Ten Years of Linguistic Mischief—Keith Slater and Trey Jones SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 2 Contents Linguistics Nerd Camp—Bethany Carlson

Tenth Anniversary Testimonials

SpecGram is probably the bravest linguistics journal on the planet. No other journal had the enormous integrity needed to print my piece on Shigudo, which has launched my emeritus career into the stratosphere.”

—Edmund C. Gladstone-Chamberlain

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“We at the X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies appreciate Speculative Grammarian’s commitment to communication, compromise, and clarity in the name of collaboration. As we congratulate them on their Tenth Digiversary, we look forward to continuing to work with SpecGram for many years to come.”

—Coöper A. Shinn, XQK Public Relations Officer

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Speculative Grammarian has been a feature of the linguistic blog-scape since my undergraduate days, and if you extend back to its pre-digital existence, SpecGram has basically been around since I was pre-verbal.”

—Lauren Gawne

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“I would say that the SpecGram Editorial Board is the most conniving, back-stabbing, worthless collection of human excrement I’ve ever encountered, but (i) I’m contractually forbidden from doing so, and (ii) having worked for one or more of the lesser linguistics journals, I know it just ain’t so. Here’s to another ten years in this stinkin’ hellhole.”

—Butch McBastard

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“Every serious field of study deserves a satirical wing, and linguistics is blessed in this regard with Speculative Grammarian.

—Stan Carey

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“Under Trey Jones’ editorship, Speculative Grammarian has published the most insightful linguistics article I have ever read. I should know, I wrote it myself.”

—Noah McMosky, University of Ledworth

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Mine was better.”

—G. Berish, Wessex Thomas Hardy University

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“Many of you will know and fear the Speculative Grammarian journal, the ultimate Shibboleth in the field of languaging (and if you know what a Shibboleth is, and are proud of it, then [it] might be for you).”

—Sean Roberts

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—Phineas Q. Phlogiston

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“Only those who are truly devoted to something can produce fine satire and parody. ... [T]he contributors to SpecGram obviously know their stuff, don’t take themselves (or their discipline) over-seriously, and enjoy playing with linguistics, language, and languages to create something new, amusing, and (dare we say) even educational at times.”

—Don Boozer

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“If you are satisfied with the mere groundbreaking, go for the traditional journals. If you’re holding out for earth-shattering, then SpecGram is the journal you’ve been waiting for. If it’s not published here, it’s not linguistics you need.”

—Morris Swadesh III

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“I’d like to thank SpecGram for providing both a publications outlet and a generous funding source for the Bizarre Grammars of the World Series. The feel of the printed journal in my hands always makes it seem all the more real. I canwhat, dear? Online? On a computer? My word, does that mean we met on one of those dating sites? Is our entire marriage a lie, woman?”

—Claude Sears­plain­pockets & Helga von Helganschtein y Sears­plain­pockets

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“I’ve enclosed a small token of my appreciation on the event of your tenth digiversary.”

—Chesterton Wilburfors Gilchrist, Jr.

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“Look, we’re basically indentured servants here. You know it. We know it. Contractually, you all but literally own us. (I think you may even legally own the interns that work in North Korea.) I’m not sure I believe that the arcane magickal oath we swore in Pig-Latinized Old English actually does bind our souls to SpecGram, but I wouldn’t recommend to any intern that they test it. All I ask is thatin celebration of ten years of online SpecGrammatical successyou let up on the floggings. Or at least go back to the all-leather cats-o-nine-tails used in the 90s. The metal-tipped ones are inhumane. Submitted for your consideration, as always, with humility.”

—Cynthanie Diplodocus, Intern #79502 & Shop Steward, SpecGram Interns Union
[Request denied. The beatings will continue until morale improves. —Eds.]

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“Little is more satisfying than an evening spent perusing dog-eared back issues of Speculative Grammarian. Except perhaps an evening spent reading my book, Linguistic Deskwork. I heartily commend them both to you.”

—H.D. Onesimus

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“Dear Spec. Graham, I would just like to say that before you found me, ten years ago, I was a poor lonesome, sickly cornflakes eater. I ate cornflakes every morning of my life, and I thought it was amaizing. I had never even heard of graham crackers or graham flour or anything, so when I saw my first box of Special Graham, I thought ‘OK, that might be good’. And I have never looked back. Special Graham has been my favorite serial ever since. Thanks, Spec Graham.”

—Silky Tassels

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SpecGramBehind the Scenes

A rare image of the SpecGram editorial archives during Prohibition.

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“Dear Members of the Speculative Grammarian Board of Examiners:

While I was not immediately enamored of this entire ‘electronic journal’ idea, I must admit that it has proven both durable and robust in the decade since it was implemented. I had not anticipated the extent to which the format could perform the essential function of a journal: to eliminate the need for travel when one is attempting to keep abreast of recent trends in the field. Our field has its share of print journals, of coursemainstream publications such as Language and Proceedings of the Philological Society have long brought scholarly discourse to our local research libraries, and more waggish rags such as Linguistic Inquiry and The New Articulator, with their short-form ‘Squips’ and ‘Snicklets’ or whatever they are called now, have even transported some of the more amusing conference coffee-room speculations to the reader. We can all be truly grateful that not even those inclined toward passing intellectual fancies are absolutely required to make yearly peregrinations to the frozen urban wasteland of Chicago, the febrile marshes of Hong Kong, the arachnid-infested scrublands of Sydney, or even Manchester in their search for the newest hothouse theoretical headline. There will always be the thrill-addicted young scholars willing to trek anywhere for ‘Could the noun phrase really just be there to go with the determiner?!’ or ‘You won’t believe what fifteen new words Pullum claims are prepositions! Is one of them Chupacabra?!’, but one no longer has to sit on one of those terrible airplanes with them.

Of course, Speculative Grammarian’s previous Editorial Board, as you know, had already tried to go one better by eliminating the Library middleman; in the early 1990s, it had succeeded in eluding library purchasing lists entirely. While the mail was a definite improvement, however, it still was problematic; despite my many constructive suggestions, the Postal Office continues to ignore the myriad flaws inherent in placing postboxes in exposed positions. Editor Jones’ proposal to convert the journal to a form transmissible through the internetto intubate it?has proven sound. In addition, he has somehow motivated the interns to produce work at an unparalleled pace, and all apparently with a turnover rate that is certainly no worse than it was in the old days, even after quinine. The one complaint I have with his approach is his occasional application of it to everyone, instead of only to interns. I’m sure he means well, and it is only force of habit, but I fear that some day, Searsplainpockets will swear back at him in one of those languages of his and we’ll hear about it for the next four years (especially as S. will then treat his own tirade as data and publish it).

In regards to publication standards, I am afraid I am rather biased, as Editor Jones personally rejected my article ‘Seasonal Chromatic Shifts in the Plumage of Cuniculator gnari var. zipphii.’ While I disagree with his ex cathedra assertion that my distinction between ‘umber’ and ‘wenge’ should have taken background lighting into consideration, and with his unnecessarily arcane application of some sort of color measurement device he had gotten hold of, I must suppose that it does indicate a healthy attention to detail.

In summary: Although I fear he might be emboldened by itone has to watch these math types; they are subject to enthusiasmsI strongly support the proposal to increase Editor Jones’ emolument, including granting access to the Executive Sachertorteschrank.”

—Athanasious Schadenpoodle

“PS: After Tuesdays, on the Sachertorteschrank. And if he stores corned-beef sandwiches and boiled eggs in it like Editor Pulju did, away with the stipend.”

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“Ungh... my chest! Uuuunnngh!”

—Arkhibuldinho Rasputinsky McFudgment

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“Ah, yes, I remember me well the first time I met the Editorial Board of SpecGram. We were all in grade school together, 2nd grade I believe, and on the first day of school I was being beaten up behind the gym by several 3rd graders when they walked around the corner, saw what was happening, and said, ‘No, no, you’re doing it wrong.’ They then proceeded to pound their fists into my face repeatedly. This merely made me start laughing, seeing how little effect their feeble blows had. The 3rd graders jumped them and made them eat dirt. This daily ritual continued for the next 4 years, but it made all of us in the weaker leagues of our class appreciate the Editorial Board of SpecGram all the more, for with them around the older kids had much easier targets than the rest of us.

The next distinct memory I have of the Editorial Board of SpecGram was in September 1979, after the news broke of the killer rabbit attack on Jimmy Carter. The Editorial Board of SpecGram had always been twitchy around any animals larger than a small toe, even furry ones, however cute and cuddly, but this story affected them profoundly. For the first week of school they would be dropped off in the morning gibbering ‘Bunnies, bunnies, keep them away,’ and soon the 4th graders took to wearing rabbit masks at recess. That Halloween all the children dressed as rabbits, and at the end of the year the school adopted a new mascot, the Killer Rabbit. Already the Editorial Board of SpecGram was making their mark on the world!

The rest of the Editorial Board of SpecGram’s educational career we should probably pass over in silence for all concerned, though I can’t help pointing out the symbolic event in which they corrected the misapprehension of their 5th grade science teacher that infrared radiation is radiation that one may ‘infrare.’ The combination of their acuity in science with their psychopathic inability to let it rest really tells you all that need be known of this stage of their lives. Similarly, the most memorable event of their high school days, being the first cadets in American history to be court-martialed in high school ROTC after trying to stop a nose bleed with a tourniquet in first aid class, would probably be best forgotten were it not so unforgettable.

But finally we get to their years after school, when they came into their own. Beginning as door to door spice salesmen, the Editorial Board of SpecGram worked their way up to become heads of the world’s largest oregano import and export company. Indeed, they probably still would be the kingpins of the marjoram family trade if they had only taken to heart the wise street advice they never had a chance to learn, ‘Don’t get high off your own supply.’ Alas, they never did have street smarts, and so it is that after hitting rock bottom and then digging for several years, they finally worked their way back up to regional managers of the Gruff Murchison Used Auto Supply Corporation. Congratulations, Editorial Board of SpecGram! We never knew you had it in you!”

Jerrold N. Fungellio

[Note: Thanks to a Bing Translator mishap, it turns out this testimonial is for a completely different “Editorial Board of SpecGram”. However, as it is more entertaining than anything having to do with our Editorial Board, and aswhile false in every concrete detailit tells a deeper, more allegorical truth about their editorship, we’ve decided to print it anyway. —Eds.]

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Speculative Grammarian accepts well-written testimonials commenting on specific activities undertaken by this journal or discussing the journal in general. We also accept poorly-written testimonials 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.

Ten Years of Linguistic MischiefKeith Slater and Trey Jones
Linguistics Nerd CampBethany Carlson
SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 2 Contents