Questioning Answers—A Letter from the Executive Editor SpecGram Vol CLXX, No 1 Contents Ye Olde Punnery—The Jigglepike Fragment—SpecGram Wire Services

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editors,

I am responding to your recent article “Next Noam Chomsky to Be Selected”.

What a load of tripe! There has never been any Council of Generativism, and there never will be. Your article is revisionist history at its worst. At the risk of exposing secrets best left unexposed, I feel the need to set the record straight.

Noam I passed the title to me as a private transaction in 1975. Far from the “pessimism” that your correspondent baselessly alleges, Noam I told me he was simply tired and ready to retire from public life. I will never forget the selflessness of his exact words, which were: “Have you ever considered Linguistics? You’d make a wonderful Dread Linguist Chomsky.” Though I had in fact never considered linguistics, I dared not turn down the opportunity.

When I, in turn, grew tired of leading the field in the late 1980’s, I searched for several years for someone suitable to carry on the position. Following Noam I’s magnanimous example, I also privately anointed a successorin this case one who I was sure could fend off the Functionalists of Unusual Size who were then beginning to infest the field. My brother Lester best fit the bill, and like Noam I, I retired to a peaceful life of idle swordplay.

Get your facts straight, SpecGram! The title of Noam Chomsky has passed twice, peacefully and voluntarily, in each case to a deserving up-and-coming linguist. Your allegations of intrigue are as baseless as they are insulting, and I strenuously urge you to recant your lies and tell the truth.

Cyrus Brockmorton, a.k.a. Noam II

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Dear Cyrus,

You seem like a decent fellowwe hate to contradict you. But we do not think “revisionist” means what you think it means. It may be inconceivable to you, but you’ll just have to get used to disappointment. But we admit you have a dizzying intellect. Rest well, and dream of large women.


Dear sirs/ma’ams/others,

I have noticed that the conference a linguist goes to tells a lot about his/her/its character. For example, the National Conference on Less Commonly Taught Languages, NCOLCTL or “nickel tickle,” attracts people interested in cheap thrills. (Participants often call it “nickel kettle,” but that is a transparent camouflage or taboo avoidance.) Similarly, the North American Conference on Afro-Asiatic Languages, NACAAL or “nay-call,” attracts professional nay-sayers. And those who attend the North American Association of the History of the Linguistic Sciences, NAAHOLS, are just what that would lead you to expect. So, out of curiosity, what conferences do your editorial staff attend?

Sincerely curious,
Dudley Du Raillette
President, Society for the Preservation of Authenticity, Conscience, and Emotion from Corruption by the American Decadent Economic-Technological System

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Dear Dudley Du Raillette of the SPACECADETS,

We only attend one conference, the Conference of Obtrusively Outstanding Linguists Documenting Undocumented, Diverse, and Endangered Silliness. We’d say “See you there!” but we won’tit really doesn’t seem like your kind of scene, if you know what we mean.


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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.

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Questioning AnswersA Letter from the Executive Editor
Ye Olde PunneryThe Jigglepike FragmentSpecGram Wire Services
SpecGram Vol CLXX, No 1 Contents