Assorted Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know—Madalena Cruz-Ferreira SpecGram Vol CLXXI, No 2 Contents It Was a Dark and Stormy Noun...—1986 Edition—The SpecGram Puzzle Elves™

Overheard in the SpecGram Editorial Lounge

Hellgrün Dunkelblau, Ph.D. and Myrkur-Viviti Темнота, ABD
Department of Computational Fieldwork
Caenoches Technical School
Darkness Falls, Massachusetts

The following snippets of conversation were accidentally recorded by a rogue SHRLI 2.0 sensor that escaped in the SpecGram office tower while we were there making a pitch to secure venture capital funding for our next computational fieldwork startup.

The SpecGram Venture Capital Overlords didn’t offer us funding, but they did say they’d consider passing along any interesting data we gathered to the SpecGram Publishing Overlords. They also made us call them overlords.

Nonetheless, their mightinesses have agreed to publish the following, as “it may provide useful insight into the inner workings of Speculative Grammarian.”

At least we got another publication out of it.

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Editor а:
So I said, “And why beholdest thou the speck that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the gram that is in thine own eye?”
Editor б:
Oh geez, not the Volumist Controversy again. We missed four issue deadlines back in ’27 due to that.

Yes, yes, that camp over there will argue that speck is an antepluralized form of peck, thus supporting the adoption of gram as the right interpretive move (while also linking to the whole “don’t hide your light under a bushel” thing), and then that other camp over yonder will start making noises about grains and grams and chick-peas and come in with a bushel analogy from a more crop-oriented angle. And then someone else will start making arguments about the measuretic text or whatever.

We only made it past this last time by bringing in some Sanskritamil enthusiasts who distracted everyone by getting in a fight with a couple of Japhetic partisans in the third-floor smoking lounge. We’ve got linguistics-infringing physicists yelling war-equations at us out in the hinterlands! Make nice.
Editor в:
That’s why I usually go with, “Why beholdest thou the ‘particle’ in thy neighbor’s grammar, but perceivest not the ‘adverb’ in thine own grammar?”
Editor г:
I’ve heard it both ways.
[Recording garbled due to excess mechanical noise, which our forensic audiologists have determined is the sound of a Margarita Master 6000.]
Editor в:
I first interpreted your maxim as a structuralist, which meant that “speck” and “gram” had to contrast in order to mean anything. That didn’t really get me anywhere (and I guess that tells us something about structuralism).

It wasn’t until two days later that I escaped that framework psychosis and thought about the maxim from a construction grammar point of view. The parts must be added togetherAha! Then it all made sense!

Anyway, I’m sure that many others of you tried to understand it from the stratificational perspective, or worse, and had similar difficulties. Please be comfortedyour theory is probably OK even if it can’t be applied to recover real world meanings.
Editor д:
How rude! The parts do contrast! While a gram is small, it’s still reasonably large enough to fit into someone’s eye and be noticeable. A speck, though, is so small that it could be in anyone’s eye. I think we can say that specks, with their more general distribution, are the unmarked form, and grams, with their more restricted distribution, are marked [+obvious].

Jakobson’s probably spinning in his grave right now, all thanks to you.
Editor а:
Mineralism completely supports this clear analysis of my “speck”-“gram” construction.

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Editor א:
Do not give him room on imperatives! He will run amok. Also, if he mentions super-secret typos, check immediately to see if any of the periods have been rotated seven degrees, or if any of the space characters are from a different font.

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Editor α:
We’re just frothing with linguistic enthusiasm, but don’t be put off. We could all become productive members of society someday. It’s probably just a phase we’re going through.

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Editor ก:
Typographyor typology, as some call itis the font of all wisdom!

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Editor ჱ:
Please leave your sanity at the front door. Our security guards will give you a tag for it.
Editor ჲ:
More precisely, they’ll play tag with it. Be sure to save your receipt; it’s essential documentation for when you file suit for restoration of damages when they lose it.
Editor ჳ:
I can tell I’ve come to the right place. I’m mad. You’re mad. We’re all mad here.
Editor ჴ:
Most of you don’t even exist, you know that... You can hardly claim madness as a defense if you don’t exist or are only sub-bots of the master-bot.
Editor ჲ:
That depends on which meanings of “exist” exist.
Editor ჵ:
Those who worry about my sanity have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Assorted Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t KnowMadalena Cruz-Ferreira
It Was a Dark and Stormy Noun...1986 EditionThe SpecGram Puzzle Elves™
SpecGram Vol CLXXI, No 2 Contents