Thank You for
Taking Our Survey
Historical and Prospective
Potentials in Elite
Satirical Linguistics Journals
A Letter from the
In November of 2021 we launched a survey to coincide with our announcement—made in our previous issue, Vol CXCI, No 3—that Speculative Grammarian is to become a quarterly rag in 2022. The purpose of the survey was to mine the collective consciousness of our readership for insights into what we at SpecGram Towers should emphasize and de-emphasize in future issues, in order to maximize enjoyment in said readership. The survey concluded in January of 2022.
The survey qua survey was certainly a huge success. The common rabble were invited to participate “on-line”, while the uncommon rabble—i.e., subscribers at the Iron Deficiency–level or better—had their hand-calligraphed markhor-vellum surveys delivered (and retrieved, of course) by zeppelin-mounted courier. [Note: Rumors that Carbonite-level subscribers and above had the survey options acted out for them by a troupe from the UK’s Royal National Theatre are almost entirely unsubstantiated. —Survey Eds.]
We received helpful feedback from respondents all around the globe—or, as one Mithril-level subscriber prefers to say, “across the disk”. While the intersection of geometry and geography may be a bit hazy, what is clear is that readers from
seven of the eleven known continents (and two of the unknown ones) five of the seven continents—from Hawaiʻi to Atlantis Aotearoa and from la República Argentina to Hyperborea Kongeriket Norge, with the expected clustering in the Anglosphere, the Deutscher Sprachraum, and the Rongorongorondure, plus a surprisingly strong showing from the general environs of MIT—shared their thoughts concerning SpecGram with us, and for that we are truly grateful. A total of 800,613 respondents submitted 60,053,366 individual points of survey data.
The demographics section of the survey was quite short, but nonetheless quite revealing. One in 13 of our
readers survey respondents put themselves in the “Pre-College” (a.k.a., “K–12”) category. One can hope that more of them are closer to the “12” end of the spectrum than the “K” end—otherwise we’ll never escape those charges of “Corrupting the Linguistics Acquisition Device of a Minor”! Won’t somebody please think of the children?!
Social media remains, alas, a reasonable way of contacting the
reading survey-taking public. One in nine of the miscreants readers who took the survey are even more likely than I am to wallow in their Luddistic tendencies, claiming they miss the SpecGram RSS feed. Youse guise need to get out more.
Finally, demographically speaking, a surprisingly large percentage of our
readers survey takers—approaching four outta five—expect me to believe they can actually read. Points for bravery to the less than 1% who were able to admit to us (and themselves) that they enjoy SpecGram for the pictures.
A succinct synopsis of the form-’n’-content–rating part of the survey is provided by this paraphrase of the wave-riding wisdom of the beatник φιλόσοφος, Gidget of Malibu: “You like us, you really, really, like us!” None of the survey items were universally despised, though, of course, there are favorites, underdogs, and controversial picks.
Among the top favorites: linguistics in-jokes, cartoons, and historical linguistics & etymology. Phonetics & phonology and picking on Chomsky were also popular. The SpecGram interns got some unexpected love; surprisingly, picking on sociolinguists & documentary linguists is both more popular and less controversial than flogging interns. All of the interns—except for the Sociolinguistics Interns and Documentary Interns—were very excited to hear this, so it was necessary to flog them to keep them in their place. The Sociolinguistics Interns and Documentary Interns were flogged twice, just on general principles.
Our strong investment in limerick stocks over the last decade has paid hearty dividends—they are quite clearly the most popular (and controversial) form of poetry surveyed, and they are quite popular in their own right. Our “amazing!” footnotes, while not as insightful as we had hoped, are less totalitarian than we had feared.
The two most controversial topics were, also very surprisingly, meta-hermeneutical behavioro-cognitive anti-integrationalist pseudo-isomorphal polychronic monolinguinity, and histrionic linguistics & entomology. Both were also fairly popular—especially the latter—so, naturally, these are topics we will continue to explore in future issues of SpecGram.
Syntax stands out as the most actively disliked of the traditional core subfields, though it still scored a majority of positive votes. Computational linguistics holds a similar spot among the satellite and subfields, aligned disciplines, and other hangers-on. Conlangs are statistically almost indistinguishable from syntax in terms of popularity—generally positive, but with an obvious cadre of those who would say they are “not a fan”.
Our take-away from this portion of the survey is fairly feel-good: we aren’t doing anything too terribly wrong, and we don’t need to actively cut back on any form or topics, but there are some things we could consciously seek to include more of. The Pandering Interns are working on a new installment of Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, featuring “The Etymology of Historical Morphology vis-à-vis Chomsky’s Inability to Grok the Phonology of Wugs: A Logic Puzzle—Now With Recursive Footnotes!”. It’s gonna be a barn burner!
This editorial (a very popular form, /biː.tiː.dʌbz/) is getting a bit long. (D’oh! We forgot to include questions about article length in the survey! At least we have the insights of Güügënschnëchtën & d’Qi to fall back on!) So, in brief: we got some online indexes and an archive—collected under the heading of “Indexes & Archives” on our website—that people sometimes find useful; you should check them out sometime! We also got some weird and funny tools and toys—collected under “Special Features”—that some people enjoy; you should check them out sometime!
Again, thanks to everyone who completed the survey! Several suspicious-looking packages containing SpecGram merch of questionable value have been winging their way “across the disk”—so congrats to our survey drawing winners, too!
Be seeing you!