Breaking the Fourth Wall and the Fourth Voice—A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 1 Contents Linguimericks—Book ४

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sirs (snort, sneer),

In your last issue you addressed Clotilde Fanbourne as ‘Miss Fanbourne.’ She had given no indication whatsoever of her marital status in her correspondence, so where do you get off implying she’s too unstable to attract a husband?

Sincerely mine (not yours),
Agnes Lamb,
Lower Pigeon Croft,
Felonious Assault MO

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Dear Miss Lamb,

Thank you for your gracious inquiry. Please note for further reference that said term of address is used in our style sheet to indicate quality of argumentation, not marital status.


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I want to offer a word of advice to your readers. After reading about the lovely-sounding services offered by The Swiss Data Massage Villa in a recent issue, I decided to seek out a similar service in my area.

I ended up at a somewhat seedy-looking data massage parlor “on the wrong side of the tracks.” Despite my initial hesitations, I entered and surrendered my data to the masseuse therein.

The process was not as professional as I’d have liked, and I was particularly put off by a completely inappropriate offer of a “happy case ending” for my verb paradigm. The horror! My verbs were considerably more tensed after my visit than they had been before.

I’m sure The Swiss Data Massage Villa is a reputable establishment, and I suggest that your readers make sure they only visit similar to have their data massaged.

After my experiences in the Amazon (on the twisted whim of Butch McBastard, no less), this is not the kind of stress I need in my life now.

Mordred Ilktost
<Undisclosed Location>

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Sheesh Ilktost,

I could have told you that you should avoid those cheap data massage parlors, if you only were here to listen.

Was that your Amazonian data you were massaging? What kind of pervert are you? Criminy, Ilktost! I want the raw data! Don’t make me come over there and disclose your location, if you get my drift.

And I still can’t believe you’ve been back from the Amazon since, what, 1997, and you still haven’t filed your story? What kind of slacker are you?


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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 SpecGram,

I recently received a copy of The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics instead of my December pension/disability payment. My intense anger turned to moderate shock when I discovered that a picture of my old desk was on the cover. I thought the interns would have gone scavenging and picked it clean by now. Sorry I never finished filing all those TPS reports.

Since I’d already bought a copy of the book for myself, I sent the new copy to my good friend/pen pal Phb*t   D!qaxrrrrrr3rr, of the Search for Terrestrial Sentience at the Closed Universe Open University in Uku Patera, Io.

The Moderately Transcalescent Phb*t was not impressed, and wanted to know why there wasn’t a copy of the book on my desk at the time the cover photo was taken. I didn’t quite know how to respond to that at first, but the Moderately Transcalescent Phb*t’s ¤D¤qa¤r¤ Cohort Phb!t   D*qa3rrrrrrxrr, of the Search for Terrestrial Intelligence, at the Planetary Communication Directorate on Europa, dropped the book into an intercampus mail wormhole and solved the problem.

The Most Translucent Phb!t posted the enclosed image to Interstellagram and Fl¡ʞᴚ, noting that “human linguistics should be recursive, since human language is, despite a lack of serious meta-theoretical meta-linguistics” (more or less, according to the AutoGrammatikon™).

My doctor says I shouldn’t get so worked up, so I’m trying to forgive SpecGram for nearly killing me. Since I sent you this nifty picture, could you please send my pension check for December?

With mild irritation,
Arkhibuldinho Rasputinsky McFudgment
SpecGram Senior Junior Editor, Ret.

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Long time no see! It’s great to hear from you, and it’s good to know you are doing well after your alleged incident, with respect to which SpecGram has made no legally-binding admission of guilt.

Could you please get those TPS reports in by Friday? That would be great.

Smell Ya Later,

Breaking the Fourth Wall and the Fourth VoiceA Letter from the Managing Editor
LinguimericksBook ४
SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 1 Contents