A Fair Number More Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know—Madalena Cruz-Ferreira SpecGram Vol CLIX, No 2 Contents Introducing.. The <i>SpecGram</i> ⅔ Ellipsis™©

The Encyclopedia of Mytholingual Creatures, Places, and Things
Part I

Jʚsɘph Cɑɱpbɛɬɭ

Abominable Synonym: A mytholingual creature of Nepal and Tibet that causes speakers within the radius of its effect to pathologically doubt their ability to choose the right word.

Hermes Trismegistus,
one of the early Al-Khemists
Al-Khemy: The mytholingual art and science of converting words from Arabic to English. Hence albatross, alchemy, alcohol, alcove, algebra, algorithm, alfalfa, etc.

Big Honkers: A mainstay of cryptolinguistics, this far-northern tribe of large-nosed, loose-lipped natives speak a language that includes a labio-nasal place of articulation. They supposedly can close their noses with their upper lips, and it’s phonemic!

Bigfeet: A mytholingual creature of North America said to be 17 feet tall and only able to speak in rhyming heroic heptadecameter. (Hence it composes its thoughts very, very slowly, and speaks little if at all.)

Branchee: A tormented female spirit from Ireland said to inhabit the corners of the most complicated and theoretically-challenged syntax trees. Her wailing is said to haunt the dreams of syntacticians who study Old Irish.

Caron: The ferryman who carried phonemes across the River Háčeks on their way into Slavic languages.

Centensaurs: Mytholingual Greek creatures with the head and torso of men and the lower body of a syntactic parse tree.

Chupasoplos: A legendary linguocryptid said to inhabit parts of Latin America, whose name is Spanish for “breath-sucker”. This horrific creature was once a normal person who has been magically altered so that they can only speak when inhaling.

Daniel Jones’ Locker: The mythical place whence all unpronounceable phones come to torment first-year linguistics students. Not to be confused with Palindroma’s Box.

Doppeldoppelgängergänger: A Germanic shadow creature involved in reduplication and compounding.

Fountain of Yodth: A mytholingual fountain, purported to be in Florida, the West Indies, and other locations in the New World. Its magical waters restore to speakers of English the ability to properly pronounce words like human, Houston, tune, dew, new, lute, and enthusiasm.

Fryggyn’: The Norse goddess of minced oaths.

Gerundel: A combination of living at the bottom of a lake and terrorizing a tribe of Danes (including King Hrasmus Hrask) is characteristic of this creature. Devoted to describing how defeating Gerundel was accomplished, the epic Old English poem Beotto concentrates on narrating the actions of its protagonist, Beotto Jespersen.

Haitch and Eng
Gramour: A magical charm that confuses and confounds one’s opponent based on convoluted syntax, fine details of semantics, and the exceedingly rapid production of phonemes.

Haitch and Eng: The result of a Medieval Linguisorcerer’s attempt to apply the principles of Chinese dualist philosophy to English pronunciation. The separate but inseparable dualities, by their mysterious symbiosis, create an allomorphic whole, known to some as Heng.

Hapax Legendomenon: Any mytholingual creature seen only once, and thus usually difficult to identify or characterize.

Hjelmslevvir: The magical prolegomena of Ðor; according to myth, when quoted or even alluded to forcefully, its sparse yet oblique structure could daze even the most titanic of structuralists.

Hyperbolea: A legendary land of the Greeks, far to the north, where everything is absolutely perfect, 110% of the time. It is a thousand times better than the best place in Greece, and a thousand thousand thousand times better than the best place you’ve ever been. The streets are paved with gold that is a billion times better than the best gold in the rest of the world. The water is so pure that it tastes better than beer, a hundred times better than the best beer, even. The fruits that fall off the trees are so good that there are no words to describe them in other languages, and they cure blindness, baldness, and bowleggedness. It is awesome in Hyperbolea.

Jason and the Argotnauts: An ancient Greek mytholingual figure and his band of heroes, named after their ship, the Argot, named in turn for the incomprehensible rhyming slang used by the Argotnauts. They are known primarily for their quest for the Glottalized Fleece.

Jigodoku: The underground hell of Japan, where linguistics grad students go, having wasted all their time doing Japanese logic puzzles instead of working on their theses.

King Structuralism’s Mines: The fabled source of the arguments and examples that, if only they could be mined and brought to light, would herald the end of Generative Linguistics and begin a New Age of Structural Linguistics.

Knights of the Linguistic Roundtable: A department of brave and true academics, led by Dean of Humanities Arthur. They held magical conferences and presented important research in an atmosphere of camaraderie and intellectual investigation. Once considered historical, now known to be entirely mythical.

Kreaken: A monstrous creaky-voiced many-armed sea creature found off the coasts of Norway and Iceland that can pull even full-sized warships under the waves. When attacking a ship, the creature often gives out a tremendous creaky-voiced wail that sounds like a wooden ship being torn asunder. Its only natural enemy is the gargantuan fire-breathing sea monster known as the Labiovelariathan.

Lexicanthropy: A rare condition in which a human will, when the moon is full, transform into a dictionary. In extreme cases, especially among practicing philologists, the sufferer may transform into a multi-volume work.

Linguomancy: Any form of magic using words.

Lowki: The Norse trickster and god of falling tones.

Maui’ō’e: The Polynesian god of small alphabets.

Morphemeus: The Greek god of dreams of meaning.

Mummy: Ancient Egyptian bringer of words. Speaks a simplified and over-enunciated language called Mummy-ese.

Part II will appear in the next issue of SpecGram.

A Fair Number More Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know—Madalena Cruz-Ferreira
Introducing.. The SpecGram Ellipsis™©
SpecGram Vol CLIX, No 2 Contents