless hack! Labio-nasals? Puh-leeze.

Allister Andreskeshu
Abercrombie College


To whom it may concern,

That travesty of linguistics perpetrated by Dr. Searsplainpockets is unforgivable. Labio-nasals have always been a myth, and will never be anything more. I can’t make them. 7 out of 8 of my graduate students can’t make them, and the one that can has to scrunch up her face so badly that she can’t talk at all.

You’ve been badly hoodwinked. Cancel my subscription now!

Barbara Belafonte
Brussels Biolinguistic Institute


To SpecGram:

Labio-nasals, especially the trills, rate a labio-lingual trill from me!

Don’t you people have any standards anymore?

Somewhat Slobberingly,
Cynthia Carlosissimo
Cantankerous College


You Fools!

You are all nothing but a herd of yod-dropping Yanks that wouldn’t know a bit of real phonology if it jumped up and bit you on the behind! Labio-nasals are a fantastical farce!

Angrily yours,
Donaldo Dornobbian
Dutchester Divinity School


Speculative Grammarian accepts well-written letters commenting on specific articles that appear in this journal or discussing the field of linguistics in general. We also accept poorly-written articles that ramble pointlessly. We reserve the right to ridicule the poorly-written ones and publish the well-written ones... or vice versa, at our discretion.



Shades of Grey
by Piotr Pablo Paulsen


Here is the final word on the subject from our semi-loyal readers.


Dear Editors,

While I have always enjoyed his contributions to the Bizarre Grammars of the World Series, I read with some dismay Professor Searsplainpockets’ description of Beeg Haan Krrzian, especially after I discovered that I, too, am unable to achieve closure between my nostrils and upper lip.

As the dear Doctor mentions, we have all heard the (previously completely unfounded) tales of the near-mythical labio-nasal. To have actually discovered, which I do not doubt he has, the source of that myth is an unequaled success.

However, to postulate that the labio-nasal actually exists as described rails against the core tenets of phonology and even of linguistics as a whole. Professor Searsplainpockets is proposing a phonology that is implicitly unlearnable by many if not most otherwise normal human beings! This will not stand!

I implore Professor Searsplainpockets to review his data and come up with a better interpretation. Beyond his formidable reputation as a descriptive linguist, he is also a renowned anthropologistsurely the data can be re-analyzed to explain the apparent articulation as a cultural, rather than linguistic, sign, which gives rise to an allophonic free variation between labio-nasals and some other, biologically universal, phone. Or something! Anything!

I must stop writing now, as I am overcome with dizziness at the thought of the apparent shakiness of the foundations of our discipline!

Zephyr Zenikovius
Zanzibar University


Of course, we must allow Dr. Searsplainpockets to respond to his critics.

To all the linguists I’ve offended:

It’s all true. You need to accept it, and move on! It’s not that big of a deal, and it is certainly not as though I claimed to have made the greatest linguistic discovery of the century.

Anyone who wants to review my data, including video and audio recordings, transcripts, and even my hand-written notes, may contact me at any of my well-publicized addresses. The editors of SpecGram have offered their staff to make copies of the materials and to ship them to whomever feels compelled to continue to question my results. [A modest fee of €17.887,37 will be charged to defray the cost of copying, shipping, and handling.—Eds]

(Somewhere in America)



Shades of Grey
by Piotr Pablo Paulsen


Some Letters from Some Editors
The InformantMetalleus
SpecGram Vol CLI, No 4 Contents