‘Study Ling-mind-your-language-uistics? Abso-whoops-a-daisy-lutely Not!’—Repealing the Appalling and Remaining Appealing: A Policy Document Approach—A Letter from Editorial Policy Boffin N. Effin Fickes-Achin SpecGram Vol CLXXXVIII, No 1 Contents /nuz baɪts/

Letters to the Editor

Dear Eds—

As a marriage guidance counsellor in a deprived area of the north of England (England, near Scotland, UK), I was overjoyed to see an affirmation in the concluding paragraph of your recent article about diacritics of the important social role that diacritics can play. I have been using 8-foot foam tildes in working with quarrelling couples since 1998, finding that the smooth, flowing shape of this particular diacritic offers troubled partnerships both a symbolic and actual bridge: one partner sits on each of the curved arms thus facilitating mutually respectful and attentive dialogue. The judicious deployment of 3-foot question marks and suspension points also supports the smooth flow of emotionally-loaded interactions, I’ve found.


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Dear ~
~ ~

After our experience with morphomes, we are wary of any and all /foʊm/s. But, as the wise epigram advises: /judujubu/!


* For those not in the know, ~
~ ~
is pronounced /tɪldəmɪktɪldəfeɪs/òbviament!

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Dear Eds,

As an up-and-coming folk and punk-rock eight-piece boyband, BB8 (named after the Star Wars character Jabba the Hutt), our musicology is predicated on symphonic renditions of Edward Lear-like ditties or orchestral covers of key paragraphs of linguistics texts. (You’ll have heard of our “Paragraph 72 of Syntactic Structures for Brass and Wind”). We were ode to joy overjoyed to read your recent be poem and would love to discuss the possibility of obtaining the rights so as to add it to our repertoire.

Do, Re, Me, Fa, So, La, Te and Stephen

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Dear Princess Leia,

Unfortunately, the rights have been acquired by Disney who will be using “To be” as a theme in all 89 upcoming Star Wars postquels.

May forte be with you,

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Dear Editors,

Now that we’ve established the plural of “haggis,” what is the appropriate term of venery if you happen to see, let’s say, 30–50 feral ones? An Exaltation of Larks has failed me here.

N. O. Trew-Scott

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Dear McKilt,

That’s what we call “a diet.”

—Scotsman MacEditor

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The not-so-Scottish contingent of the Letters Editors suggest “a vomit of hagges”. That plural is pronounced /'hægiz/ “HAG-eez”:

haggis : hagges :: crisis : crises

—The Non-Scots Eds.

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Listen Here, You Lot:

In a recent issue, a theologically troubled professional purveyor of silliness purveyed the following silliness: “these doubts seem now to have been laid to rest by empirical observation of these processes at work.” The first and minor heresy is that “empirical observation” as opposed to introspective observation is dispositive here; no true Chomskyan would ever allow such non-/anti-idealist flimflammery to put any of its digits anywhere near the scales. That would be as ludicrous as much of the theological stupidities expounded, or rather nattered on, by C.S. Lewis for stupid people. Second and major and linked to the former, in Chomskyanism, one does not settle doubts by [sniff] empirical observation; one introspects deeply.

Billy “Buddha” Zenboy

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Dear Dreamer,

Deep stuff! But deep is an interesting lexeme, is it not? Having introspected deeply ourselves as you suggest, we actually find your letter lacking in depth whilst also being deeply shallow. Any in-depth analysis would be deeply unworthwhile so we threw it into the depths of SpecGram Deep Abyss.

If only it were deeply offensive, there might be something to get worked up about.

Profoundly yours,

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Hey Eds,

I’m doing Hamlet for GCSE. In your poem about be you mention Ophelia’s death. I have to write an essay on this, so, could I ask you to what extent you feel that the text permits and/or supports an erotomaniac interpretation of Ophelia’s malady?

East London

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Dear Fella,

The character of Ophelia was, in Shakespeare’s source texts, a cuddly little pussycat called Mr Fluffsome. Textual echoes of this include the tree allusion by Gertrude (IV, 7).

Cats are incapable of experiencing erotomania, and thus any interpretation of the text which draws on this disturbing interpretative legacy is bound to misrepresent, distort and ultimately do damage to the text’s standing, understanding and overstanding.

Best wishes,
Stan Ding
per pro Eds

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Dear Editors—

Writing as an iota subscript, and on behalf of my husband who is a rough breathing, I was disappointed to see an uneven treatment of diacritics, verging on an anti-Hellenic bias, in your recent article. I should not need to remind you that diacritics are a Greek creation and as such should receive at least as much coverage as Latin-script languages. Allow me to add that although I am not an Early Cyrillic titlo, I have many good friends who are, and I’m sure they would also appreciate some coverage.

Di & Chris Teak

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Dear Dis and Princess Chri,

You should have that breathing problem checked out by a doctor, or at least an orthoëpist. For less serious ailments, like diaeresis, there are those wee pills from the pharmacy. Well, that and some bananas.


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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.

‘Study Ling-mind-your-language-uistics? Abso-whoops-a-daisy-lutely Not!’Repealing the Appalling and Remaining Appealing: A Policy Document ApproachA Letter from Editorial Policy Boffin N. Effin Fickes-Achin
/nuz baɪts/
SpecGram Vol CLXXXVIII, No 1 Contents