Most Popular Pages—Last 30 Days

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1. Vol CXCII, No 4 (341 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CXCII, Number 4 Editor-in-Chief: Trey Jones; Executive Editors: Keith Slater, Mikael Thompson; Senior Editors: Jonathan Downie, Deak Kirkham; Contributing Editors: Pete Bleackley, Vincent Fish; Associate Editors: Luca Dinu, Yuval Wigderson, Daniel Swanson; Editorial Associates: Andrew Lamont, Gabriel Lanyi, Mark Mandel, CJ Quines, Noah Schachter; Comptroller General: Joey Whitford; Our Happy Place Is Not a Very Happy Place; March 2023 ... more ]

2. It Is Interesting to Note: Best Practices for Scholarly Writing in All DisciplinesGabriel Lanyi (242 visits)

It Is Interesting to Note: Best Practices for Scholarly Writing in All Disciplines. Gabriel Lanyi*. Abstract Emoticons were designed to express in one glyph a rich cognitive-emotional reaction at a time when readers’ span of attention is approaching epsilon. Since the style guides of most scholarly journals do not recommend the use of emoticons, researchers were induced to develop new modes of expression to promptly convey complex scientific data to the busy reader. The best practices reveal some of the more productive techniques emerging in the literature. * * *. With the exponential growth in scholarship, there are now more articles in every field than hours in the lives of their ... more ]

3. Archives (145 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. Overheard in the Linguistics Student LoungeChesterton Wilburfors Gilchrist, IV (108 visits)

Overheard* in the Linguistics Student Lounge. Chesterton “The Jesterton” Wilburfors Gilchrist, IV, Grad Student Union Steward, United Linguistics Workers**, Second-Year Grad Student, Dept. of Lexicology and Glottometrics, Devonshire-upon-Glencullen University, Southampton All names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent. Jargonisation: What if gavagai just means “we can tell this crazy white man anything and he’ll put it in a book?” MilkCaramel: Then it would replicate any number of jokes I’d heard. Preterite: That sounds like a complete and utter collection of undetached rabbit parts. MilkCaramel: ... more ]

5. Letters to the Editor (CXCII.4) (91 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Dear Sirs Drear Sores: What in the ever-loving name of the Elder Ones and all their minions are you doing in publishing? I received my proof prints of “A Theoretical Semantic, Minimalist Analysis of American Corporatese,” scheduled for publication in your November journal, and demand an explanation, several apologies, your heads, and a refund of the $4500 publication fee you charged my university that they then deducted from my next three paychecks with a threatening letter not to do that again. First, since when did your journal impose a strict word limit? Have you even looked at the overflowing truckloads of rotten tripe your journal has pumped out in the past? I note that real ... more ]

6. Down With UptalkBut Not Tha̰t Do̰wnButch McBastard (91 visits)

Down With Uptalk But Not Tha̰t Do̰wn. Creaky Cranky Uppity Editor Bu᷄tch McBa̰sta̰rd. Ah... the stupidity naïveté innocence of youth! Ahh... To be a young, brainless clueless idealistic proto-linguist again! Ahhh... to be full of vim and verve and foolish hokum guileless optimism wholesome idealsspoon-fed by duplicitous ignorant unworldly professors lecturers TAs. Ideas like world peace, universal grammar, and the descriptivist notion that all communication systems are created equal in the eyes of Chomsky Cthulhu linguists. Thirty-two years, ... more ]

7. A Literary Linguistic Analysis of The Very Hungry CaterpillarPapili O’Noidea (89 visits)

A Literary Linguistic Analysis of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Papili O’Noidea. Eric Carle’s delightful opus The Very Hungry Caterpillar has enchanted children for generations but has rarely been the subject of serious academic analysis. This article will repair this lacuna by showing how a stylistic account uncovers layers of hitherto occluded meanings. Prior Readings. Scholars have long suspected there was more to this tale than simple children’s entertainment. While the most recent studies have very much read the piece as an environmental talewith E. Cologist (2019) locating it in the geo-hermeneutic critique of conspicuous consumption and Green & Pace (2017) ... more ]

8. 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!

9. The Serial CommaThe Language Debate Society (82 visits)

The Serial Comma. The Language Debate Society. Here at the Language Debate Society, we debate only the most important language topics that lesser minds dare not touch. This month’s debate is on the serial comma. Did you know that that in the court case O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, a US court ruled that the ambiguity created by the lack of a serial comma meant that the company was required to provide overtime pay to its drivers? This month we have two cream-of-the-crop scholars who are going to milk this topic for all it’s worth. Prior to the debate, we polled our live audience here at the Εταιρεία ... more ]

10. Puzzles and Games (82 visits)

SpecGram Puzzles and Games. Collected all in one place for your brain-teasing pleasure, below is a list of the currently available linguistically themed puzzles and games that have appeared over the years in SpecGram and related publications. Puzzles? Contents Acrostics | Anagrams | Choose Your Own Career | Crosswords | Cryptic Crosswords | Cryptograms | Domino Puzzles | Drop Quotes | EtymGeo™ | Fieldwork Puzzles | FonoFutoshiki | FonoNurikabe | HanjieLinguru | HashiWordakero | HitoriGuistiku | HomonimoKakuro | Interactive Fiction | IPA Code Puzzles | IPAlindromes | Language Identification | Latin Squares | LingDoku | Ling-Ken | L’Ishing | Logic Puzzles | Mad Libitum Games | Magic Squares | Masyu Ortograpiu ... more ]

11. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (81 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!

12. The C-Rhyme and Pun-ish-ment of St. AlvinJerry Fyodor & Josef Dobrovskýevsky (80 visits)

The C-Rhyme and Pun-ish-ment of St. Alvin. by Jerry Fyodor & Josef Dobrovskýevsky. It is now commonly accepted that St. Alvin was always accompanied by an assistant called Theodorus. Theodorus was a budding philosopher, with interests in Kant, Hegel and innateness in generative grammar. He was however, very rotund and was therefore known as the Deep Fat Friar. As a young monk, St Alvin left his first monastery, where he had taken a vow of silence, to found an order that believed that people were best served by creating attractive paper to put around Christmas gifts. It is for this reason that his autobiography was entitled “From Trappist to Wrappist.” The members of that order were noted for their ... more ]

13. Letter to the Editor (75 visits)

Letter to the Editor. Dear Sir: I am writing to complain about your journal’s deplorable habit of using not just lots of footnotes, but even having footnotes to footnotes!1 It’s annoying enough to have to deal with footnotes on a printed page, where your eyes have to keep skipping up and down between the main text and the footnotes, and then frequently you find that the footnote doesn’t contain anything interesting at all, just a citation, or even worse, an ibid.2 It’s even worse online, where you have to actually move the cursor up and down, frequently shoving the original text off the screen, and thus losing your place while looking for the footnote.3 But when you ... more ]

14. A New Mechanism For Contact-Induced Change: Evidence From Maritime LanguagesH.D. Onesimus (75 visits)

A New Mechanism For Contact-Induced Change: Evidence From Maritime Languages. H.D. Onesimus, Gobi Institute of Maritime Linguistics, Lanzhou, China. Modern contact linguistics has demonstrated an impressive ability to account for language change and the emergence of new languages with a remarkably small number of mechanisms: bilingualism, creolization, borrowing, and convergence (also known as “smart drift”). However, a few intractable situations of language contact seemingly cannot be accounted for in terms of this elegant system (notable examples include Wutun, Ma’a and Texas English). In this article, I show how the long-standing problem of Penguin and the Cetacean languages reveals a new type of ... more ] Podcast! Book!

15. Good Ol’ Quantization: An Ode to Manfred KrifkaDeedles D’Dee (75 visits)

Good Ol’ Quantization: An Ode to Manfred Krifka. Deedles D’Dee. Cumulativity and good ol’ quantization Offer a pair of semantic explanations For why, when I pull a hair out of my head, And then add a second hair, it can be said I have ‘two hairs’ there sitting in my hand Whilehere’s the biggie, listen in friend, and Pay attention (not, mind, ‘several attentions’!)— The hair that’s on my head that I just mentioned, Remains ‘some hair’ and so remains if I Pull out a third, fourth hair. We can’t deny That the nouns which the grammar books call ‘mass’ and ‘count’ Arise from some semantic feature; aren’t ... more ]

16. The Daughters of Corpus LinguisticsLexi Cal, Anna-Lee Ziss (74 visits)

The Daughters of Corpus Linguistics. Lexi Cal, Anna-Lee Ziss. Corpus linguistics has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity ever since being discovered on the hard drive of a ZX Spectrum in an alleyway behind the Text Miner’s pub in Nantwich in 1984. Since then it has gone on to infiltrate pretty much every area of linguistics, from challenging the authorship of some of the alleged letters of the apostle Paul to legitimising quirky 20,000-page usage-based grammars of English. But more than that, due to its association with computational techniques, corpus linguistics can also be considered the coolest subdiscipline of linguistics: corpus linguists are regularly seen jet setting between Monaco and Las ... more ]

17. /nuz baɪts/ (74 visits)

/ nuz baɪts /. Not a wire news service but still more reliable than most newspapers. Illicit Linguistics Gang Caught. A recent sweep by the Language Police, led by P. Scrip-Tavist, has led to the arrest of a gang of illegal language changers. Known by their furtive approach of standing on street corners and asking “You wanna glo’al stop?” or “Don’tcha wanna try m’ contractions?” the gang were previously very difficult to catch. However, after repeated Facebook posts about “proper English” and memes about how young people were losing the ability to write in cursive, language change was forever stopped and the gang immediately handed themselves over. The ... more ]

18. LinguimericksBook ९४ (74 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ९४. Study of language, so vast and broad— Yet there’s a subfield, revealed as a fraud! Not worthy now of its place in the sun— ’Twas once belovèd; ’tis now undone. All hail the rise of the “newfangled” ways! marks the spot where that fool held sway —Charla González Pérez-Tórrez, I long to see and to read A tome that fills the field’s need For voluminous tracts With syntactical facts That from linguists’ armchairs proceed —Tomé Fairfax, The semantics of noun specificity Are determined, in part, by factivity, Plus NEG, singularity And habituality; ... more ]

19. About Us (68 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!

20. A Love/Hate Relationship: Pesky AntonymsJessie Sams (64 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 ]

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Last updated Mar. 24, 2023.