The I in Team—A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CLXVI, No 4 Contents Optimality Theory Was a Hoax—SpecGram Wire Services

Letters to the Editor

Dear SpecGram,

I’m going to be traveling to the decadent continent of Europe soon, and I’ve heard a lot about their loose morals and wanton ways. I’ve also heard about something called “language contact”. Could that happen to me on my trip? Should I be worried? How worried should I be?

A. ’Murica
San Antone, Tejas

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Sehr geehrter Mssr. Yanquí,

For many years, linguists have been aware of the phenomenon of language contact. This is normally seen as a natural act in which two consensual language families come together by the union of two of their members to produce morphological offspring.

However, due to changes in phonemic morality since the 1960s, there have been an increasing number of illicit couplings. A number of syntactic conditions and phonetic diseases have been spread as a result of this change in linguistic morality and we suggest you learn how to practice safe language contact, so as to avoid any unpleasantness of the sort that has resulted in Gan-Oriya, Savi-Laz, and Chlalam-Udihe.

Unless you really know what you are doing, you would do best to stay away from Bounded Dominant Syntacto/Mass-comparison-ochistic (BDSM) languages, such as Dom and Slavonic.

In short: be afraid. Be very afraid. In fact, you should just stay home.


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I don’t know which Parmenides that old blowhard O’Fee has been reading (Letters to the Editor, CLXVI.1), but I’m fairly sure it’s not the same Parmenides I did. What a maroon.

Sy N. Tiphique, Dr.Eng.
Director of Applied Science
Archimedes University
Syracuse, NY

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Dear Ψコ,

You know what they say, “you can never read the same Parmenides twice”.

Wait, maybe that was Heraclitus. Maybe we had a brain glitch, and mis-associated the river line with the wrong DAGG (Dead Ancient Greek Guy). Their positions are only 180°-ish out of alignment, after all. They both used those fraternity symbols and everything, though. <phéispalm>

Perhaps we should turn instead to Peraclinides, who argued that there were an infinite number of different eternal rivers, each of which a viewer could intersect in the “same” locus but at different moments. Yeah, that’s the ticket.


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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 Linguists,

Is Speculative Grammarian a magazine that considers for publication materials written and submitted by people not on the SpecGram staff, or is SpecGram a magazine that avoids countless hours of slush-pile–reading by simply writing all material in-house?

(If SpecGram does not accept material from outside, do you know of publications that might be interested in such materials?)

Chris Newclearer-Salia

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Dear Chris,

Speculative Grammarian is neither the kind of magazine that considers for publication materials written and submitted by people not on its staff, nor the kind of magazine that avoids countless hours of slush-pile–reading by simply writing all material in-house. That is because SpecGram is not a magazine; it is a journal. Technically, SpecGram is not peer-reviewed, but that is only because we do not have any peers.

We do accept material from competent scholars, whether or not they are members of the SpecGram staff. But we do not acceptnor is it likely that even second tier journals like Language or Linguistic Inquiry would accept material from someone who cannot distinguish a magazine from a journal, or premier from premiere, or satire from linguistics.

Actually, we’d let that last one slide; it can be admittedly rather difficult sometimes.


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Mes chers éditeurs,

I am disappointed that the recent discussion of the Atishu tribe in volume CLXVI.1 of this journal made no mention of the obviously relevant and obviously revelatory work by Clause Searsplainpockets: “Eating the Wind”, which appeared in this very journal.

Similarly, I can only hope that the recently offered Degree in Linguodontics offered by l’École de SpecGram discusses, at least in the advanced coursework, Searsplainpockets’s groundbreaking work on the “Metal Mouths”.

I’ve also heard rumors that the Linguodontics program covers the largely discredited field of phronology. How can such a prestigious journal lend its good name to such claptrap?

Herr Klaus Liebereinfachetaschen
Irgendwo in Deutschland

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Is that you? “Klaus Liebereinfachetaschen” seems dangerously close to “Clause Dearplainpockets”, which is dangerously close to the name of the author you seem so intent on promoting.

We love you like a Junior Editorial Associate, Claude, but you have got to stop trying to pump up your impact factor. No one counts references in letters to the editor.


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Mis queridos editores,

Bien sûr que non!

Clausule Lievevlaktezakken

The I in TeamA Letter from the Managing Editor
Optimality Theory Was a HoaxSpecGram Wire Services
SpecGram Vol CLXVI, No 4 Contents