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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 ]
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 ]
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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 mongering—first 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 ]
Speculative Grammarian Volume CXCIII, Number 2 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: Emily Davis, Guillaume Jacques, Andrew Lamont, Gabriel Lanyi, Mark Mandel, Joshua Nash, Sheri Wells-Jensen; Comptroller General: Joey Whitford; One More Tier in the Phonology Hierarchy ; October 2023 ... [ more ]
Speculative Grammarian and SpecGram.com. 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 ]
“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 do—especially when reading journals less interesting than SpecGram—but ... [ more ]
Speculative Grammarian Merchandise. Introduction. In order to lend a hand to our good friends and steadfast supporters over at the Linguist List during their 2006 fund drive, we prepared a small selection of limited edition SpecGram merchandise, including T-shirts, stickers and magnets. Originally these items were only available as prizes awarded as part of the Linguist List fund drive. In 2012, several of the SpecGram editors suffered from a rare form of collective frontal lobe damage, which made it seem like a good idea to put together a SpecGram book. The result in 2013 was The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics. In 2014, Editor Mikael Thompson entered a deep fugue ... [ more ]
The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics . For decades, Speculative Grammarian has been the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics—and now it is available in book form—both physical and electronic! We wish we were kidding,1 but no, seriously, we’ve published a large3 collection of SpecGram articles, along with just enough new material to force obsessive collectors and fans to buy it, regardless of the cost.4 From the Introduction: The past twenty-five years have witnessed many changes in linguistics, with major developments in linguistic theory, significant expansion ... [ more ]
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 ]
Tim Pulju’s The History of Rome . Are you looking for a book about ancient Roman history that’s interesting, informative, and amusing? No? Oh. Well, all the same, as long as you’re on this webpage already, we’d like to recommend that you buy Tim Pulju’s The History of Rome. Easy to read, full of genuine historical facts, and adorned with amateurish hand-drawn pictures, The History of Rome is so good that even Girolamo Savonarola might hesitate to cast it into the flames. And best of all, it’s only $6.99! Buy one now! Interested, but wary of being burned by a slick advertising campaign for a product that fails to live up to the hype? Then download the free preview and read ... [ more ]
Оrthоgraрhіc Perрlехer. Welcome to the Speculative Grammarian Оrthοɡrаphіс Ρerplехеr! This not-quite-pointless little tool will munge your text, randomly replacing some characters with homoglyphs that are nearly identical1—or at least quite reasonably similar to the untrained eye. Why? To make text both very hard and very easy to find via normal search (try to find “οrthoɡrарhіс реrрleхer” on this page, for example); to confuse and amaze your friends and enemies alike;6 to pass the time in a ... [ more ]
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 ]
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Last updated Nov. 30, 2023.