Speculative Chaosillation!—A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CLIV, No 2 Contents Castilian Language Chastised, Portugal Says “We Told You So”—Major Sharpe

Letters to the Editor

To: Editor, SpecGram
From: CIA Threat Assessment Division
Re: Hazardous Dumpling Metaphors [CONFIDENTIAL]

Dear Editor:

Please keep this correspondence confidential, for reasons that we will detail below. We realize that this will probably come as quite a surprise to you, but CIA, under the direction of several of its head chefs, has for a number of years monitored telephone and internet correspondence in order to protect against certain cuisine-related national security threats. One of these (and we realize that is doubtless even more surprising) involves manipulations of complex dumpling topography, or ComDuT, as it is known. Eight years ago, a brilliant but rather unstable topographic mathematician, Dr. Porfirio Kvellgnosher, in the throes of a particularly exuberant manic phase in which he decided he was an avatar of Shiva, actually managed to create a Klein Dumpling, and came very close to actually consuming it, thus fulfilling his “destiny” of devouring the universe. Had one of our operatives not located his underground lair beneath Scranton, Pennsylvania, in time for our intervention team to stop him, disaster would have ensued.

While infinite dumpling-stacking is not a hazard in and of itself, we think it should be obvious to you that such lines of inquiry lead in directions best left unexplored. Your distribution list (yes, we have it, and no, we won’t tell you how) largely comprises names of harmless, even ineffectual, individuals, but with matters of such dire import, no amount of caution is excessive. Substitute some other metaphor for the infinite dumplingwe suggest garbage bags. Do not make us deploy the cybernetically-enhanced Julia Child clones.

Dr. [Name Redacted]
Director, CIA CRNST Evaluation Team

PS: Parsley is a great way to remove garlic odor from your hands!


Dear Dr. Redacted],

First, we think it mighty clever of your parents to have given you a first name that starts with an open bracket, given that your surname ends with a close bracket. Very clever.

Of course we cannot respect the confidentiality of your message, because it further demonstrates how linguists, academics, people ignore what is really important in a ground-breaking article. Dr. Weaselflinger has demonstrated what might possibly be one of the most powerful and important proofs in all of Science, and you witter on about his metaphors. As the good doctor himself wrote:

Some advances do draw attention, but the attention itself remains localized, and the wider significance of the advance isn’t recognized for quite some time.

Indeed, your general ignoring of his demonstration of the general ignoring of the implications of Sampson’s theories (ignored by Sampson himself) is, well, ignorant. It’s like a recursive dumpling of ignoring ignorance. Enough!



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 letters 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.

My Fellow Editors,

Concerning our comrade Claude’s recent escapades with “non-integralgrammatical number: Really? Are we buying this? Grammatical number with square roots? The whole thing seems, well, irrational.

Jonathan van der Meer
Speculative Grammarian
Center for Computational
Bioinformatics and Linguistics


[We let Claude Spearsplainpockets respond in his own words.—Eds.]

Dearest Jon,

My definitive study of English is not yet completeit is the work of a lifetime, no?but I believe you are just “pulling my leg”.

I will assume so, and ignore your doubts for now. I am actually too happy to care even about your sincerest doubts right now, as I have just become engaged to the lovely Helga von Helganschtein. We will be publishing a joint paper on additional features of Åriðmatçəl: including interesting phonology I overlooked the first time; further evidence not only for the non-integral grammatical number, but also the vector-based representation, of reported speech; and confirmed reports of the Åriðmatçəl transcendentalists! I expect it may appear in the same issue as this reply to your letter, depending on how distracting our honeymoon turns out to betee hee!

Best to you!

[All of us at Speculative Grammarian would like to extend our warmest regards and congratulations to our dear friend Claude and our new friend Helga. Félicitations nos amis!]


Dear Editors,

We just want to let you know how much we love your magazine. We have just received the spring issue, and it’s so wonderful just to sit down on the porch, with a tall glass of iced mint tea, and be refreshed by the pure joy of all your wonderful articles.

We’re having a splendid summer season. The corn is filling out wonderfully after a couple of really good rains. The fishing has been pretty good too, in spite of the dire predictions in this year’s Farmer’s Almanac. We’re just starting to put up the first of our annual tomato crop, and we expect to be canning green beans soon. Peaches won’t be far behind, and then it’ll be winter again before we know it.

We hope you are having as wonderful a summer season as we are. Please keep up the good work, and do drop us a line when you have the chance.

Your devoted readers
Mabel and Claude Broomcaster
Cicero, IL


Dear Mabel and Claude,

Thanks for your encouraging words. We can only hope that it was Speculative Grammarian you intended to write about. We also wonder what kind of corn you are growing in Cicero.


Speculative Chaosillation!—A Letter from the Managing Editor
Castilian Language Chastised, Portugal Says “We Told You So”—Major Sharpe
SpecGram Vol CLIV, No 2 Contents