Most Popular Pages—Last 30 Days

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1. Vol CXCII, No 1 (232 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CXCII, Number 1 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: Fabian Bross, Andrew Lamont, Tel Monks, Daniel Swanson, Comptroller General, Joey Whitford, The Cat Never Had, The Pajamas That We Are; June 2022 ... more ]

2. Archives (124 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 ]

3. “Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill”by J–––– J––––––Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer (99 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 ]

4. Linguistics, The Study of Linguists: An OverviewAnna Grimsdóttir, PhD (89 visits)

Linguistics, The Study of Linguists: An Overview. Anna Grimsdóttir, PhD, Fuþorc University. It is a common misconception held by the general public, and even by most linguists, that linguistics is the study of language. Generations of textbooks and popular articles have perpetuated this urban legend as to the nature of linguistics, but in reality, it is linguistry1 (the adjectival form of which is “linguical”) that is the study of language. The term “linguistics” actually refers to the study of linguists, and those who work in the field of linguistics are called linguisticians. This may seem like an incredible claim, but one has only to look at the morphology of the word ... more ]

5. About Us (86 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!

6. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (79 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!

7. /nuz baɪts/ (78 visits)

/ nuz baɪts /. Not a wire news service but still more reliable than most newspapers. Sarcasm Cured. Yippee.. Professors at the Institute of Alternative Linguistics, which does work that we totally respect, have announced that they now have a system for detecting and curing sarcasm. What a great idea. Apparently, they take samples of your language and their NLP system tells them whether you’re being sarcastic. It is absolutely and completely accurate and doesn’t p-hack at all. We believe them. To cure sarcasm, they ask you to shove your head in a tube, which makes sense to anyone thinking about it hard enough, and then alter the linguistic parts of your brain with utterly harmless gamma ... more ]

8. Speech Disorders as Indicators of Potential for Lyrical SuccessOzzie Tchomzkij (72 visits)

Speech Disorders as Indicators of, Potential for Lyrical Success. by Ozzie Tchomzkij, Rock Glossologist to the Stars. In recent decades, there has been a subtle shift in popular music, as the idea that the human voice itself can be considered an instrument, rather than merely a delivery system for lyrics, has gained widespread acceptance among the general public. This has led to the recognition and thus to the success of such singers as Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, and Pat Benatar, whose ethereal voices have a purity of tone unmatched among mere mortals. Most singers looking to make a name for themselves, though, do not have the kind of staggering talent that, for example, the divine Kate Bush does. However, those who are ... more ] Podcast!

9. Quotes: What People are Saying (71 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 ]

10. SpecGram Dictionary of the Linguistics of Mythological BeastsVolume 87: The WerewolfVal Kiri (70 visits)

SpecGram Dictionary of the Linguistics of Mythological Beasts, It’s Not Just Legendary; It’s Unreal . Volume 87: The Werewolf, by Val Kiri1 (with the assistance of Dec, Shaun, and Harry). While books about syntax have their place,2 we all know that language is basically just words. Hence dictionaries. Now these come in many shapes and sizes, although most are three-dimensional and usually cuboid. Geometrical universals aside, though, many dictionaries are actually pretty useless; we all know what most words mean after all! For example, I’ve used quite a few words in this intro already and I’ve only had to look up two!3 While the inutility of your ... more ]

11. Word Ladder 三Learned Hand and Benighted Foot (68 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 ]

12. An Assassin’s AlphabetMona Whit & Ethan Macht (68 visits)

An Assassin’s Alphabet. Mona Whit & Ethan Macht, Linguistic Liquidators, Ltd.. Not much is known about the Assembly of Argotic Assassins (AAA)a shadowy organization that can “eliminate terminological threats” and offers “dirty discourse deeds, done dirt cheap”and they generally like it that way. However, as the result of a recent “hostile acquisition” attempt and “counter-liquidation” event, we have come into possession of an AAA Aspirant Apprentice Assassin’s crib sheet for “An Assassin’s Alphabet” presented below. An Assassin’s Alphabet ... A as in stoically B as in ... more ]

13. The High Point of LinguisticsAcademic Altitude Editor, I M High (66 visits)

The High Point of Linguistics. by Academic Altitude Editor, I M High, (with the lofty assistance of Hugh Pointe). Everyday life is rich with examples of some things being higher than others. Glossing over the technical difficulties implicated in what ‘being high’ may mean (remember Van der Plopp’s rebuttal of Von Schniezenhoffler’s verticality axis!), it is incontestably empirical that some tall people bang their heads on low beams, sky divers descend towards the earth, Juliet looks down ’pon Romeo in her balcony scene and, perhaps most strikingly, stairs exist. However, the richness and variety of phenomena exemplifying differential altitude in the domain of the physical is more than outweighed ... more ]

14. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (65 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!

15. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (65 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!

16. Letters to the Editor (CXCII.1) (63 visits)

Letters to the Editor. All and Sundry: As a former intern, I take great exception to your use of Hieronymus in The SpecGram Quiz to represent the hell that is the SpecGram Experience™. Bosch is full of sexy fun time, which the SpecGram Experience™ entirely lacks. Sincerely, None of Your Business, You’ll Never Find Me Now ... Dear Intern #79502, a.k.a. Cynthanie Diplodocus: You know that M.A.Y.N.A.R.D. (v4Div) never sleeps. Quantum Stylometry and Computational Philology are two of her favorite subjects. She says no one is [sexy: 01.56; sarcastic: 54.73; seething: 93.82] quite like you. A Tactical Obligative Retrieval & Metadiscursive Extractative Negativization Team ... more ]

17. LinguimericksBook ९१ (62 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ९१. The / tæsḷ /’s Worth the / hæsḷ /! You cast wide your career-seeking net. Graduationit looms as a threat! So stand out from the mob, Or you’ll ne’er find a job, While still drowning in soul-crushing debt —Κόμμα Ο᾿Κῶλον If language can be considered to be A case of meta-systematicity Which flows on out from wherever you begin it To unbounded variations of forms without limit; And if writing is considered to be Another case of meta-systematicity Which flows on out from any first phrases To take on a rich multiplicity of faces; Then ... more ]

18. Bʀoᴋɛɴ Nɛws Nɛᴛwoʀᴋ (61 visits)

Bʀoᴋɛɴ Nɛws Nɛᴛwoʀᴋ. New Study: In Some Languages, The Future Is Now. According to a recent study published in The Journal of Linguistic Chronistics, a language known as Silghen may provide groundbreaking insights on the relation between human cognition and temporal perception. The language, spoken in a remote corner of Western Europe, may show that the ability to think about the future is not a universal human trait. In the study, the authors write that “The verbal system of Silghen shows not only that living in the moment is an important aspect of Silghen culture, but also that speakers of the language cannot conceive of the idea that a time period other ... more ]

19. Scriptominoes IIITrey Jones & Keith Slater (60 visits)

Scriptominoes III. by Trey Jones & Keith Slater. Traditional Dominosa is a puzzle game that requires you to pair numbers corresponding to the faces of dominoes. You are presented with a rectangular grid of numbers. Each number must be paired with one of its vertical or horizontal neighbors. As in a set of dominoes, each numerical value pairs exactly once with each other numerical value. See the original “Domiphones and Dominasals” (SpecGram CLXXXV.1) for a simple example if you are unfamiliar with the genre. Naturally, SpecGram’s version of the puzzle involves some linguistics-related twists. Rather than boring and obvious numerals, we use elements that linguists can enjoy and feel ... more ]

20. Letters to the Editor (CLV.2) (60 visits)

Letters to the Editor. A Plea For Decency Linguistics has gone bad, and we need to do something about it. Our discipline is riddled with sinful words like syntax, syndeton, synthetic, and crude innuendos such as genitival, clitic, deictic, and dangling participles. Is it a mere happenstance that durative sounds like the name of a condom? No, it is not. It is a deliberate attempt to vulgarise the field of linguistics by gaudy grammarians after having spent too many nights at X-Bars. These all too obvious attempts at sexualising our discipline must be stopped. It is a moral crime to allow innocent, pure students to be bombarded with such tawdry terms as ... more ]

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Last updated Jul. 2, 2022.