Most Popular Pages—Last 7 Days

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1. Why Linguistics is Not a ScienceThe SpecGram Editorial Board (52 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 ]

2. Language Death by Speaker RejectionA Few Case StudiesWilliam Carlos Williams Carloses Williamses (35 visits)

Language Death by Speaker Rejection— A Few Case Studies. by William Carlos Williams Carloses Williamses, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. Much recent work has focused on the death of languages worldwide. Such sad events are almost invariably attributed to a conscious decision by the speaking population to reject their language in favor of some more prestigious tongue, often in pursuit of the opportunities for education and economic advancement that the prestigious language seems to offer. In this paper, I will employ several case studies to show that another mechanism is often at work in language death: namely, that some languages reject their speakers, rather than the other way around. That ... more ] Podcast!

3. A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky AntonymsJessie Sams (30 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 ]

4. Cultural Constraints on Aharip GrammarLeon Mikhailovsky (21 visits)

Cultural Constraints on Aharip Grammar. Leon Mikhailovsky. Recent research on Aharip, one of the typologically remarkable languages of the Mt. Iso area of Papua New Guinea, has revealed striking evidence in support of recent proposals that a people’s culture can significantly affect the grammar of the language spoken by that people (Everett 2005). In particular, the culture of the Aharip, who live between the 300 and 400 meter isoclines of Mt. Iso, appears to prohibit any direct reference to immediate experience. Instead Aharip culture appears to be governed by a ‘Distant Experience Principle’ (DEP). The cultural and grammatical consequence of the DEP are wide-ranging, including a tense system that ... more ]

5. Vol CXCII, No 2 (19 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CXCII, Number 2 Editor-in-Chief, Trey Jones, Executive Editor, Keith Slater, Senior Editors, Mikael Thompson, Jonathan Downie, Contributing Editor;s, Pete Bleackley, Deak Kirkham; Associate Editors: Vincent Fish, Mark Mandel; Assistant Editors: Emily Davis, Luca Dinu, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Andrew Lamont, Steve Politzer-Ahles, Daniel Swanson, Katie Swanson, Comptroller General, Joey Whitford, Rescuing Phonotaxis From, the World’s Phoneytaxis; September 2022 ... more ]

6. About Us (19 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!

7. Thirteen Untranslatable WordsMichael Covarrubias (15 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 ]

8. Quotes: What People are Saying (15 visits)

Quotes: What People are Saying. Here are a few of our favorite things people have said about Speculative Grammarian over the years, collected wild on the internet, or domesticated in email — Q1118. C’est sans doute un humour un peu ésotérique mais bon —Sémioticien du bisou — Q1117. Support the addition of the double-dot wide O to the IPA chart by buying some Speculative Grammarian merchandise! No, I’m not being sponsored or getting a commission from them. I just appreciate good geeky humour —Grace Teng — Q1116. Speculative Grammarian ist die erste Zeitschrift für satirische Linguistik. Kostenlos zugänglich, ein ... more ]

9. “Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill”by J–––– J––––––Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer (13 visits)

“Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill” by J–––– J––––––. From Speculative Grammarian CLI.3; July 2006. Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer. ... Double-Dot Wide O, Spoiler Alert !. It’s been more than eight years, so I’m going to go ahead and let you in on a little secret: the nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill is a pig snort, and the double-dot wide O looks like a pig snout. (Some phoneticians will argue that they themselves produce a uvular trill. They probably doespecially when reading journals less interesting than SpecGrambut ... more ]

10. Archives (11 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 ]

11. Letters to the Editor (CLI.3) (10 visits)

Letters to the Editor, double-dot wide-o To the most respected Editors, In the fall I’ll be a first-year grad student in linguistics at R––– University. A couple of the current fourth-years told me that the International Phonetic Association was adding several new symbols for sounds that have previously been considered to have questionable status as phonemes. They said that the most contentious new addition was double-dot wide-O, a nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill. I’ve leafed through several back issues of SpecGram, Language, and a few other journals. I’ve searched the Linguist List archives, and scoured the web. I can’t find anything about it ... more ] Podcast! Merch!

12. Collateral Descendant of Lingua PrancaWhen I Heard the Learn’d LinguistSophrosyne Enchiridion (10 visits)

When I Heard the Learn’d Linguist. Sophrosyne Enchiridion. After Kruck, “When I Heard the Learn’d Syntactician/Phonologist” When I Heard the Learn’d Computational Linguist. When I heard the learn’d computational linguist; When the stats, the rules, were ranged in tables before me; When I was shown the chart-parsers and the dynamic programs to crunch them; When Isitting, heard the computational linguist, where she lectured with many algorithms in the lecture-room, How many times—uncountably!—I became dazed and confused; Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off into a crowd, In the many-voiced night-air, and from time to time, Comput’d in ... more ]

13. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (10 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part ж—The Trouble with NLP. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Please review previously discussed materials as needed. Now that that is taken care of, let us consider why Natural Language Processing (or, its alter-ego, Computational Linguistics) has not been the resounding success regularly predicted by the NLP faithful: We gave the monkeys the bananas because they were hungry/over-ripe. Time/Fruit flies like a(n) arrow/banana. pretty little girl’s school crying computational linguist Up next: Lexicostatistics vs Glottochronology. References, Baeza-Yates, Ricardo and Berthier Ribeiro-Neto (1999). Modern Information ... more ] Merch! Book!

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Last updated Nov. 28, 2022.