SpecGram Vol CLIX, No 2 Contents Letters to the Editor

Boas’ iDesktopInformationTransmissionDevice

A Letter from the Managing Editor

In the August 2009 Letter from the Editor, we announced a fascinating tidbit of previously lost history, when Senior Editor Keith W. Slater found in his great-grandpa Keiller W. Slater’s attic an early hand-written draft of Boas’ Handbook of American Indian Languages. In the margin next to the entry for Mekem we found this prescient comment:

I can only wax wistful at the vision of desktop information transmission devices, sending words and even pictures from one man’s study to another, even across the world ... for all the world to have instantaneously transmitted to their own desks ...

Great-grandpa Slater’s attic treasure trove recently coughed up another amazing surprisea drawing, rendered by Boas himself as best we can determine, of such a desktop information transmission device as he imagined it. We have reproduced it here for your edification.

In other news, the editors of SpecGram are experiencing an odd mixture of technical pride and academic shame at the recent release of The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature, also known as The Scrabble Cheaters’ Dictionary:

It is an infinite lexiconunbound by the constraints of time, space, or truth. Any and every word anyone will ever desperately need to demonstrate is indeed found in the English language is presentcomputationally incanted from the lexicographic ether, ad hoc. ... [S]ome of our best computational linguists and several of our nearly-adequate code monkeys have dedicated a considerable amount of time and effort to this thankless, Herculean task.

Use it with caution and it will serve you well.

Now, hearty congratulations are due to the Chiasmus of the Month Award winner for June 2010!

Wolfgang Teubert, 2010, “Society presupposes language, and language presupposes society”, in Meaning, Discourse and Society, Cambridge University Press.
Chiasmus of the Month
June 2010

Letters to the Editor
SpecGram Vol CLIX, No 2 Contents