SpecGram, Quarterly—A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief SpecGram Vol CXCI, No 3 Contents /nuz baɪts/

Letters to the Editor

Dear Most Egregiously Vanilla Editors,

We were let down by your recent article, “Challenging the Gendering of Theoretical Constructs in Morphology”. Given the title, we expected something a little more... challenging?

Instead we got the typical linguistsplainingpointing out a problem everyone already knows about while not offering any solutions. All with no recognition of non-linguonormative morphs, such as unbound -ish, or male-male pair bonds in compound nouns, or polyamorous multi-clitic groups such as I’dn’t’ve, or... etc., etc., etc.

We would say that you disappointed usand the rest of your readersbut we didn’t have very high expectations to begin with.

K.N. Key & Libby Ortien
The L’Assiv E., Letch R., and Sal H. Uhsz Foundation
Dissol, UT

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Dear Kinky Libertines,

Hey, no vanilla-shaming! That said, you seem like a couple of fun-loving language enthusiasts who might be into a bit of strict government and light binding. If so, hit us up on /tɪndɹ̩/ or PixPrattle if you are in the mood/tense/aspect for some context-free grammatical relations.


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Dear Sirs,

In a recent issue you say of phonetics, “PhoneticsWe’re just really into mouths.” Not so. Some of us really dig pharynges, and some others have a thing for noses.

Cornelius Constantine Nibtwiggy
Bitgwinny Phonetical School
Ginbwitty, Wales, UK

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Dear Nibbler,

Holy Guacamole, Batman! On a scale from “Too Much Information” to “What a Terrible Day to Be Able to Read”, this is scores off the chart at “Pass the Eye Bleach and Brain Floss”. Keep that $#*! to yourself!

To our poor unsuspecting readers, if we can’t unsee this, neither can you!


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Dear Eds,

In yet another of your publication’s ghastly Trojan-horse attacks on philology, one of your некультурные Verbrecher perpetrated the excrescence on humanity of the badly transcribed von Этих [sic(k)] ‘from these’. While the Russian form would be fine if the appropriate Russian prepositions were used, which as we all know govern the genitive, von, as we all know from childhood, takes the dative: von Этим. Please, please, do try to do better next time.

Rush, N.

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Dear Irrational,

While theoretically, we would tend to agree with your observation that government of the cases, by the cases and for the cases constitutes a case study worth studying, theoremically, we must demur. In your case, the argument put forward is anaemic and anaetic, frenetic and frenemic, pathetic and pathemicif not pathological. In any case, a recent case study of case by Case, E. and Casey found that ‘von’ governs on a case-by-case basis, much like Van Gogh painted, Vaughan Williams composed and Van Buren governed. To paraphrase, it’s not merely a question of ‘not case’ but, sadly, ‘nutcase’.

We were going to nominate your letter for the annual prize, but the accusative tone and the dative dated language were all instrumental in relegating your letter to the oblique pile. We appreciate you won’t be elative about this. Our advice: ergative harder!

Keep on livin’ la vida loca(tive)! Don’t vocative us, we’ll vocative you!


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Dear Scriptural Literalists Illiterate Scribblers,

BIt’s a 6/8 from me for your recent ‘Biblinguimericks’ series! Notwithstanding the recent correspondence from Mrs Methuselah, with whose critique (if not age bracket) I find myself in agreement, only three quarters of your ‘Gospelinguimericks’ make reference to material from the Gospels per se (numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8).

Number 4, on the theme of phonetics, is a poor attempt at punning on ‘Trinity’, a name which while appearing in the Matrix trilogy (no pun intended) does not occur in the Gospels, the New Testament or indeed the Bible. Furthermore, the weak pun on ‘Q’ in Gospelinguimerick 5 (by Querman Quelle) clearly draws upon a hypothesis of contemporary historical criticism and can therefore lay no claim to being Biblical.

Clearly the basics of New Testament studies are beyond you; I’d stick to linguistics if I were you. On second thoughts, perhaps leave that one alone too and play it safe with something more your level. (Sociology?)

C. Dodds-Crowls

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Dear Dead Sea Scrolls,

Having applied source, form and redaction critical techniques to your letter, we find it to be at best of dubious authenticity and will not be including it in the canon. We will however be firing it from a cannon.


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Dear Editors,

I was overjoyed to find my long-lost twin Doodymoos recently published in your journal. Separated from him at birth, for over five decades, all I have known of him is his name: Doodymoos. Please, can you put us in contact!

Moody Deuce

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Dear Dodo Moose,

We contacted Doodymoos as per your letter and, while the relevant text of the relevant book of the New Testament does indeed refer to him as ‘the Twin,’ we regret to inform you that this is a scribal error from the mid first century. It should instead read ‘the Twine’, an appellation reflecting Doodymoos’ hobby as a keen gardener and municipal allotment plotholder.

We wish you luck in locating the other Doodymoos.


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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.

SpecGram, QuarterlyA Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
/nuz baɪts/
SpecGram Vol CXCI, No 3 Contents