So That Explains It!--A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CXLIX, No 3 Contents World's Linguistic Fundamentals Sound--SpecGram Wire Services

Letters to the Editor


I read with disbelief your news story "Introducing Hawelshi'ian", describing a union of Hawai'ian and Welsh.

Are your reporters so out of touch with the world of Merged Language Movements (MLM) that they know nothing of Ms. Mishi Mashu, quoted in the article? Mashu is alleged to be the illegitimate great-grand daughter of Mata Hari.

Her purportedly tarnished parentage aside, she is also well-known in MLM circles for derailing several high-profile linguistic mergers and acquisitions. She successfully prevented the Ebonics-Norwegian merger in '92.

She also precipitated an international incident in 1996 when she spread such fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the minds of the members of the Hokka Speakers' Council that the acquisition of Hokka by an Azeri-Inuit-Pashto Coalition was brought to a screeching halt.

Your readers should not be surprised if they never hear of Hawelshi'ian again.

Samitha Bon Voight
Senior Delegate
C. Ezra Cornwall Foundation
for Merged Language Promotion


Dear Madam Bon Voight,

We were not aware of Ms. Mashu's nefarious reputation. However, when Pidge Kriolio, who reported on Hawelshi'ian, called in to say that he would be unable to file a report on the new Indotalian (Italian-Indonesian) Merger Movement because the movement has disbanded, he did mention that he was surprised to see Ms. Mashu milling about at the collapsed summit meeting.

Makes you go Hmmmmm.




Dear SpecGram,

We were most disappointed to read that Dr. von Lichtgeschwindigkeit has also fallen for the myth that "most students of the problem are agreed that there is something special about human language."

This untruth has been perpetuated by Geschwind (1964) and others for a very long time. Perhaps the more restricted claim that most human students of the problem are agreed that there is something special about human language.

Fortunately Dr. von Lichtgeschwindigkeit immediately jumps bravely in the face of tradition to the right "conclusion that human language isn't special at all." From that point on, though, we must say that the article lost us.

Please continue to support efforts to place human language in its proper place, as an equal among the languages of Earth.


Flikka Flippersen
Spokesporpoise for the _-_..._.-_.-_ Pod

Honeybee Hive Mind
Subjects of HRH Queen #7,491,560,539,074,350,353,058


Dear Swimming and Flying Friends,

Indeed we shall.



Dear Mssrs the Editors,

I read with horror and understanding simultaneously the letter of the editor managing, "Describe This!" I am comprehending your desire natural to seek some balance between your tendencies descriptive and prescriptive.

Do not submit to your instincts most base. Do not consider for a moment seriously proposing a "Committee for Linguistic Common Sense in English." Such activity, if one is successful, will be pleasing to one at first, but then will one be hating it.

In my own country, the dichotomy between expression free and language correct is a gap that widens. The Academy of the Language French has a stranglehold on usage and grammar most proper, while the streets of Paris run wild with speakers young and fast and loose who degenerate the language.

The tyranny is real, and no dictatorship can be benevolent, is it not? We fight for freedom linguistic. The struggle of ours has been very hard, but we have recently been joined by a linguistic samurai most veteran. Mishi Mashu has been appointed Planner Strategic for the Movement of the Freedom French, and victory seems near.

Jean-Pierre Mots-Passants
Movement of the Freedom French


Dear J-P,

Oh. Oh dear. Dear, dear, dear. Good luck. You'll need it.



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 articles 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. Editors,

I see that the Kamikaze Linguist is still ruining young linguistic reporters' lives by sending them on incredibly dangerous missions with inadequate training. I feel for Sam Shovel.

Butch McBastard, when we were working together on Linguist of Fortune, sent me on a mission into the unexplored jungles of the Amazon. The catch was that he parachuted me in blindfolded, and had told me for weeks before that I'd be traveling to Alaska to do fieldwork on an unknown Inuit language.

My supplies were all wrong, and most of my rations spoiled in the first few days. I got malaria, gangrene, and spent a month hallucinating that I was Sapir Worf, the mightiest Klingon Linguist who ever lived.

Fortunately, a local tribe that spoke neither English nor Klingon took me in, ignoring my fevered ravings. It took me almost six and a half years to make it back to civilization. I now have only seven toes, and I still have violent dreams, in Klingon no less, about morphosyntax and metrical phonology.

Butch McBastard is a horrible person, and a piss-poor linguist. He couldn't edit his way out of a paper bag, either. You should get rid of him before he hurts anyone else. I suggest the bottom of the ocean as a good place to send him.

Mordred Ilktost


Ilktost, I told you you were going to Alaska instead of the Amazon to clear your head of any preconceived notions about what you would find when you arrived.

And I can't believe you've been back since, what, 1997, and you still haven't filed your story? What kind of slacker are you?



[The following was received in response to Maiya Sershen's article relating protein structures and syntactic structures. Due to space considerations, some details have been edited out from the exceedingly complex originals. Our response, generated in large part by our AutoGrammatikon™ quasi-universal translator, is below.--Eds]

Formerly Exalted Speculative Grammarians,

Or, to use your own expression: "Duh!"

Phb!t   D*qa3rrrrrrxrr
Search for Terrestrial Intelligence
Planetary Communication Directorate, Europa


O Most Translucent Phb!t,

Valid points, all. Of course the sciences in question are in their infancy, and understanding of the psycholinguistic-biochemical interface is still quite crude here. Please reconsider cancelling your subscription. Apologies. No offense was intended.

Or, as you say..



To the most-respected Editors:

In the letter from the Managing Editor in issue CXLIX.2, you "nominate the editorial board of SpecGram ... as the first embodiment of a Committee for Linguistic Common Sense in English."

With all due respect, your proposal, while interesting, does not go far enough, and will not end the bitter bickering between descriptivists and prescriptivists.

Something really radical will be needed to clear up that particular mess.

Xander X. Xerxes, PhD
Original English Movement


Dear Professor X,

We agreed to print your blasted Original English announcement in this issue. Now stop calling! Hwæt!


So That Explains It!--A Letter from the Managing Editor
World's Linguistic Fundamentals Sound--SpecGram Wire Services
SpecGram Vol CXLIX, No 3 Contents