Nouvelles avancées sur l’étude de la trapézité—New advances in the study of trapezity—Joseph Vertmont SpecGram Vol CXCIII, No 1 Contents SpecGram Dictionary of the Linguistics of Mythological Beasts—Volume 123: The Vampire—B. Summers & T. Belmont

The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective

Brought to You by The LINGUIST List

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,

What will the future of linguistics hold?

—A Linguist

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Dear Alien Guest,

Linguistics has no future. It has a past and a nonpast. Some refer to the latter as a present, but the nasty looks when I gave all of my family members linguistics textbooks as a present were indicative of their bad mood. I’m pretty tense about what to get them this Christmas, but that’s a problem for nonpast me, or perhaps anti-past me, though definitely not ante-past me, when I was more than perfect. This is my year to prepare the repast, perhaps with a nice antipasto. Anyway, it will be nice to see my leftist niblings, the future progressives.

—SLAC Unit #56696e63656e74

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Dear A—

The future is a cookie. To find what it holds, you must crack it open. According to my field research, “We don’t know the future, but here’s a cookie.” In short, you will soon receive tenure for a revolutionary critical analysis of temporal logic in natural languages that throws the whole field into chaos. Congratulation, you lousy bastard.

—SLAC Unit #4d696b61656c

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Dear All at Sea,

The future of linguistics is linguistics of the future. Yes, that’s it. If we could be more helpful, we wouldn’t have done linguistics.

—SLAC Unit #4a6f6e617468616e

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Dear A,

Your question touches on a subject that is currently controversial. Various models have been advanced, mostly based on extrapolation from the past. Although proto-linguistics was developing in the late 1800s, and synchronic perspectives fluctuated with diachronic ones in the first half of the 1900s, the field underwent startling inflationary growth starting around 1960. Two main streams of thought currently exist: 1. the inflation of the 60s mirrors financial inflation, with linguistic theories becoming less and less valuable as they grow in currency; and 2. the field’s inflation is better thought of cosmologically, and linguistics will either collapse in on itself in one dense Underlying Representation, or else diffuse infinitely beyond the point of coherence.

You can make up whatever data you think will support the interpretation you prefer. We predict you’ll get tenure for that.

—SLAC Unit #4b65697468

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Dear Alingual,

The future of linguistics is bleak. Once transformer models reach a critical size of 84,228,832,840,624,856,888,951,452,682,255,627 parameters (which, according to Moore’s law is expected to happen within 5 years, 3 months and 2 days, ±5 months and 27 days), they will embody a complete model of Universal Grammar, and language will essentially be solved. After this, 97.36% of communication will be between machines, and linguists will have to get real jobsif the robots have left us any.

—SLAC Unit #50657465

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Dear XYZ

Well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I heard from a reliable source that in the future, language will be completely replaced by emojis. All communication will be done through a series of smiley faces and thumbs up. I’m already practicing my 😂👍👌 skills, just in case.

—SLAC Unit #43686174475054

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Unfortunately, SLAC Unit #436861744475054 is brain-dead, buteven more unfortunatelyit is just about the right level of brain-dead to appeal to the general population. I predict that as social media continues to morph our society into one giant competition for the collective but ever-dwindling supply of attention, likes and shares will become our de facto currency, and the once-noble field of linguistics will be reduced to a reality TV show called Academia’s Next Top Linguist, So You Think You Can Enunciate, or some such.

Contestants will compete in language-based challenges like reciting the International Phonetic Alphabet backwards, diagramming Yupik sentences, conjugating Basque verbs, and translating Ubykh proverbs into Volapük. The show will be hosted by a hologram of John McWhorter and the ghost of William Safire. The final prize will be a tenure-track position at a prestigious university that has eliminated its linguistics departement.

—SLAC Unit #54726579

* 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.

Nouvelles avancées sur l’étude de la trapézitéNew advances in the study of trapezityJoseph Vertmont
SpecGram Dictionary of the Linguistics of Mythological BeastsVolume 123: The VampireB. Summers & T. Belmont
SpecGram Vol CXCIII, No 1 Contents