A Letter from the
Greetings Gentle Reader, and welcome to a new decade of SpecGram. What a decade the last one was! Nearly 1,300 articles—written by hundreds of contributors—were published in more than 125 issues of Speculative Grammarian. All but the earliest handful of almost 300 episodes of the SpecGram Podcast (requiescat in pace)—including 50 episodes of Language Made Difficult—were painstakingly podded and then cast into the æther. We publicly celebrated our Tenth Digiversary in 2014, and privately celebrated our 15th last year: we had a quiet evening with a close circle of editors and friends—eating cake, drinking wine, flogging interns. Ahhh, good times!
The covers of the majority of those 125+ issues of SpecGram from the 2010’s have featured images of linguisticians, philologizers, and other important figures in the history of the study of language. For the first half of the decade, they were exclusively male—as they had been for many years prior, with the exception of Lucy Lloyd in 2008. That changed five years ago this month, when Alice Kober was featured on the cover. Though we began with “folios replete with maidens” who could alternate with selections from the tomes brimming with damoiseaux, eventually the folios were depleted, and the last woman featured on the cover of SpecGram, M. Carey Thomas, appeared a year ago. Finding worthy women of linguistics is not hard in theory, but finding those who meet our stricter cover criteria—generally, having died at least 50 years ago, with an uncopyrighted image available—had become more difficult in practice.
The early years of the past decade also saw a fairly major change to the format of the cover of this august journal. Volume CLXVI, Number 1, from November 2012 was the last issue in the old format, while Volume CLXVI, Number 2, from January 2013 was the first in the newer format, which has served us well for the last seven years. Satirical linguistics journal cover design historians will know—or will want to know—that the previous cover revision took place between Volume CXLIX, Numbers 2 and 3 in 2004. That design extends back to the dawn of the Modern Era of SpecGram in January of 1993. For an even deeper dive, one must peruse the list of Associated Journals in the SpecGram Archives.
In keeping with our theme—New Year, New You (or, perhaps, more aptly but still alliteratively in Swedish: Nytt Decennium, Nytt Du)—we are revamping the cover of SpecGram as of this issue, and retiring and expiring the quarter-of-a-century-long parade of retired and expired linguisticians, philologizers, and other important figures in the history of the study of language who have graced said cover. Forthcoming issues will feature details from Carl Faulmann’s 1880 Das Buch der Schrift Enthaltend die Schriftzeichen und Alphabete aller Zeiten und aller Völker des Erdkreises. I hope you enjoy their covers and their contents!