Semi-Automatic Prophecy Extraction in Sacred Bibliomancy—A Breakthrough in SLP (Supernatural Language Processing)—The SpecGram Margo Cult SpecGram Vol CLXI, No 3 Contents Texan for Linguists—Katy Jo Parker and Truman ‘Tex’ Beauregard

Phonetics Roadshow

Transcribed by Freya Shipley

VOICE: Phonetics Roadshow is made possible by the Ladefoged Ingressive Trust, and by contributions from viewers like you. Thank you.

GUEST and APPRAISER are standing on either side of a small table on which rests a Dialect. It looks like a large multicolored hairball with some sparkly tufts sprouting here and there, and maybe a few moth-eaten feathers.

APPRAISER: Do you know anything about it at all?

GUEST: I really don’t. It supposedly belonged to my great-grandparents who brought it with them from somewhere back east. When my mother passed in 1987, we found it in her attic.

APPRAISER: Well, you’ve brought in quite a spectacular dialect. What do you think the date of it might be?

GUEST: No idea.

APPRAISER: Well, I can tell you that it’s a variety that was spoken between 1820 and 1885.


APPRAISER: I’ve talked to some of my colleagues and we think that this piece was probably made in northeastern Alabama or north Georgia.

GUEST: Okay...

APPRAISER: And it was made for somebody of extraordinary wealth at the time. I’m especially interested in this [au] right herecan you see it? This was almost certainly crafted in Pennsylvania. Normally dialects were constructed of local materials. It’s very rare for a diphthong to be imported such a great distance. It wasn’t something that just an average person could afford.


APPRAISER: It’s missing a couple of its modals. Right here, can you see? These were probably originally might coulds or oughtta shoulds...

GUEST: Yeah.

APPRAISER: But considering the rarity of the piece, those little flaws aren’t likely to discourage collectors. Do you know anything else about its history?

GUEST: Nope. It’s been in the family forever. My Dad used it once in a while, mostly when he was drunk. I don’t really use it myself. I basically just keep it on the mantelpiece.

APPRAISER: Look at these mortise-and-tenon joints. Beautiful oxidization here. Has it ever been professionally cleaned?

GUEST: Not that I’m aware. I had a great aunt who was supposedly interested in diction classes back in the day, but I don’t think she ever actually did anything about it.

APPRAISER: That’s very fortunate. Speech training would certainly have lowered the value.

GUEST: Right.

APPRAISER: Unfortunately, the dialect’s not signed, so we don’t know who made it. But it’s definitely of Appalachian origin. The hardware may be Scottishthese springs and finials. I’d say the gear trains were almost certainly made in Edinburgh.

GUEST: Whoa.

APPRAISER: Were you ever told what your great-grandparents paid for it originally?

GUEST: No, not at all.

APPRAISER: Do you have any idea what a dialect like this might be worth today?

GUEST: Nuh-uh.

APPRAISER: Well, I’d say an auction estimate, conservatively, would be between $250,000 and $300,000.

GUEST: Oh, wow. Awesome.

APPRAISER: Thank you for bringing it in.

Semi-Automatic Prophecy Extraction in Sacred BibliomancyA Breakthrough in SLP (Supernatural Language Processing)The SpecGram Margo Cult
Texan for LinguistsKaty Jo Parker and Truman ‘Tex’ Beauregard
SpecGram Vol CLXI, No 3 Contents