In Defense of Sino-Roman—The Editorial Board of SpecGram SpecGram Vol CLXXVIII, No 1 Contents /nuz baɪts/

Letters to the Editor

Dear Speculation Grammar,

I was really bummed to find out in the November issue that Maddie Cruz has been pulling the wood over my eyes all this time. I thought those were REAL linguistics quotes, from REAL FAMOUS real linguists. Now you tell me they were all fakers.

I’m bummed, but the better news is, I’ve been using MC’s answers all semester in my Into Linguistics class, and my prof loves them! I have the best grade in the class. So whatever you’ve done to make those fake answers work like real ones, please keep it up!

Byron Burns
Freshman Lingustics Student

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Dear Speculative Grammarian,

I am surprised by the ending of Madalena Cruz-Ferreira’s “Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know”. Has linguistic education really advanced to the stage where students no longer make such errors?

Noah McMosky
Professor of Abstract Syntax
University of Ledworth

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Dear Bibi & Eneminem,



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Dear Editors,

In the October 2016 review of Miffy the Silkie Slaughterer, your prefatory note mentions that your company’s acquisition of WordTV is being investigated by, inter alia, the USGS. You add in a footnote, “Definitely don’t ask.” Like hell we won’t. What gives, huh?

V. Nigel Bancroft,
Concerned private citizen

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Dear V.N.,

Have you ever read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”? Remember the efforts the Washingtons took to keep their property off the geological maps? The corruption of the state surveyor’s office, the forging of federal maps, the artificial magnetic field, tampered surveying equipment, deflection of the river, fake village, and anti-aircraft guns?

According to the USGS, those guys were pikers.


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Dear LingNerds,

In episode XLVI of your podcast show Language Made Difficult, you included a misleading advertisement. The advertisement claimed that Language Made Difficult is brought to us by “the fricatives of Northwestern Mandarin Chinese.” Said “fricatives” were then duly pronounced. (Badly, but that’s beside the point.)

As any phonologist can tell you, the phones [ʝ] and [v] are not properly called “fricatives” in Northwestern Mandarin Dialects. They are instead spirantized vowels, phonemically /i/ and /u/, respectively. Your advertiser has gotten their phonetics mixed up with their phonology.

In the future, I suggest that you do not accept advertising displaying such linguistic ineptitude. There is enough bad analysis floating around already.

Seesh Fufzith

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Dear Ssh Ffzth,

A rose by any other name would pay the bills just as well.


P.S. Thanks for advertising the podcast for us!

Old Fogey Tries to be HipBreaks Hip!

SpecGram, ur article on clickbaitification is hilariously terrifying.

I can think of 12 reasons u need to stop doing that, and 17 ways to make it better, but even tho my 23 tricks to clickbaitify will blow ur mind, only internet kids will understand.

What kind of journal are you? Totes lame, that’s what.

Seriously, it’s funny because it’s true,

Buzz F. Eade

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Dear Bzzt Face,

ur soo rite, amirite?

Looks like we’ll have to stick to providing quality content with moderately descriptive and properly spelled titles.

Get off our lawn!


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Dear Editors,

It was with initial bemusement that I read Yùron Yurōn’s analysis of the position of Noam Chomsky’s work within the field of Linguistics. Who, I thought, could make such an unfounded assertion? Still, your journal’s contributors have broken up the sod in many a fallow field before; perhaps your decision to publish this particular article suggested that you thought there was something to it after all. In that case, someone must respond. As one who has devoted his career to the study of Chomsky’s writings, I fit the profile perfectly.

In order to refute this nonsense, I began to make a list of Chomsky’s contributions to the field of linguistics.

Two weeks later, I have not come up with any. This surprised me at first, but on reflection it does explain quite a number of aspects of my own career.

Congratulations! Once again, you have published a seminal piece. Your reputation as the most daring and ground-breaking journal in the field has been vindicated again!

Philip Lindeman Smigth-Weston Owens
Professor and Chairman
Department of Linguistics and Other Chomskyan Studies
University of Academic Personality Cults
California, USA

P.S. I have reason to believe that I will soon be out of work. Do you have any editorial positions open?

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Dear Φίλ,

No, but we’re always hiring interns if you don’t mind a flogging once in a while.


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Dear SpecGram,

I fear the job advert for a “Pragmatic Scientist” in your November issue may be a forgery. Nobody at the Department for Exiting the European Union has a clue about Pragmatics.

Name withheld in case They come to get me.

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Dear Ever & Anon,

They say that if you can put your tinfoil hat on, avoid the black helicopters, and hold your tongue just right, you can read secret messages in seemingly innocuous places. It has happened before.


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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.

In Defense of Sino-RomanThe Editorial Board of SpecGram
/nuz baɪts/
SpecGram Vol CLXXVIII, No 1 Contents