Most Popular Pages—Last 7 Days

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1. Word Ladder 三Learned Hand and Benighted Foot (29 visits)

Word Ladder 三. by Learned Hand and Benighted Foot, O̊ṗṗo̊ṡi̊ṫůṡ Ḁṭṭṛḁc̣ṭi̥c̣u̥ṣ Ūñīṽēr̃s̃īt̃ūs̃ 上海. To complete this third Word Ladder, fill in six-letter words based on the clues provided. Note that some words will run from left to right, while alternating words will run from right to left. Also, the last two letters of each word will overlap with the first two letters of the next wordthough they will be read in the opposite direction. If you think you’ve figured out the answer, ... more ]

2. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (26 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!

3. Archives (26 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 ]

4. “Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill”by J–––– J––––––Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer (25 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 ]

5. Linguistics Nerd CampBethany Carlson (25 visits)

Linguistics Nerd Camp. Bethany Carlson. Marty’s long nights doing syntax homework finally catch up with him. ... more ] Book!

6. Previous Puzzle SolutionsThe SpecGram Puzzle Elves™ (25 visits)

Previous Puzzle Solutions. The SpecGram Puzzle Elves™. The solution to last issue’s /hʌnikom pʌzəl/ is as follows: /ɪf læŋgwɪʤ hæd bɪn ðə krieʃən nat əv poətri bʌt əv laʤɪk wi ʃʊd onli hæv wʌn/ (or, if you prefer, If language had been the creation, not of poetry, but of logic, we should only have one). The waggle path of the bees’ waggle dance is also provided for your amusement and edification. Each of the puzzlemeisters below will receive some moderately desirable SpecGram merch:* 吉田美咲 • Keith ... more ]

7. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (19 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!

8. Lingua PrancaLinguistic Contributions To The Formal Theory Of Big-Game HuntingR. Mathiesen (18 visits)

Linguistic Contributions To The Formal Theory Of Big-Game Hunting. R. Mathiesen, Brown University. The Mathematical Theory of Big-Game Hunting must surely be ranked among the major scientific achievements of the twentieth century. That this is so is largely the work of one man, H. Pétard, in whose fundamental paper (1938) certain recent advances in mathematics and physics were employed with great skill to create a theory of unmatchednot to say unmatchable!power and elegance. One must not, of course, dismiss Pétard’s predecessors totally out of hand: the field had a long and distinguished history as a technology, was raised to the rank of a science by the Mysore and ... more ] Podcast!

9. Cartoon Theories of Linguistics Part 3Morphological TypologyPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (18 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 3—Morphological Typology. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. No need for an introduction, it was covered in previous installments (on non-configurational languages and ergativity). Instead, let us proceed to the next chapter of our Cartoon Theories of Linguistics. I have provided the following cartoonish exegesis of morphological typology for your edification: ... Up next: Statistical Machine Translation. References, Baker, Mark. (1988). Incorporation: A theory of grammatical function changing. Baker, Mark. (1996). The polysynthesis parameter. Comrie, Bernard. (1989). Language universals and linguistic typology (2nd ... more ] Merch! Book!

10. On the Mytholinguistic Significance of ButterfliesMary Hadlitt-Lamb (15 visits)

On the Mytholinguistic Significance of Butterflies. Mary Hadlitt-Lamb, Grimm Institute of Folkloristics. A remarkable cross-linguistic pattern can be observed in the words for butterfly. While these words seldom appear to be cognate even in closely related languages, they are surprisingly similar between apparently unrelated languages. In practically all languages studied, they exhibit at least one of the following features: The presence of at least one bilabial sound, and usually more. The reduplication of some phonological material within the word. A few examples will serve to illustrate this, Latin, papilio, Japanese, chouchou, Hebrew, parpar, Georgian, vavela, Hawaiian, ... more ] Podcast!

11. About Us (15 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!

12. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart 13Langue vs. ParolePhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (15 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 13—Langue vs. Parole. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Please familiarize yourself with earlier installments of Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, available in previous issues of this journal. Now, to the meat of the matteran illustration of the most crucial distinction between Langue and Parole: Langue vs Parole Coming up: Gricean Implicature. References, Culler, Jonathan. 1976. Saussure. de Saussure, Ferdinand. 1916. Cours de linguistique générale. Edited by C. Bally and A. Sechehaye, with the collaboration of A. Riedlinger. Godel, R. 1957. Les sources manuscrites du Cours de ... more ]

13. Quotes: What People are Saying (14 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 ]

14. Anti-Rhetoric: A Critical Methodology for Critically Assessing Critical ThinkingButch McBastard (14 visits)

Anti-Rhetoric. A Critical Methodology for Critically Assessing Critical Thinking. Rhetoric, as the art of persuasion, has a long and none-too-honorable history. Silly or stupid ideas, couched in the right language, may swayand in many cases have swayedthe uncritical thinker. Anti-rhetoric is a method for assessing a listener’s susceptibility to rhetorical suasion. The technique itself is simple, yet powerful. Present two sides of a lopsided argument in a counter-lopsided wayusing the full complement of rhetorical tricks to prop up the untenable position, while burdening the obviously logical position with the antithesis of each rhetorical device ... more ]

15. Words of Dubious Roman OriginNumerius Negidius et Aulus Agerius (14 visits)

Words of Dubious Roman Origin. ab, Numerius Negidius, Optimus Magister, et, Aulus Agerius, Bonus Liber, Spurius Carvilius School of Rhetoric, Rome. These puzzles are worth 1/2 point each. Despite their odd numbering, these puzzles aren’t too hard. Fill in the blanks based on the clues provided. 101, sick, _____, 157, polite, _____, 207, a kind of duty, _____, 501, not ego, _____, 512, bright, _____, 551, container top, _____, 557, angry, _____, 601, pickle type, _____, 1001, past action, _____, 1001, do, re, etc. _____, 1006, good with vigor, _____, 1011, stir, _____, 1101, grind, _____, 1501, not bright, _____, 1501, not open, not close, _____, 1551, not spicy, _____, 2102, imitate, _____, ... more ]

16. Lingua PrancaAutodescriptivesLeonard Talmy (14 visits)

Autodescriptives. Leonard Talmy, Neuropsychiatric Institute UCLA. haplogy, metasethis, apocop, sync’pe, epenethesis, rhotarism, assimination, asphiration, gemmination, affrichation, glotʔtalization/gloʔʔals, reduduplication, frönting, voized, fownɛDɪk, morph-eme-s, suffixed, genitive’s, noun, noun phrase, adjectival, adverbially, NP[ADJ[labeled]ADJ N[bracketing]N]NP, conjunction and/or disjunction, This is a complex sentence because it has a subordinate clause. ... more ]

17. It Was a Dark and Stormy Noun...1987 EditionThe SpecGram Puzzle Elves™ (14 visits)

It Was a Dark and Stormy Noun... 1987 Edition. The SpecGram Puzzle Elves™. Some of our more, ahem, mature readers may remember that back in the mid-80’s Speculative Grammarian ran an annual Bulwer-Lytton-style contest, asking readers to submit the worst possible opening sentence for a linguistically-themed book. In fact, some of those same readers may have submitted entries, and may still be wondering whether or not they won. Sorry about that. The contest entries were in fact judged by the editorial board, but a dispute between Pulju (a Givónian functionalist) and Slater (a Lasnikian generativist) turned uncivil and the winners were never announced. In the meantime, ... more ]

18. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart INon-Configurational LanguagesPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (14 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part I—Non-Configurational Languages. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. A. Mathematician Friend once told me that, in mathematics, it is sometimes said that if you cannot explain the basic outline of a mathematical idea to a bright and interested 10-year-old, then you don’t really understand it yourself. That got me thinking, and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions: According to my 10-year-old niece, I don’t understand any mathematical ideas. Something similar could be said for linguistic ideas. It is generally accepted that math is hard (Davis & Hersh, Friend, Lakoff & Núñez, Lucas, Mac Lane, ... more ] Book!

19. Labyrinths & LinguistsCraig Kopris (13 visits)

Labyrinths & Linguists. by Craig Kopris. While perusing the wax cylinder recordings stored at one of the major archives on the eastern seaboard (which will be left unnamed to protect the reputations of all concerned), I ran across a particular cylinder that caught my attention. Sticking out of one end was the charred remains of a wick. Curious as to why someone would attempt to destroy such a precious object (assuming, of course, that they hadn’t simply mistaken it for a defective candle), I searched the online catalog for more information. Nothing was to be found electronically, so I turned to the old card catalog. I was about to give up hope after searching without success, when I found hidden under the cards a slip ... more ] Podcast!

20. Orbital LinguisticsA Report on the State of the StarfieldHu B. Ble and Al Zweistein (13 visits)

Orbital Linguistics— A Report on the State of the Starfield. by Hu B. Ble and Al Zweistein, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. Orbital Linguisticsrecently spun off independently from the long-existing field of planetary phonology1—has entered a period of confusion. Once comprising simply parametric bipolarities circular/ovoid, lunar/planetary and fast/slow, OL has been limitlessly expanded by the addition of the multipolar parameter icy/rocky/gassy and the oddly non-parametric value cometic,2 which appears to have a positive but no negative value. The former have been demonstrated to be relevant to fricatives, but as ... more ]

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Last updated Jul. 2, 2022.