Most Popular Pages—Last 30 Days

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1. Vol CXC, No 1 (283 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CXC, Number 1 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, Luca Dinu, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Egan Chernoff, Joe McAvoy, Tom Patterson, Daniel Swanson; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; From Alpha Subscripts to Alpha Male Mega-Scripts; April 2021 ... more ]

2. The Splendid WordsJames S. Pasto (112 visits)

The Splendid Words. James S. Pasto. I got them! It took me seven years, three jobs, two marriages, and season tickets to the Red Sox, but I got them. He knew it as soon as he looked up and saw me; knew who I was even though he had never seen me. “You found us,” he said. “How nice.” I noted the ‘us’ and I noted him. He was lean with jet-black hair, hawkish dark eyes, and perfectly straight teeth that smiled shyly. The smile irritated me. I pulled out the gun, an old .45-caliber Webley-Fosbery with a hammer. The smile faded. “Now, now, is there really need for that?” “I’ll decide,” I said. “I’m calling the shots.” The smile ... more ]

3. Archives (110 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. Gavagai with PeppersRob van der Sandt (97 visits)

Gavagai with Peppers (serves 4) Many tasty gavagai recipes were brought from the jungle by linguists and missionaries in the first half of the 20th century. After the publication of Quine’s Word and Object they gained popularity among philosophers, though the book’s underlying idea was soon attacked from linguistic circles. As an unfortunate consequence, gavagai recipes emanating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tend to be inedible. In most gavagai recipes quantities are vague, as is the exact nature of the meat to be used. Many recipes prescribe sundry undetached rabbit parts as a basic ingredient. The following is an exception. Ingredients 800g of properly detached rabbit parts ... more ] Podcast!

5. SpecGram Is No Mad Hatter’s Tea PartyFergal F. McFerguson-Ffyff (93 visits)

SpecGram Is No Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. By Guest Editor and SPFFaFF Director, Professor Fergal F. McFerguson-Ffyff. The SpecGram Post-Graduate Fiscal, Financial and Funding Fund (SPFFaFF) was surprised to the point of discombobulation (and I utter that last word 20% slower than the average 73-year-old says, ‘Pardon?’ on a morpheme-per-unit-time basis) recently to receive an application for funding for a proposed PhD entitled ‘Poking fun in the letters of 17th century England: the Linguistics of Restoration Satire’. Intriguing, perhaps; appropriate, no! Read on! It’s a slack time at SpecGram HQ, so we thought we’d replace an otherwise ... more ]

6. /nuz baɪts/ (89 visits)

/ nuz baɪts /. Not a wire news service but still more reliable than most newspapers. Prescriptive Superciliousness Reaches Dangerous New Highs. The cause of prescriptivists has received a recent boost due to a rather intriguing incident in Sludgebutt, Pennsylvania. Billy Bob and Sylvania Fudgenugget felt that their relationship could do with a quick spruce-up. Imagine their surprise when, due to a data entry error, they were confronted with a five-time state champion martial arts coach and not the marital arts expert they thought they had booked. The local dojo was, however, very pleased to receive a very detailed and effective session of relationship maintenance and dealing with internalized anger. The ... more ]

7. The Pied Piper RevisitedSachsen von Lichtgeschwindigkeit (86 visits)

The Development of the Brain and Its Implication for Language, Music and Pest Control. or The Pied Piper Revisited. Sachsen von Lichtgeschwindigkeit, Doctor of Osteopathy, (as told to A. Katz) Most students of the problem are agreed that there is something special about human language. (Geschwind 1964.155). 1 But Ihaving considered the matter long and hard, have come to the conclusion that human language isn't special at all. It is commonplace, filthy, and leads to vermin-infested living conditions; and should its spread not be checked in time, then I cannot be held responsible for the consequences! Having gotten that preliminary bit of misconception out of the way, we may proceed to the heart of the matter. ... more ]

8. Saving Endangered Languages with PrescriptivismNeil de Veratte (85 visits)

Saving Endangered Languages with Prescriptivism. Neil de Veratte, Director of Fieldwork Studies, Winter Academy of Language. All over the world, languages are being lost at an alarming rate. Field linguists do their best to preserve these languages, but find their speaker communities apathetic. “Why should I learn Wotʃa -Korlitt?” they ask, “It’s Spanish I need to get a job.” We need to look at successful languages, whose speakers are engaged with their language, to see what endangered languages can learn from them. When we do, we inevitably find that the most successful languages are those which possess a tradition of prescriptivist grammar. English has an army of armchair pedants who ... more ] Podcast!

9. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (83 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. LinguimericksBook ८३Biblinguimerix (83 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ८३Biblinguimerix. The phonetics test read: ‘Overleaf In IPA write the beneath: “Ooh, ee, aah, ting-tang; Walla-walla, bing-bang” ’ Thence came weeping and gnashing of teeth —Deadly Syntax, The Viva concluded thus, “Very nice. Step outside for a while.” Then they rolled the dice! The poor candidate Returned. And her fate: “Today you’ll be with me in paradise.” —Sr Blister, Welcome, freshmen, to the world Of serious syntax! You’ve heard Of lexemes and stuff And morphemes. What guff! In the beginning, my friends, was the word! —Prof Bothersome, Forget all that boring phonology! Think ... more ]

11. “Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill”by J–––– J––––––Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer (82 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 ]

12. Rasmus Rask Diamond Puzzle XILila Rosa Grau (81 visits)

Rasmus Rask Diamond Puzzle XI. by Lila Rosa Grau. This is the eleventh Rasmus Rask puzzle, devoted to the original Mr. Charming Scandinavian Linguist. The puzzle is similar to a crossword puzzle, in that there is a grid for filling in words and phrases, and clues for the ACROSS and DOWN directions. However, all the squares in a Rasmus Rask puzzle are filled with letters, and the answers to the clues may (but are not required to) overlap. Clues for a particular row or column are given together, in the order they appear in the grid. No indication of the amount of overlap between clues is given. Letters spelling out RASMUS RASK in a diamond shape are given to provide a framework for filling in the answers. ... more ]

13. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (76 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!

14. A Psychosis of the “Framework Psychosis” FrameworkJonathan van der Meer (75 visits)

A Psychosis of the “Framework Psychosis” Framework. by Jonathan van der Meer, Center for Computational Bioinformatics and Linguistics, and Speculative Grammarian Editor-at-Large. The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum —Havelock Ellis, Framework Psychosis, as expertly reified by Dr. Pill (Speculative Grammarian, CLV.2), is a very useful window on the world. It provides an explanatory model of the success of the most successful frameworks, of tribalism in linguistics, and of Chomsky’s successful decades-long trivialization of performance in favor of competence. We even use a Framework Psychosis Model as a way to filter submissions at SpecGram. However, I ... more ] Podcast!

15. Syntax: Above and BeyondShane van Vansen & Nathan du West (75 visits)

Syntax: Above and Beyond. By Shane van Vansen & Nathan du West. Syntacticians are set to take a step into the unknown next month with the scheduled launch of two satellites which, it is hoped, will attain the hitherto murky Edge of the Sentence (EotS), if not beyond. Modelled on the two Voyager craft of the 1970s, the twin hi-tech devices, named Supra-Sentence Satellite A and B, will take slightly different trajectories: SSSA is designed for low supra-sentence work; SSSB, by contrast, is intended to reach far beyond the sentence into uncharted territory. According to Dr D. Scourse of the Supra-Sentence Satellite project, syntacticians have suspected for decades that there may be some matter or material above ... more ]

16. Polyglot DerivativesPart IPaul E. and Polly Glōttidēs (74 visits)

Polyglot Derivatives Part I. Paul E. and Polly Glōttidēs, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. The world is a multilingual place. Increasingly, it is filled with multilingual people. And dang it, they just keep becoming more multilingual all the time. Plenty of Europeans speak more than two languages, and a couple of North Americans do, too. But this florescent multilingualism isn’t your grandfather’s old “two languages and a spare”. No, as the richness of humans’ relationships to one another (and to the entire created order) continues to entwickeln, new varieties of multilingualism are constantly arising. No longer can the simple term ... more ]

17. About Us (74 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!

18. A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky AntonymsJessie Sams (73 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 ]

19. Ode to RRGDeedles D’Dee (70 visits)

Ode to RRG. Deedles D’Dee. In Role and Reference Grammar, the predicate semantics Are first among the theory’s theoretical mechanics; The model’s more than that of course: a rich and radiant prism: Macroroles, the AUH and the linking algorithm. ’Cause RRG’s a theory which is rich and round and real; It’s syntax’ best-kept secret but a massive function deal. Chomsky, Goldberg, Jackendoff, these names need no explainin’! But who tops off the list? Professor Robert D. Van Valin!, So here’s a little ditty on the theme of aspect lexical (Please forgive that little bit of syntax asymmetrical; It’s just to get the scansion), a.k.a. Aktionsart Which is where the ... more ]

20. Letters to the Editor (CXC.1) (65 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Dear Non-Entities, While I appreciate your stuff is created ex nihilo, even an empty-headed, knowledgeless bagatelle of a linguist would notice that there’s a vacuum in your morphology poems (no-phology, more like!) with respect to the critical phenomenon of the empty-morph. Often confounded with the zero morph, from which it is clearly a very distinct type of nothing (much as a childless marriage/relationship and a marriage/relationship producing many unloved children are clearly not the same), neither your original poem nor its follow-up attempts to do anything to address this lacuna. Iof course, don’t give a damn; your vacuous publication is of zero interest ... more ]

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Last updated Apr. 21, 2021.