Of Human Charity and Goodwill—A Letter from the Executive Editor SpecGram Vol CLXXI, No 4 Contents Sleeping Furiously Since 1986—Laura Ryals

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editors,

You bunch of money-grubbing, pocket-gouging price-fixers! You should be ashamed. I have been following the prices of your entertaining and educational book, The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics, on Amazon for monthsbecause obviously it would make a great holiday gift for all of my linguist friends. Not only is there no consistency to the Amazon price, but sometimes it actually rises. Call off the dogs, already. Sure, your children need to eat, but it’s totally shameless profiteering to try to squeeze an extra 25¢ out of poor graduate students who want to give nice things to their loved ones and other linguists they know.

Even though the book is required for my History of Linguistic Theories class at Princeton, I will not be buying a copy for my classor buying extras as presents for my friendsuntil you and your Amazon cronies drop the price below $10.00.

Happy Holidays,
Bert Lugosi-Carlisle-Smith, PhD Candidate

✢ ✢ ✢

Dear Bertie,

We hate to impugn Princeton’s graduate entrance standards, but you apparently missed Capitalism 101. Do you suppose Amazon consults us about the price of our book? Gosh, where do you shop?

Anyways, we are happy to inform you that a PDF edition is available for a mere $5.95. And come on, Amazon has already dropped a buck or more off the MSRP of $12.99 for the print edition. They’re practically paying you to take it off their hands.

Judging from your letter, though, you may be clever enough to get a new copy of the print edition for $99.90 + shipping.

But hey, keep trolling Goodwill and maybe you’ll find that 50¢ copy of your dreams!

Wishing goodwill to you and yours during this festive holiday season,

Dear SpecGram,

There seems to be an inconsistency over whether punctuation is put inside or outside of quotation marks. I seem to recall reading that SpecGram’s policy is to go with the notation that makes sense in context, in which case I think you need to make some serious changes. I have attached an extensive list of the most egregious errors.

Punctilio P. Punctate

[File attachment corrupted. Awww, too bad!]

✢ ✢ ✢

Dear Point-to-Point Protocol,

The “inconsistency” you detect may be what is called standard American punctuation. While it is widely known we fought the British to be free to drink coffee rather than that ghastly tea they forced down our throats, it is less widely known that punctuation was a contributory cause. Refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for further details, but in short, periods and commas differ in American and British usage when interacting with quotation marks; exclamation points and question marks are treated identically, except that in the situations when exact quotation of punctuation is required, logical usage prevails. As the sacred text of my sect puts it, “In defense of nearly a century and a half of the American style, however, it may be said that it seems to have been working fairly well and has not resulted in serious miscommunication.” (5.13, p. 161, 14th ed., amen) This is one of the places where those heretics at AP would probably agree with the true doctrine, but one never knows with those chowderheads.


❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

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.

Of Human Charity and GoodwillA Letter from the Executive Editor
Sleeping Furiously Since 1986Laura Ryals
SpecGram Vol CLXXI, No 4 Contents