Desperatio Scholasticus: Cogitatio de Spiritus Grammaticae—Umbrabilis Editor Dr. Cuthbert S. Binns SpecGram Vol CLXV, No 1 Contents Labiodental Flap—Mary Pearce

Letters to the Editor


The picture on the cover of the last issue is misplaced. It should come immediately after the first page.

Jakob Wackernagel
Basel, Switzerland


Dear Prof. Wackernagel,

We disagree. The gentleman in question is phonologically independent.



Esteemed Editors,

I’m not sure I understand what’s going on with Jonathan van der Meer and Lagâri Hasan Çelebi’s discussion of time travel in “Hidden Secrets of Alphapointillism”, or Chanelle Tuggle’s follow up letter to the editor and her “Marr asks us” anagram.

The picture uncovered by van der Meer and Çelebi is not Whorf or Marr. It is clearly Rasmus Rask. Note also that the title of Seubscript’s work, “rkasmsursa”, is an anagram of Rasmus Rask! No time travel, no Soviet linguists, no conspiracies, just simple Alphapointillism.

Ibrišim Mausar
Head Curator
Italian Alphapointillist Museum
Marina Di Carrara, Italy


Dear Ib,

We don’t really need any more of your whack-job, wing-nut, conspiracy theory codswallop. Crawl back under your rock and stay quiet while the adults are talking.


Dear SpecGram,

I can’t help but find Leon Mikhailovsky’s ‘Distant Experience Principle’ (DEP) in “Cultural Constraints on Aharip Grammar” a little too simplistic. It doesn’t really give a holistic account for the “absence of any grammatical structures lacking recursion”.

I propose instead the ‘Distance Experience Recursive Principle’ (DERP), which neatly encapsulates all the relevant explanatory information without really explaining anything, packaged in a vastly superior acronym.

Herbert Aitch Herpolsheimer
Halitosis, Hessen, Hermania


Dear Peaches,

We like your improved principle. It builds vacuously on a meaningless foundation; that’s the best kind of linguistics (or at least the most rewardednot that we’re bitter).

However, you haven’t taken enough credit. Clearly your principle should be named after you: The Herpolsheimer DERP Principlethough in this internet-fueled age, that’s not quite snappy enough, so let’s shorten it and give it the CamelCase/SMALL CAPS treatment: The HERPDERP Principle.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.



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.

Desperatio Scholasticus: Cogitatio de Spiritus GrammaticaeUmbrabilis Editor Dr. Cuthbert S. Binns
Labiodental FlapMary Pearce
SpecGram Vol CLXV, No 1 Contents