Letters, Letters, and More Letters—A Meta-Letter from the Editor-in-Chief SpecGram Vol CLXXX, No 4 Contents Linguimericks, Etc.—Book ४७

Letters to the Editor

Dear You,

We were greatly pleased to read Mead D’’Cruft’s “Teacher , Teacher on the Wall...” It is a perfect example of our dictum that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonguistics problems.

Billy “Bully” Bullmoose,
President, Purdue University Normal School,
Linguistics Teaching Department

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Dear Billy,

Or should we say “Bully” for you? We appreciate the hard-won praise from P.U.N.S., L.T.D., and especially your recognition that we practice lemonguisticslike linguistics, only sourer, we always say, and to be strictly distinguished from what is practiced at MIT and related departments, lemminguistics.


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Dear SpecGram,

In her feminist criticism of Indo-Europeanists, Prof. Shopmont claims that “the victor writes the history books” and “the language of the victor replaces the language of the conquered”. Please note that while Victor does indeed write our history books, it is Thomas who writes our language books (and our women’s studies titles). They co-author our historical linguistics texts, including Indo-European Languages for Women, which we highly recommend to Prof. Shopmont.

We fully agree that the female perspective needs to be included in textbooks. We always ask the ladies in the typing pool what they think of the cover of each and every one of our books, despite the fact that they often have incorrect opinions on the matter.

Richard Manley IV
CEO Manley Press
Publishers of the ___ for Women textbook series

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[Note: We considered relaying this missive to Prof. Shopmont, but our lawyers advised against it, as we could be considered accessories to the nuclear hellfire that would likely ensue. So, we dealt with the matter in-house. —Eds.]

Dear Little Man,

In the vernacular of several of my younger colleagues, I can’t even.

Many forms of creative invective have been hurled in the direction of our organization over the yearswith “a self-loathing gaggle of old biddies all too eager to humor the smooth-lobed knuckle-dragging regressivity of a certain navel-gazing editorial old boys club” being a personal favorite; the lack of penultimate genitive regularly induces chortles and other portmanteauxbut even our harshest critics would side with us against your piggish chauvinism in half a heartbeat!

Clearly, no woman ever has given an opinion of the execrable so-called “design” of the covers of your textbooks; if she had, your ears would still be ringing so soundly that you would not have been able to type your letter! A plaid leather jacket over a an improperly buttoned stripped shirt with popped collar topping cut-off jeans and mismatched socks with sandals would be a better look.

Bless your heart,

Ana Mae Sfivelbú-Tay
Executive Vice Chairwoperdaughter
SpecGram Ladies’ Auxiliary
Editorial Committee for
Chivalrous Linguistics Enlightenment

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Dear SpecGram,

While I agree with Anita Gormans general take on apostrophes, its still something I cantor maybe just wontaccept for plurals of single letters, which often take an otherwise non-standard apostrophe so they dont look too much like two-letter words. Otherwise wed read a’s as... something, or ask what it is about i’s, or is it us vs them when it comes to u’s and v’s? Have we taken x’s to xs? And what about b’s? Without the apostrophe, it seems like so much bull... sorry, I get worked up about these things.

DArtagnan ODowd NDour-t Hooft

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Dear D’O’N’-’t Have-a-cow,

The question is, what would the Swedes do? Vi vet inte.


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Dear Editors,

The author of your mid-December monograph seems to think she’s found something new, but apparently she is unfamiliar with ancient textual history. The Q Document is attested from nearly two thousand years ago. It’s child’s play to derive the sound systems of modern languages from it. Nothing new here!

Fritz-Heinz Müller-Gröninger
Professor of Classical Languages and Literatures
Universität Müllerstein

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Dear F-H M-G,

Forgive us for the implication, but you’ve forgotten to mind your P’s, too.


Dead editors,

Your penchant for putrid poetry has gotten the best of you. You somehow managed to devote one quarter of the December issue to sogennante “verse”. I fear that in future issues nothing but the letters you receive will remain prosaic.

Please desist. My eyes and ears hurt.

Lutefisk Lightner
Professor of English
Greater University of Johampkinsburg

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Dear Lipeäkala Vaalentamiseen,

Professor Lightner is all in a tizzy.
SpecGram poetry makes him feel dizzy.
If you don’t like our verse,
That’s your own blessed curse,
It’s pure joy when our muse keeps us busy.


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Note that the omission of the customary “dear” in the salutation is not accidental.

Your editorial ramblings of the October 2017 issue are about what we have grown to expect, and are unworthy even of censure, so I will not bother to provide it here.

Except that your etymological ineptitude once again raises its ugly head, and in a journal ostensibly devoted to linguistics this is intolerable. I refer, of course, to the vacuous inanity you attempt to propagate regarding the term rublication. You did not even bother to consider the evidence, did you?

The provenance of the initial rhotic (Cyrillic р) most certainly clarifies the meaning of the term: monetization of the item in question via conversion to rubles.

Frankly, if you were devoting even a modicum of attention to the funding of major press outlets over the last several months, you would have noticed that all (financial) roads lead to Moscow. There is no money to be made in actual journalism, but the Kremlin pays handsomely.

I hasten to add that no acquaintance of mine has ever considered SpecGram free of nefarious influences to begin with. This is just one additional proof that Marrism is probably the best we can expect from your pages. But still, fake etymologies deserve exposure.

Edward “Victor Ilyich” Smith
MI6 (Foreign Lexicography Division)
London and Moscow

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Dear “Edward Smith” (or is that “Єԁѡѧяԁ Ѕмітһ),

First, let us say, “Far be it from [us] to mention your overuse of praeteritio.”

With that out of the way, let us attend to the substance of your letter. And... there’s that sortedkeep your ѕіllу οrtһοgrарһіϲ ϲοnѕріrаϲу tһеοrіеѕ to yourself.

As an aside to any readers who have made it this far in our reply, the judge was sympathetic to our plight, and so we found an outside contractor to provide on-demand “journal-related massages”which, hilariously in all seriousness, consist of being pummeled with back issuesand though we are technically required to solicit auction bids bimestrially, demand is more off than on, so we’re probably more off the hook than on. The other contributing factor in our bimonthly publicationperiodic bouts of bilious dyspepsia among the highest echelons of the Editorial Boardis among the “risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from the projected results,” but we hope to continue to publish mostly monthly, more-or-less.


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Dear Sirs/Ma’ams:

In a recent submission to your journal reporting on change in progress in contemporary American English, your reviewer’s only comment was to underline the sentence, “47 English-speaking children and adults were recruited in New Jersey in the United States,” and write “There’s your problem right there” in the margin. Not only is this inflammatory and bigoted, it is also useless. I strongly urge you to find a better class of reviewers.

Martina Vladlenovna Avvakumova
Professor, Department of Linguistics,
University of South Central New Jersey

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Dear Prof. Avvakumova,


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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.

Letters, Letters, and More LettersA Meta-Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
Linguimericks, Etc.Book ४७
SpecGram Vol CLXXX, No 4 Contents