SpecGram Vol CLXXIX, No 1 Contents Letters to the Editor

For the Computational Linguists

A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

As many readers know, the position of Editor-in-Chief of the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics is quite remunerative.1 Unfortunately we can’t all be Editor-in-Chief of the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics.2, 3, 4

Rodolphe Ghiglione & Alain Blanchet, 1991, Analyse de contenu et contenus d’analyses, Dunod.

Chiasmus of the Month
May 2017

An increasingly more common5, 6, 7 profession among those linguists who have not similarly ascended to the hoi oligoi8 is that of “computational” linguist.9 While I don’t have much truck with such needlessly complex machines10 myself, one problem I frequently hear about is practitioners of NLP whinging about how hard it is to process certain natural11 languages.12 Recently one is reported to have said, “While it’s true that the Slavic languages never met an inflection they didn’t love, at least Polish has a reasonable alphabet.” Shocking!13 Well, at least they aren’t as bad as those crazy anti-lexicalists and their Turkish fetishor the fieldworkers, those guys never shut up!14

Efforts to get NLPers to tone down their grousing have been generally unsuccessful,15 so maybe it’s time for the language of the world to do their part, and try to make themselves a bit simpler, a bit more regular, and a bit less reliant on the U-Knee Code, whatever that is.16 Just yield a little bit, peopleit’s not too much to ask to help out our new robot overlords!

1 While I draw a merely symbolic editorial salary of $1 per annum, the big money is in stock options and endorsements.2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 And of course there are the residuals from The SpecGram ⅔ Ellipsis™©.. and dividends from part ownership in certain naming rights. Income in the seven-figure range17 makes for a slow year.

2 But give your child a leg up with the right name! The International Name Testing Service can help!

3 You can be a better parent, too, with Broken-Record Parenting.

4 You can also give your young adult reader a push in the proper linguistic direction with any of the many titles in fantasy linguistics from Scholartastic Books. Or, play linguistical games with them like Carcassonorant or The Linguists of Catan. For the jaded teen who just won’t listen to you, sneak in that much needed linguistic influence with a Vowel Space DVD Boxed Set.

5 If you are old schoolbut having problems in schoola little cheating never hurt anybody! If you’re not that desperate, you could certainly improve your writing with Pumptilian Perniquity’s Comma Removal and Remediation Kit!

6 If you’ve moved beyond undergrad and your career has stalled, People with Lack of Original Research Ideas in Linguistics can give you a jumpstart!

7 On the other hand, if neither old school nor new-fangled linguistics is for you, you can always earn a Degree in Langualogy.

8 You can conspicuously demonstrate that you have arrived with The Lingo, from Psammeticus Motorsa car designed for linguists... by linguists.

9 You, too, can break into the lucrative world of computational linguistics with this One Weird Trick.

10 Though there are so many nifty, useful, and easy-to-use apps out there!

11 Keep it natural, folks! Should you start using constructed languages, however, Conlangers Anonymous can help you get your life back on track.

12 While computers have trouble with natural languages, humans don’tor at least don’t have to! Psammeticus Institute’s Dialect Continuum Language Studies will have you speaking a very slightly different language in no time! Or, you could learn a new phone every month with The Phone-of-the-Month Club! Or, you could learn just the grossest parts of Mongolian with the Xerus & Ratufa’s Word-A-Day Mongolian Calendar!

13 You know what else is shocking? The way some people treat their data. People for the Ethical Treatment of Data believe that “All Data Deserves Good Treatment”.

14 That is something I just don’t understandif they’d just use a John Deere Linguistic Data Harvester, fieldwork would be a breeze. And if that doesn’t work, the Handbook for Linguistic Elicitation, Volume 28: Laziness and Inactivity would certainly help bring their stress levels down!

15 What they probably need is to go on a datebut who’d have them? For the more socially acceptable kind of linguist, though, LinguaDate is the solution! And for the gentleman linguist who fears he may not... uh... “measure up”, there’s Lɛ::ŋkθ Mɑ:rk Me::ɪl Ɛ:nhæ::nsmɛ:nt.

16 The Γραμματο-Χαοτικον is always available for your language-modification needs!

17 And of course, by “seven figures” I mean a figure of a couple dollars here, a figure of a couple dollars thereover the whole year it really adds up!

Letters to the Editor
SpecGram Vol CLXXIX, No 1 Contents