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Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, by Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (with guest contributors Hilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. and Erin Taylor). From Speculative Grammarian CLII.1-CLV.2; January 2007 -; November 2008. Reviewed by Steve Dodson. Far, far back in the murky mist of the distant past, nearly unrecoverable by present methods—to wit, in; January 2007—Speculative Grammarian™ began a series called “Cartoon Theories of Linguistics” that first installment, on Non-Configurational Languages, explained that “we should be able to reduce the essence of important linguistic concepts to something we can explain to that bright, interested ... [ 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 ]
Hazards of Fieldwork Among the Hiithrobnsn. William Moore-Crusoe, Winter Academy of Language. The Hiithrobnsn live in a remote, marshy and inhospitable region of Guyana. A traditional greeting amongst them is “Mind where you walk,” wise advice, as it is vitally important to make sure that you remain on what passes for dry land locally. Stray into the mire and you risk being bitten, stung, infected or electrocuted by the various unpleasant creatures that dwell therein. The Hiithrobnsn have 27 words for “swamp” and all of them are pejorative. They can be used as attitudinals conveying various degrees of displeasure, ranging from mild irritation to a declaration of war. Despite this, they are a ... [ more ]
Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 12—Syllables. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. To review the earlier Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, please seek out previous installments in the series in this journal. Now let us consider the most important aspects of syllables and their structure: Syllables Next time: Langue vs. Parole. References, Bagemihl, Bruce. (1991). “Syllable structure in Bella Coola”. Linguistic Inquiry 22: 589-646. Davis, Philip W. & Ross Saunders. (1979). “Bella Coola phonology”. Lingua 49: 169-187. Fujimura, O. (1975). “Syllable as a unit of speech recognition”. Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing ... [ more ]
Speculative Grammarian Volume CXCII, Number 3 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: Andrew Lamont, CJ Quines, Noah Schachter, Daniel Swanson, Comptroller General, Joey Whitford, Jagged Little Pilcrow; December 2022 ... [ more ]
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 ]
Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part ז—Synchronic vs. Diachronic. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. If you have fallen behind, try to catch up. For those who are caught up, a simple explanation of the difference between synchronic contrast and diachronic contrast, illustrated with examples from a couple of the beautiful Romance languages—Spanish and its ancestor, Latin: Synchronic ... Diachronic ... Up next: The Trouble with NLP. References, Barðdal, Jóhanna H. (2001). Case in Icelandic: A Synchronic, Diachronic and Comparative Approach. Blevins, Juliette. (2004). Evolutionary Phonology: The Emergence of Sound ... [ more ]
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 ]
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 ]
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 ]
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Last updated Feb. 3, 2023.