Most Popular Pages—Last 7 Days

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1. Germanic Day & The Celebration of Romance (35 visits)

Germanic Day & The Celebration of Romance . We are making something known to you: Germanic Day!. Speculative Grammarian is happy to tell the world about our new yearly holidayGermanic Day! What is Germanic Day? It is a day set aside to think about the Germanic roots that can still be found in English. It gives thanks for the lasting strength of Germanic words. Germanic Day happens on October 13. That was the last day before King Harold was struck down by the Norman gang led by William, and Germanic words at the heart of English began to wane. Before that, English was all Germanic; afterwards, French loanwords took over. What will we do on Germanic Day? ... more ]

2. From the Archives!The SpecGram Rare Book CollectionThe SpecGram Archive Elves™ (26 visits)

From the Archives!— The SpecGram Rare Book Collection. The SpecGram Archive Elves™. We’ve previously reported onand displayed items fromthe “ Top Secret SpecGram Time Capsule ” found lurking in the ceiling of the SpecGram offices. While the SpecGram legal team continues wrangling over potential incriminating evidence proprietary information, we thought we would share another interesting treasure, this time from our Special Collections Library. Here is a photo of our ninth archival item, a five-pack from The SpecGram Rare Book Collection. Included are certain books from and for which we have published extracts and ... more ]

3. An Introduction to Cagian LinguisticsVarious Authors (25 visits)

rather than just .. to prevent unwanted line breaks.. Don't use the same label twice!! --> . by, and. In this paper, we seek to the of linguistics vis-à-vis the of, via . The Fluxus movement, at its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, was the of much of that followed. This, discipline-blending opposed and emphasized style, materials, and presentation, routinely the between performer and and between performance and. Fluxist “happenings” overturned the notions of in. Similarly, our proposed new mode of our field seeks to the old boundaries and expectations of “serious” academic ... more ]

4. Vol CLXXXVIII, No 3 (25 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXVIII, Number 3 Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief; Keith Slater, Executive Editor; Mikael Thompson, Senior Editor; Jonathan Downie, Senior Editor, Pete Bleackley, Contributing Editor, Deak Kirkham, Contributing Editor; Associate Editors: Vincent Fish, Mark Mandel; Assistant Editors: Emily Davis, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Luca Dinu, Joe McAvoy, Mary Shapiro, Reed Steiner; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; It’s All Fun and Games Until a, Variationist Shows Up; October 2020 ... more ]

5. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (20 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part E—Phonetics vs. Phonology. Hilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. We will skip the introduction, as we have been there, done that. Once more into the breach! For this installment in our series on Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, we will turn our attention to Phonetics and Phonology and the difference between the two: Phonetics:, ... Phonology:, ... Thanks to Professor Phlogiston, of the Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn, for the opportunity of a lifetime, as a student, to, on this occasion, share with so many of my fellow linguisticians my views, as illustrated above, concerning matters, which are of such immeasurable import ... more ] Merch! Book!

6. Why Linguistics is Not a ScienceThe SpecGram Editorial Board (18 visits)

Why Linguistics is Not a Science. The SpecGram Editorial Board. In a couple of recent editorials we have answered several of the questions most frequently submitted by SpecGram readers. Since the publication of those editorials, by far the most common question received in our offices has been, “Could please furnish us with your bank account number so we can transfer payment to you?” We cannot in good conscience accede to this request, as it violates a number of constraints and therefore suffers from what we like to call “fatal infelicity.” Another frequent question, though, is more worthy of our attention, (though only due to its being fifth on the frequency list) and it is to that more ... more ]

7. About Us (17 visits)

Speculative Grammarian and Our Story. The august journal Speculative Grammarian has a long, rich, and varied history, weaving an intricate and subtle tapestry from disparate strands of linguistics, philology, history, politics, science, technology, botany, pharmacokinetics, computer science, the mathematics of humor, basket weaving, archery, glass blowing, roller coaster design, and bowling, among numerous other, less obvious fields. SpecGram, as it is known to devotees and sworn enemies alike, has for centuries sought to bring together the greatest yet least understood minds of the time, embedding itself firmly in the cultural and psychological matrix of the global society while ... more ] Podcast!

8. Archives (17 visits)

SpecGram Archives. A word from our Senior Archivist, Holger Delbrück: While bringing aging media to the web and hence the world is truly a labor of love, SpecGram tries the passion of even the most ardent admirer. Needless to say, we’ve fallen behind schedule. At every turn, the authors found in the pages of this hallowed journal stretch credibility with their gratuitous font mongeringfirst it was the IPA, then a few non-standard transcription systems, then Greek, and not just the alphabet, but the entire diacritical mess, and now I’ve got some god-forsaken Old Church Slavonic glyph sitting on my desk that no one can even name, and which would give the Unicode Consortium ... more ]

9. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (17 visits)

Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics. by Trey Jones. As a service to our young and impressionable readers who are considering pursuing a career in linguistics, Speculative Grammarian is pleased to provide the following Gedankenexperiment to help you understand the possibilities and consequences of doing so. For our old and bitter readers who are too far along in their careers to have any real hope of changing the eventual outcome, we provide the following as a cruel reminder of what might have been. Let the adventure begin ... more ] Book!

10. Οrthоgrаphiс Реrрlехеr (15 visits)

Оrthоgraрhіc Perрlехer. Welcome to the Speculative Grammarian Оrthοɡrаphіс Ρerplехеr! This not-quite-pointless little tool will munge your text, randomly replacing some characters with homoglyphs that are nearly identical1or at least quite reasonably similar to the untrained eye. Why? To make text both very hard and very easy to find via normal search (try to find “οrthoɡrарhіс реrрleхer” on this page, for example); to confuse and amaze your friends and enemies alike;6 to pass the time in a ... more ]

11. Triskaideka-Cryptolinguistic PuzzleMary Shapiro (15 visits)

Triskaideka-Cryptolinguistic Puzzle. Mary Shapiro, Truman State University. Like other cryptic crosswords, the clues in this puzzle are not straightforward. Unlike most, however, this one focuses mainly on languages and linguistics. For instance, the clue for Zapotec might be “Oto-Manguean variety alters pez coat” (anagram of pez coat), or “Indigenous Mexican language to destroy overtime prior to European Commission” (ZAP + O.T. + E.C.), or “a nice top, a zany blouse conceals retro Oaxacan language” (niCE TOP, A Zany), or many other combinations of puns, anagrams, or typographic quirks. Punctuation in clues is often misleading. Each clue contains both a ... more ]

12. Q Continuum Reaches Solomon IslandsBrenda H. Boerger (14 visits)

Q Continuum Reaches Solomon Islands1. Brenda H. Boerger. I propose early, pre-24th century contact between the Q Continuum (Q-contact) and speakers of Earth languages in Solomon Islands, South Pacific, as evidenced by the presence of <q> in the orthographies of 24 of the 68 languages there, spanning the country from west to east. I describe the sounds that <q> represents in these orthographies, using these correspondences as evidence for five separate Q-contacts. The evidence suggests Q-contact elsewhere in Oceanic, as well as in other language families, as diverse as Indo-European, multiple American Indian families, and Turkic, but that this important contact factor has heretofore been ... more ]

13. Rotokan RevelationsFranny Irchow (14 visits)

Rotokan Revelations. Franny Irchow, A.R. McHair Institute for Armchair Linguistics, South Carolina. Rotokas is a Papuan language of New Guinea known for its very small and not particularly distinctive phoneme set. The wide variation in pronunciation has led to not-so-specific descriptions, such as declaring the voiced consonants (commonly written as V/v, R/r, and G/g in the Rotokas alphabet) to be “allophonic sets”: [β b, m], [ɾ n, l, d], and [ɡ ɣ ŋ]. Also of note, while Rotokas has a vowel-length distinction, it has (or is claimed to havewe shall see!) no other suprasegmental distinctions. Finally, early investigators (Firchow & Firchow, ... more ] Book!

14. Linguistic TopologyI. Juana Pelota-Grande (13 visits)

Linguistic Topology. I. Juana Pelota-Grande, Centre den Geometrik Linguistiken . That many groups of human languages are sprung from some common source is obvious to any student of the subject, whether linguist, philologist, or polyglot. However, the detailed nature of these genetic relationships is often difficult to unambiguously determine--and likely the subject of heated debate. The impressive array of analytic methods brought to bear on the problem is a testament to the inherent difficulty of the task. However, one of the human species' most amazing tools for analysis--vision--has never been fully and properly applied to the problem. Language and vision are two towering pillars of ... more ] Merch! Book!

15. Creativity and Variation in EsperantoB. Ałłie Stock (12 visits)

Creativity and Variation in Esperanto. by Dr B. Ałłie Stock. When I received notification that my paper had been accepted at the upcoming Creativity and Variation in Esperanto conference in Hopesville, Montana, I was metaphorically over the moon.1 A few weeks later, having flown literally over the mountains,2 I landed at Hopesville International Aerodrome deep in the heart of the Montana Rocky Mountains with my esperoj as altaj as the mountains themselves. It was only a short train ride by the Montana State Magnetic Railway Express to Hopesville itself where green posters were hanging, green flags were flapping and ZEO3-replica memorabilia were doing whatever ... more ]

16. Thirteen Untranslatable WordsMichael Covarrubias (12 visits)

Thirteen Untranslatable Words. by Michael Covarrubias. I’m a language lover. I have been since I was a kid. Just about eleven months after being born, I started saying words and I’ve been using them ever since. I probably use words every day and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. After a while, we language lovers have a hard time learning more about our native language. That’s why we branch out to memorize other languages. It can be hard though, because a lot of foreign languages have words in them that we just can’t translate into English. Maybe it’s because we don’t have the concept in English, and that makes it impossible to make up a label for the concept. Or, more interestingly, ... more ]

17. A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky AntonymsJessie Sams (12 visits)

A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky Antonyms. Jessie Sams, Stephen F. Austin State University. When students get to college, the majority of them have never thought about antonyms as being anything more than “opposites.” So big is the opposite of small, just like buyer is the opposite of seller. Then, all of a sudden, students are forced into a linguistics course with a professor who tells them that they have to learn to differentiate among different types of antonyms. Student’s minds are nearly exploding with information as they have to learn definitions of terms like ‘converse’ and ‘gradable’ and ‘complementary’ in the world of ... more ]

18. Merchandise (11 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Merchandise. Introduction. In order to lend a hand to our good friends and steadfast supporters over at the Linguist List during their 2006 fund drive, we prepared a small selection of limited edition SpecGram merchandise, including T-shirts, stickers and magnets. Originally these items were only available as prizes awarded as part of the Linguist List fund drive. In 2012, several of the SpecGram editors suffered from a rare form of collective frontal lobe damage, which made it seem like a good idea to put together a SpecGram book. The result in 2013 was The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics. In 2014, Editor Mikael Thompson entered a deep fugue ... more ]

19. Ministry of Propaganda (11 visits)

The SpecGram Ministry of Propaganda. Welcome to the SpecGram Ministry of Propaganda. The SpecGram Archive Elves™ have undertaken a project to digitize and share a sheaf of early 20th century SpecGram propaganda posters, which were used during the Great Linguistic War and the Second Linguistic War to encourage linguists everywhere to keep a stiff upper lip and a sense of humor during those trying times. We provide the digitized posters here for you to enjoy, retrospect on, and share. Select a poster to see a higher quality image, and for links to share on social media, to email friends, and to view or download the highest quality version of the image. If you have ideas for other messages that need ... more ]

20. Key Figures in the History of Liturgy #12Rowan and Cath O’Leek (11 visits)

Key Figures in the History of Liturgy #12. From SpecGram Vacant Vaticanational Correspondents, Rowan and Cath O’Leek. Liturgy! The very word breathes Life and Breath into the lives of the faithful as they breathe. Liturgy, however, is not mere words, but words in combinationsyntax,1 as it is known in professional linguistic circles.2 Yet, liturgy reaches beyond even that, for it is a string of words used for praise, prayer and worship as the faithful gather together for corporate acts of worship. Few figures have had greater influence on the development of liturgy than Eduardo della Vaticano della Compostella de Santa Maria della Santa Fe de Christo Jesu e La ... more ]

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Last updated Oct. 20, 2020.