SpecGram Vol CLXXXVI, No 4 Contents Letters to the Editor

Summum Ius, Summa Iniuria

A Message from the SpecGram Editorial Board

The editors of SpecGram regret to inform our loyal readership of an adverse development in the UK arm of the SpecGram organisation. We have recently been informed that The UK Government’s R/Loyal Inspectorate of Linguistic Journals is considered levying additional import charges on linguistics journals that trade within any of the constituent countries of the UK.

Georgia Fragaki and Dionysis Goutsos, 2015, “Women and Men Talking About Men and Women in Greek”, Jesús Romero-Trillo (ed.), Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics 2015. Current Approaches to Discourse and Translation Studies. Springer.

Chiasmus of the Month
January 2020

A recent revamp of the UK Government’s Linguistics Journal Informativity Index, the metric by which it measures the cultural and educational capital injected into the country by linguistic journals and journal-related products, means that all linguistics journals must demonstrate a net contribution of at least 73,000 LinguaLearnitrons1 (LLs) or face a substantial penalty and/or import levies. We understand that this move is itself motivated by government concerns that the linguistics journal market is approaching its saturation point in parts of the UK and that there is the potential for economic stresses through the threat of localised market dominance of the linguistics journal industry and/or through worker absenteeism due to too much time spent reading the linguistics journals themselves.

At the last calculation, SpecGram was ranked 723rd of an estimated “few hundred” linguistics journals trading in the UK and was assigned an LL output factor of only 24,523 LLs (including impact derived from merch sales). This latter component cannot now be counted due to Brexit uncertainty2 which will of course have a significant and detrimental effect3 on this journal’s LL rating.

We are therefore appealing to our readership in the UK to engage more with each edition of SpecGram. This could mean as little as simply reading it thoroughly cover-to-cover in lieu of merely flicking through, half-reading one or two linguimericks and glancing at the back-page puzzle before deciding it’s too demanding.4 If UK readers feel able to go further, they might initiate a conversation with partners/friends/work colleagues as to the education impact that SpecGram is having on their lives.5 Other steps include writing to your MP with a 500-word summary per issue of what you have learnt, or handing out the “What I got from this month’s SpecGram” leaflet6 to strangers on the street. We estimate that if around 70% of readers undertake one or more of these strategies, any financial or other penalties can easily be avoided.

Thank you for reading and in anticipation of an enhanced LL factor for SpecGram in 2020.


1 The LinguaLearnitron, while relatively new in journal metrology, is simply a Q-derivative of the well-established LinguaLearneme, although with a variance factor of up to 5% of the Schimmings constant.

2 Much UK first-destination merch was immediately shipped on to Europe, according to UK customs figures.

3 Merch sales accounted for 93% of the 24,523; we leave the reader to do the math(s) as our calculator is broken.

4 We’re sure that’s not you, but recently commissioned independent research from Half & Half and Associates Consulting showed that over half of SpecGram “readers” did no more than half a half of this for at least half the issues per year around half the time.

5 A bank of prototype conversational openers can be downloaded from the website. Examples are “Hey [N], you’ll never guess what I happened to read in SpecGram, the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics, the other day which I found both informative, educational and indeed interesting and which I’d love to share with you in a [familial/friendly/collegial/strangerial (select as appropriate)] way if you’ve got a minute.”; and “Listen, you! I’m gonna tell you about something I read the other day whether you want me to or not.”

6 Again, downloadable from the website.

Letters to the Editor
SpecGram Vol CLXXXVI, No 4 Contents