Precise Quantification of Feline Comprehension of Human Language—Mia Au SpecGram Vol CXCIII, No 4 Contents Quipley’s Don’t Believe It! ... Or Do?

Sample Linguist’s Virtual Social Meeting Agenda


A Collaboration between
The SpecGram Information Technology Elves™ &
The SpecGram Culture and Socialization Elves™

Despite several years of recent forced practice, it’s not clear that linguists specifically, academics in general, or nerdly types more broadly have properly internalized how to conduct themselves in virtual gatherings, especially those without a clear purpose or agenda. This can make online socializing with peers even more difficult, and that can make the SpecGram Elves™ sad.

While not a panacea for your lack of social graces or prickly personality, the following sample agenda will provide your socializing with some much-needed structure. We hope that it helpswe don’t think it will, but we hope nonetheless.


  1. Staggered logins, so that the first 15 minutes of conversation can be interrupted several times by boisterous newcomers

  2. Awkward How’s it going?s, followed by pauses that are just slightly too long for comfort

  3. Someone brings up a political topic, to the consternation of everyone else, and a couple of minutes are devoted to finding a way to move to something less problematic without directly confronting the offender

  4. Small talk: probably something involving physics (or possibly simplified mathematics). Probably also some mention of recently discovered Runic inscriptions, and some criticism of the punctuation in the agenda.

  5. Main agenda: telling the jokes that family and friends habitually refuse to listen to and that we’ve been saving for a sympathetic audience (and chuckling politely at others’ offerings in this genre, even though they are horrible, especially the ones about German compounds)

  6. Language-related topics. This may involve ragging on the bogeyman (a.k.a., The Gnome), but could instead focus on ill-informed language-related articles from the popular press.

  7. Winding down: a few (superficially) polite questions about each other’s actual work

  8. Leave-taking. This can be #1 in reverse order (but equally jovial), or it might be abrupt, depending on the patience level of whoever created the online meeting room.

Precise Quantification of Feline Comprehension of Human LanguageMia Au
Quipley’s Don’t Believe It! ... Or Do?
SpecGram Vol CXCIII, No 4 Contents