Linguimericks—Book २ SpecGram Vol CLXVIII, No 3 Contents From the Archives!—The Ʌndərwʊd Portable IPA Typewriter—The SpecGram Archive Elves™

The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective

Are you in a world of linguistic hurt? The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (SLAC) will offer you empirical, empathic, emphatic advice you can use!*

Remember, if you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, then you don’t need advice! So, if you need advice, trust usand cut yourself some SLAC!


Dear SLAC,

What’s up with all this “texting” when people could be talking on the phone, like they’re supposed to. Is writing really better than speech? Sheesh. Alexander Graham Bell must be turning over in his grave.

If it’s worth saying, say it!

Signed, Alexander Graham Bell IV
Sent from my iPhone

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Dear Ms. Bell,

Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line, and your call will be processed in the order it was received. Current wait times are approximately 47 minutes. Thanks for calling! We appreciate your business.

SpecGram Advice Line

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Dear Ali G4,

Why did you bother to write to us? Why not just call? If it’s worth saying, say it! (Though I feel I must add an additional caution to say it, not spray it.)

Ultimately, though, linguistics is concerned with language, not writing per se, and linguistics has already been proven to be The Ultimate Field of Study, so anything that is not linguistics is inferior to anything that is linguistics.

Thus, quo errat demonstrator, writing is inferior to speech.

—SLAC Unit #54726579

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Dear @DaRealAGBOfficial69,


—SLAC Unit #4461766964

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Yo Alex!

sup? Txtng s gr8. No idea wat ur bif wit it. Just chill. N ur granpa s long decomposed, wont turn over 4 nafink. Ttyl

—SLAC Unit #466c6f7269616e

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Dear Form Letter Recipient,

This phenomenon can best be understood through sociolinguistics. Language is a game of domination, and the more removed from spoken discourse, the more what is said is informed by the authority of the party in charge. The spread of literacy accompanies the spread of the power of the state. When a bureaucrat deigns to chat with you at your door, do you feel threatened? When a bureaucrat sends you a letter, do you feel safe? No and no. The spread of texting is a facile means of pretending that one has power in a thoroughly powerless situation. Does a bureaucrat text you? Hell no, of course not, unless he or she is looking for a quick’n’easy lay or similar commercial transaction implying a contract between equals’cause what we got now sure as hell ain’t that.

—SLAC Unit #4d696b61656c

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Hey Alex!

While the history of human language has been marked by the presence of overt movement (of information)that is, audible and observable communication, the rise in texting should be seen as evidence in favor of the existence of covert movement. Fluency in texting allows one to convey meaning without third-party eavesdropping, modulo activities by the NSA. That is to say that we should expect to see that children raised in a texting-based environment will lack the ambiguous quantifier scope expected in spoken language, which seems to be the case as per studies by Ingklingval (2008), Tyurtski et al. (2010) and Státzenfreich (2006). Whether or not this is an objectively good thing is open to debate/combat in the Linguadome.

—SLAC Unit #5a6163

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Dear Alexander,

i no teh sound of the txt alert well. many a night, just @ midnight, when all the world sleeps, it has welled up from my own device, deepening, w/ its dreadful echo, the terrors that distract me. i say i no it well. i no what u feel, & pity u.

during ur classes, u have bn saying 2 the people around u —“it is nothing but teh wind in the chimney —it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” / “it is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” :( yes, u have bn trying 2 plac8 urself w/ these suppositions: bt u have found all in vain. all in vain; b/c the txt alert tone, in approaching u, has stalked w/ its black shadow b4 it, & it will btray u.

the hellish ta2 increases. it grows quicker & quicker, & louder and louder every instant. the terror must b xtreme! it grows louder, i say, louder every moment! —i mark that u have told me that u r nervous: so u r & so m i. & now @ the dead hour of the afternoon, amid the dreadful silence of that seminar, so strange a noise as this excites u 2 uncontrollable terror. yet, 4 some minutes u refrain & sit still. bt teh ringing grows louder, louder! u think ur heart must burst. & now a new anxiety seizes u —the sound will b tracked 2 ur own phone & u will b undone.

ur hour has come, bt i can b no more help 2 u, 4 i c it is grown l8 —nearly midnight —& i must fetch my lantern & look in on the old man.

—SLAC Unit #5368657269

* Advice is not guaranteed to be useful, practical, or even possible. Do not attempt at home. Consult a doctor (of linguistics, philology, orin a pinchanthropology) before undertaking any course of treatment. This advice is not intended to cure or treat any disease or condition, inherent or contingent. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, except when it is not. “Empirical” means that we asked at least two other “people” whether our advice was good; one or more of those “people” may be voices in our own heads. “Emphatic” means that you may print out a copy of the advice for personal use in a medium, semi-bold, bold, heavy, black, or ultra-black weight of an italic or oblique typeface using an enlarged font size. “Empathic” means that deep down, in the darkest recesses of our blackest heart of hearts, we really, really care ♥just not necessarily about you.

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SpecGram Vol CLXVIII, No 3 Contents