Challenging the Gendering of Theoretical Constructs in Morphology—Parker Quinn-Sawyer SpecGram Vol CLXXXVII, No 2 Contents Dear Grammy, Un Koala If-Eyed

Diacritics and Dire Critics
Recognising the Cultural and Indexing Role of Acçèntéd Chårâctërs

Horace Hemingway
Professor of Pointillism in Linguistics
The Δίς Λεγόμενον Centre for Endeepened Ideation

As dogs return to their own philosophies of linguistics, so do linguists return to the publishing enterprise, hoping that the internecine struggle against the vicissitudes of the critical arm will result in the Bacchanalian frenzy of the realisation that one’s words will appear in print in a publication whose cost is in inverse proportion to its readership. This Iliadic and Sisyphean interface between the frugal scholar and the Cerberus of peer review is confronted with great coyness and fear. Is there a weapon that can reduce the dragons of peer review to friendly young canines? This writer thinketh so.

It is important to understand the features of oft-cited research in the humanities. Aside from the obvious relationship between humanities writing and data, which is less akin to awkward teenagers at a school disco and more closely related to bus passengers reacting to a teenager who has just emptied a large can of spray deodorant over himself on a windless Saturday afternoon, we must understand the subtle mood and expectations of good theoretical writing. The writing of theory does, of course, unite both cerebral hemispheres, representing the essential unité of art and science, wind and fire, ABBA and 70s hair.

Astute readers will have noticèd the rising hillock on the otherwise featureless landscape of the previous utterance. The addition of diacritics, once superficially thought to be merely prosodic or descriptive tools, at once raises the artful above the commonplace and sets it on a bejewelèd pedestal in a palace of saying and meaning, being and doing.

Diacritics silence critics.

The meanest reviewer, upon šeeing and sensing the presence of a well-plaçèd çedilla or even a deftly droppèd Elizabethan accentèd vowel gives rapt attention to otherwise melancholy or even ennui-inducing prose. Arguments that were once labellèd “incoherent” or even “wrong” become “daring additions to the literature” and “groundbreaking”.

It ḯs nṏt uņ̔til onḝ rè̖alisé̗s that diaḉritiċ̫s don’t even have to be plä̤ç̄ḙ̂d correctly that the full fȱrç̊ế of the dî̞à̧crï̺tic is fệlt, like the ṩhǿck of the rḗanalyṡ̤iṧ of old data or the morning after a bean-covered ce͒le̐bratio̳̿n.

Double-diacritics increase the incipient ebullience by suggesting the elevation of the œuvre to Olympic heights, setting the authorial voice as the boots of Hermes and challenging the Jovian might of the reviewer to sound a plaintive battle-cry, in the knowledge that Troy has already been lost. The employment of the double dîàcrïtic, well-placed or not, therefore opens the way for newness to enter the discipline, even if under the guise of the old, like a newborn wrapped in swaddling hessian.

The reasons for this equinesque welcome when diacritics are used are, as yet, not fully understoodèd. That they have a social role, in addition to their semantic and phonetic roles is, however, beyond doubt. For the present time, it will suffice to accept the view that, by indexing familiarity with the orthographically contingent mores of other languages and scripts, they connote rarely surpassèd intellectual nous, and that, rather than deft argumentation, is what some reviewers seek.

Challenging the Gendering of Theoretical Constructs in MorphologyParker Quinn-Sawyer
Dear Grammy, Un Koala If-Eyed
SpecGram Vol CLXXXVII, No 2 Contents