© MCMLXXXVIII — MMXVIII Speculative Grammarian™—A Tridecennial Celebration—A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief SpecGram Vol CLXXXIII, No 1 Contents /nuz baɪts/

Letters to the Editor

Dear SpecGram,

We were disappointed to read N. Elix’s recent balderdash of an article, “Generative Grammar Proves the Existence of Aliens”, which attempts to conflate Generative Grammar and Scientology. One of them is a vicious cult founded by a charlatan, the other is... hmm, we’re beginning to see Elix’s point.

We’ve become aware of other eerie correspondences: X-bars and X-enu, for example. Could it be a coincidence??? Anything is possible, but we think it unlikely. The influence of the “c-c org” is apparently not limited to Generative Grammar.

We are equally suspicious of computational linguistics, as it uses n-grams, which are awfully close to engrams. We have heard that one of their lesser-known projects is to write a program that will return “Hello, world!” in every language on earth. It’s supposed to usher in the Singularity or something like that.

Also: Dianetics, diachronics; suppressive person, superessive case; E-meter, para-meters; reactive minds, realis moods; OT!! OT!! OT!!the connections are everywhere!

With a newfound sense of sincere paranoia,
Connie Spirantze & Deepak Stative
Tittles N’ Foibles Illustrated, Hattaras
(a.k.a., Ti-N-Fo-Il, Hat.)

✢ ✢ ✢

Dear Deep State Conspirators,

Thanks for throwing us into the deep end of your conspiracy theories!

For readers not familiar with the alleged* “c-c org”, it’s an allegedly common abbreviation for the alleged “c-command organization”, which is allegedly a “linguistically nonexistent” Generative Grammar paramilitarymeter-setting organization and alleged “private intellectual movement” of an allegedly “religious linguistic framework”. Critics of the alleged c-c org have allegedly called it a totalitarian organization that allegedly severely restricts the α-movements of its alleged members, who allegedly sign billion-year book contracts in exchange for an allegedly small weekly allowance. Alleged c-c org members must allegedly adhere to strict codes of conduct, allegedly disavowing pre-tenure publication, allegedly working over 100 hours a week in a 1960s-era building allegedly shared with the department of internecine studies, and allegedly living in communal housing, allegedly referred to as “traces”. Alleged c-c org members are allegedly allowed to marry, but allegedly must leave the organization if they want to raise alleged children. This measure was allegedly put in place in 1964, with the alleged aim of mitigating the alleged intellectual effects of sustained exposure to actual young children. As an alleged result, many alleged adherents leave the alleged organization in their early thirties, having allegedly achieved the rank of Alleged Associate Professor. So, yeah, that’s allegedly a thing.

As for the computational linguists and their “Hello, world” ambitions, last we heard their efforts to come up with a consistent definition of what constitutes a language as opposed to a dialect was still stuck in committee. Not being real members of the Humanities, they’ll never escape that quagmire. As a side note, a similar project, known as “The Nine Billion Names of God” (see Clarke, 1953), is on a shorter deadline.


* Allegedly, none of this is true, so don’t sue us for allegedly repeating what we allegedly heard.

Dear Editors,

Recent correspondence in this venue has repeatedly suggested that Dr. Pepper is a desirable beverage to imbibe when in Lubbock, Texas. This may be true, but why choose the mere good when the excellent is available? I refer, of course, to that regal beverage, RC Cola, preferred by Southern hostesses by a wide margin over DP. A mere doctorate simply does not compare with a Royal Crown.

Claude A. Hatcher
Columbus, Georgia

P.S. I have never been to Lubbock myself, on the advice of my physicians, but this fact is irrelevant to the point under discussion.

✢ ✢ ✢

Dear Claude,

That is probably wise. They do say that Lubbock puts the “yawn” in the Llano Estacado.


❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦


I am outraged.

In the October 2018 issue, your alleged “editor” produced the following abomination: “Think about how you wasted last evening, reading some vapid (or possibly brilliant) piece on linguistic theory...”

It is difficult to know where to begin to attack this monstrosity, which expresses caustic disdain for all that we Linguists hold dear. Linguistic writing is never vapid, and hardly ever brilliant; and in any case, no reading of said writing could in any sense be “wasted.”

Your publication continues to plumb heretofore unimagined depths of anti-intellectualism, and I can tolerate it no more. Please cancel my subscription forthwith.

Sincerely glad no longer to be yours,
Loquatius Lecturatus, D. Phil.
Institute of Linguistics, University of Upperlipstiff, Netherenglands

✢ ✢ ✢

Dearest Professor Kumquat,

Your wish would be our command if we were in the habit of imperatives. Favoring softer moods, as we do, we may venture only to say “may it be so.”


❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

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.

❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

© MCMLXXXVIII — MMXVIII Speculative GrammarianA Tridecennial CelebrationA Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
/nuz baɪts/
SpecGram Vol CLXXXIII, No 1 Contents