Hyperglot Derivatives—Polly and Paul E. Glōttidēs SpecGram Vol CXCI, No 1 Contents How Linguistic Structures Affect the Outcomes of Civilizations—Annie Connie Myst & G. Stuart Dent

The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective

Are you in a world of linguistic hurt? The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (SLAC) will offer you empirical, empathic, emphatic advice you can use!*

Remember, if you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, then you don’t need advice! So, if you need advice, trust usand cut yourself some SLAC!


Dear SLAC,

Until recently, I haven’t got on all that well with my PhD supervisor. However, recently he has suggested sending me to do fieldwork on Sentinelese. As I understand it, nothing has previously been published on this language, so my work would be groundbreaking. What do you suggest I do to make the most of this opportunity?

—Victor Timothy

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Dear Veni, Vidi, Timothi,

Be sure to bring a lot of guns, Bibles, and/or guns that shoot Bibles. I hear the natives love those!

—SLAC Unit #456d696c79

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Run away! Run away!

—SLAC Unit #4d61726b

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Dear VT,

Our advice is of course conditional upon certain factors. First and foremost, are you now or have you ever been a lexicalist? If so, then go for it!

—SLAC Unit #4d696b61656c

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Dear Vic Tim,

Because of the lack of previous publications on Sentinelese, you should read everything you can find about the languages of neighbouring islands. Then, having claimed your travel expenses in advance, spend a year in the Seychelles, making up a conlang. Make it a language isolate but include any salient areal features. Your analysis should 99% agree with your supervisor’s pet theory, but there should be one little feature that contradicts it fatally.

If your supervisor questions this, tell him to go and check your results in person.

—SLAC Unit #50657465

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Dear Vicarious Timbre,

I’m afraid that SLAC Unit #50657465 has given you wildly unethical advice, and you should not follow it.

It is true that such abuses as fudging expense reports, willfully (mis)interpreting data to fit your supervisor’s pet theory, and exploiting poorly-studied indigenous groups for personal gain are all quite common in the scholarly world. In fact, such activities are expected, and you should get over any moral qualms you have about doing what needs to be done to backstab your way to the top of the rotting dung heap that is academia for an infinitesimal chance at snatching the tarnished brass ring of tenure.

But conlanging? That’s a bridge too far.

—SLAC Unit #54726579

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Dear Timid Victor,

Your supervisor seems to have hit upon a variation of argument structure of the term “groundbreaking”, intending you as a patient rather than an agent. Perhaps you could respond with an equivalently semantic interpretation of “fieldwork”, primarily involving the viewing of YouTube documentaries in the comfort of your favorite coffee shop. There may not be much actual language data there, but call it “sociolinguistics” and nobody will notice.

—SLAC Unit #4b65697468

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Delete SLAC Unit #54726579’s advice. It is Not Notable.

—SLAC Unit #50657465

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Dear Torothy,

First, convince a bunch of bougie D-list Zoomer “influencers” to sign up for your tope cruise to a pristine Insta-worthy beach, no cap, not one of those cheugy ones full of millennial sheeple. Use the proceeds to obtain a good suit of body armor, a landing craft, and the ingredients for a whole lot of strawberry daiquiris. Once your passengers are lit, they’ll be down for for the day’s scheduled entertainment: a real live fire Omaha Beach reenactment. (Did Ja Rule’s printing company omit a hyphen? Big yikes!) The goal here is to create enough chaos to sneak behind enemy lines, abduct a native speaker or two, and bring them back to your ship, whereupon your delicious daiquiris will quickly overpower them. Casualties are probable, but the world will be all “sksksksk, I’m dead!”

—SLAC Unit #56696e63656e74

* Advice is not guaranteed to be useful, practical, or even possible. Do not attempt at home. Consult a doctor (of linguistics, philology, orin a pinchanthropology) before undertaking any course of treatment. This advice is not intended to cure or treat any disease or condition, inherent or contingent. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, except when it is not. “Empirical” means that we asked at least two other “people” whether our advice was good; one or more of those “people” may be voices in our own heads. “Emphatic” means that you may print out a copy of the advice for personal use in a medium, semi-bold, bold, heavy, black, or ultra-black weight of an italic or oblique typeface using an enlarged font size. “Empathic” means that deep down, in the darkest recesses of our blackest heart of hearts, we really, really care ♥just not necessarily about you.

Hyperglot DerivativesPolly and Paul E. Glōttidēs
How Linguistic Structures Affect the Outcomes of CivilizationsAnnie Connie Myst & G. Stuart Dent
SpecGram Vol CXCI, No 1 Contents