Selling Out for Fun and Profit--A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CXLIX, No 4 Contents Up the Mind’s Nose; With the Mind’s Finger—An Anthropological Linguistic Study of the Pιčkιt--Claude Searsplainpockets

Letters to the Editor

You Awful People!

How dare you say such nasty things about me. Angus is just jealous because I'm a real linguist and he's not! I already speak FOUR languages FLUENTLY! And Swahili IS easy, stupid.

He's mad that his girlfriend can't get a REAL job and they wouldn't hire her because they had to pay me MORE money now that I'm the favorite consultant on the team.

INSUBORDINATE THIS, M[censored]R F[censored]R!

Roscoe P.


Dear Sir,

We have no idea what you are ranting about. Doctor Balderdash informed us early in the review cycle that Roscoe P. is a false name, used to protect the identity of his consultant.

If your name happens to be Roscoe and your last name happens to start with P, and you happen to work with a linguist named Angus Æ. Balderdash, Esq. on a large project involving the ethnolinguistic categorization of surnames, as well as another project learning Swahili, then we can assure you that it is all just a coincidence.

The world is a large place, and while such parallels seem unlikely, the truth is that these simple surface similarities happen all the time. It's no big deal. It's not about you.



Oh. Sorry. Yeah, I never was too good at my maths or with probability.

Roscoe P.


So we heard.



"Every time I fire a linguist, my performance goes up."
--Fred Jelinek
(Head of IBM's Speech
Recognition Group)


SpecGram Editors,

I was disappointed to read vonn Güügënschnëchtën & d'Qi's so-called 'meta-article' concerning article length.

While their premise is potentially intriguing, their statistical analysis was clearly lacking, and there was virtually no discussion of the experimental design, which seemed likely to be flawed. Self-selection effects can't be ignored in this domain, as is evidenced by the (admittedly anecdotal) tale of "The Tool".

I think vonn Güügënschnëchtën & d'Qi have completely failed to meet the basic requirements for a real SpecGram article--your editorial staff should look at themselves and figure out what went wrong.

On the other hand, that much longer article on the apathetic guy (the author and exact title escape me at the moment) in the same issue was the usual high quality fare. Very interesting. Quite useful. Good stuff.

Rasmus R. Rask, VII, PhD.


The authors, Alfraad vonn Güügënschnëchtën & Mo d'Qi, reply.--Eds.

Dr. Rask,

No offense to Professor Balderdash (the author of the paper on "the apathetic guy"), who is a fine scholar, but...

Heh, heh, heh. "Good stuff." Yeah, baby!

The secrets of the vonn Güügënschnëchtën-d'Qi Optimal Article Length™ process are now available for $239.95, this month only.

--A.v.G. & M.d'Q.


"How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?"
--Edward Morgan Forster


Correction: In last issue's letters to the editor, a junior editor quite improperly implied that SpecGram is in possession of a quasi-universal translator, used to interpret and reply to a protein-structure-encoded message.

This is of course preposterous. If we had such a device, we would never keep it secret, presumably using it for our own unfair gain in international or even interplanetary commerce and communication. Never!

However we have, quite incidentally, trademarked the name AutoGrammatikon™ and patented the idea of a quasi-universal translator. What a coincidence!

The junior editor in question will be going out on assignment to hone his journalistic skills. Our own Butch McBastard has offered to come up with a fitting assignment.



"These natives are unintelligent--we can't understand their language."
--Onwucheka Jemie Chinweizu


Esteemed Editors

Despite your repeated attempts to smear my good name, I find that I am drawn to your organization.

As a result of the untimely demise of the poorly translated Movement of the Freedom French, I am currently unengaged. I'd love to come work for your journal.

Mishi Mashu


Ms. Mashu,

Your reputation precedes you. So, uh, no thanks!



To the Linguistic Imperialistic Editors:

Your ho-hum, matter of fact report on the G-7 meeting is just one more example of how the media validates the uncaring juggernaut that is Linguistic Globalization.

The G-7 don't even pretend that their goal is anything other than total world domination--they plan to carve the world up into seven homogenized, linguistically sterile domains. When they achieve that goal, they will probably canibalistically turn on one another until we are reduced to a single, world-wide, conformist linguistic economy.

No one reporting on the G-7 ever talks about the victims of linguistic globalization. Languages raped for their resources, then left to die. Displaced speakers desperate for anyone to talk to. Entire language families left behind as the global language economy juggernaut rolls inexorably "forward".

I expected more from SpecGram, once a bastion of independent thought and maverick journalism. Don't worry, your day will come. The jack-booted thugs of the linguistic thought police will have you up against the wall, your language outsourced to India, and your ivory tower will crumble.

Schwa Mystique
Anti Linguistic Globalization Crusader


Dear Schwa,

Hey, we printed your letter, didn't we? Bastion indeed.



"High thoughts must have high language."


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.

Selling Out for Fun and Profit--A Letter from the Managing Editor
Up the Mind’s Nose; With the Mind’s FingerAn Anthropological Linguistic Study of the Pιčkιt--Claude Searsplainpockets
SpecGram Vol CXLIX, No 4 Contents