(P)ain Itself—A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CLVII, No 4 Contents On Logophoric Pronouns—John Miaou

Letters to the Editor

[We didn’t reply to this letter because we didn’t really even read it. We just published it, assuming that by now its main points have been added to Wikipedia, and any necessary reply has been made there as well. —Eds.]

dear eds;

the exponential explosion of wikignorance is in many ways different from and superior to traditional ignorance. in particular, not looking at what you don’t know increases the likelihood that the knowledge exists, somewhere, in wikipedia.. in a sort of “heisenberg certainty principle” of wikignorance.

peace out,


To the editors of SpecGram:

How many linguists does it take to pick up a box from the ground?

Thank you,
Mr. Burritt Quocvan
Dept. of Linguistics and Name Science
Orvall Oryan School for the Onomastically Challenged


Dear Mr. Quocvan,

At the universities we attended, none. That’s what the grad students are for.



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.


Dear Editors,

I’ve been trying to unsubscribe from SpecGram for several months now. Your automated telephone system will not accept my “Reason for Unsubscribing”I keep receiving automated phone calls, with voices (obviously text-to-speech, by the way) accusing me of being delirious with swine flu, or of having joined an anti-linguistics luddite cult. The last one suggested I may have had to sell my back issues to have my teeth replaced with gold crowns. I resent these slanderous harassments, even if they are being randomly generated.

I am trying this one last time via e-mail to give you the real reason, in hopes that you will leave me alone and finally stop cluttering my mailbox.

At the root of it, I guess it’s kind of the old story, really: like many people I suppose I subscribed in college, just because I could, and left it lying around suggestively in case any girls came by. I kept it up through the first few years of marriage, maybe as an assertion of independence but also for the grooming tips, and besides, who else was publishing Cheever? But then SG changed, or maybe I changed, and once my first son was born it was kind of uncool to be picking up the mail with a toddler in one arm and a mag fat with linguistic humor and whiskey ads in the other, leaking those embarrassing blow-ins the whole length of the apartment hallway.

TM, Topeka



Thanks for your kind message. We had no idea our collection agency was doing this to paying customers. We will take action immediately. Please be assured that you will receive no more such poorly automated phone calls. We can do much better.

We’re sorry, though, that we cannot do anything about canceling your subscription. The gold teeth reason would have been plausible, but since you reject it and all other reasonable suggestions, preferring the sort of drivel you’ve just sent us, we can only conclude that you are not capable of making such an important life decision yourself. Your subscription will continue, with payment deducted automatically as before.



(P)ain Itself—A Letter from the Managing Editor
On Logophoric Pronouns—John Miaou
SpecGram Vol CLVII, No 4 Contents