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University News. Goofy Geeks Grumble, Gripe ’Gainst Gossipy Greek Glyph Goofs. by Ruthlessly Roving Reporter Miss Deakina Andrea Kirkhamia The Greek Department of Greek at the Greco-Hellenic University for Greek Studies in Grimsby, UK, is on the verge of collapse after internecine conflicts on the pronunciation of letters of the Greek alphabet have threatened to derail the once highly respected department. The difficulties apparently emerged at a faculty lunch-cum-finger buffet, when a relatively new hire, Helen DeTroi, a promising post doc with an Oxford PhD in Sophoclean Mime, is reported, while they shuffled down the buffet queue, to have asked of the Chair ... [ more ]
Reconstructed Proto-Franco-Sino-Indonesian: Eleven Examples. In 1986, I published in Psammeticus Quarterly (Vol. XII, No. 4) an article entitled “Similarities in Form and Meaning in French, Chinese, and Indonesian,” which noted several similarities in form and meaning in French, Chinese, and Indonesian, and suggested that someone do further research to determine whether the languages were genetically related. Since no one took up my suggestion (indeed, most people just laughed at my hypothesis), I was forced to do that research myself, the result being that I now stand totally vindicated. My soon to be published book The Phonology of Proto-Franco-Sino-Indonesian will include regular sound ... [ more ]
The Effect of Lax Rearing Practices on Speech Patterns:. A Descriptive Sociolinguistic Study. The present study examines the dichotomy of pronunciation which exists in the linguistics community at a large midwestern university. The variants used by different members of this community were recorded by hidden microphones in Wells Hall. The computer files of MSU were then accessed for personal and academic information on the subjects. When the data were compared in a most objective and unbiased way, the following correlations were unearthed. The principal difference in pronunciation which bore fruit when compared to personal data was the [hag]/[ hɔg ] dichotomy. Subjects who used the former variant were seven times more ... [ more ]
From the Archives!— A SpecGram Devotional Scroll. The SpecGram Archive Elves™. As previously reported, our very own Butch McBastard recently unearthed a satchel of papers labeled, “ Top Secret SpecGram Time Capsule, 1964—Do Not Open for 50 Years! ”. Of course, there was little chance we’d wait over a year to open it. The SpecGram legal team is reviewing each item from the satchel for
incriminating evidence proprietary information. However, as items are cleared, we thought it would be fun to share some of them with our readers. There often isn’t a lot of specific context for any given item, but they are interesting nonetheless. Here is ... [ 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 ]
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Speculative Grammarian Volume CXC, Number 2 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: Andrew Lamont, Tom Patterson, Daniel Swanson; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; Complex Sentences With Simple Meanings; May 2021 ... [ 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 ]
E Plūribus Ēditōribus, Ūnum SpecGramma . From Over-the-Hill Under-Editors, Gunther G. Undergruntus and Gus U. Gussettgossett. As next (deixis alert!) month’s issue comes around, three things can be guaranteed to be occurring in the plush environs of the SpecGram editorial suites, to wit: Panic here, there and anywhere as hot-off-the-press zingtastiquissimo articles, puzzles, editorial replies to letters, advertisements and poetry of various types fly in all directions, miraculously, somehow, ending up in neat-’n’-tidy journal-compliant form Endless consumption of coffee with biscuit accessoires The monthly ... [ more ]
Letters to the Editor. Dear Earls, Fuþorc’s sake, now that the UK has finally left the EU, can we at long last please take back full control of English orthography and reinstate the traditional runic system for written communication within these islands? For well over 1,000 years, freeborn Englishwomen and men have had to bear the shame and ignominy of the continental Latinate ‘alphabet’ (a term which has never been appropriately anglicised to the ‘aybee’ (or better still, the effyu, no doubt due to excessive red tape). Quite apart from the absence of one-to-one, phoneme-to-grapheme match, the Latinate effyu has far too many curvy bits for the straight-laced ... [ more ]
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 ]
In Defence of the Lexome. Ἀλέξια Ἀγνωσῐ́ᾱ Лекс Циркумф Լեքս Ռեֆ & Lex Retrof, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. The objective and abjective failure of the “morphome” and the general lack of uptake of other -omes has led many modern pundits to denounce and decry all such concepts as “worthless” (Beaughuss, 1994), “barren” (Sterrill, 2003), “futile” (Veign, 2011), “unproductive” (Yuce-Lesce, 2017), and “meaningless” (Abbzerde, 2020). ... [ more ]
Linguistic Squirminology: Coming to Terms with Linguistics Terms. An Investigative Narrative, with Professors Lynn K. Wystick & Lexi K. O’Graffie, Issue 715, Direct Objections to the Direct Object: On the Redefinition of ‘Grammatical Object’. So, the two of us, Lynn and Lexi, Professors of Linguistics and regular visitors to ornamental gardens, were admiring the colourful arrays of flowers during an exquisite visit to the manicured gardens of a local stately home recently, when out of the respective corners of each of our respective eyes, we caught sight of one darkly handsome, 6 foot 2, white–T-shirted garden employee spraying what looked like weedkiller over the crazy paving while ... [ more ]
The Original Language of Winnie-the-Pooh. Aureliano Buendía, Universidad de Macondo. The text known in English as Winnie-the-Pooh occurs in dozens of different languages. Scholars have long debated the question of what was the original language of composition. One of the most popular hypotheses has been that the original text was written in English. The present paper will use textual evidence to demonstrate the impossibility of that hypothesis and to suggest a more likely candidate. Consider the following lines from the beginning of Chapter I in the English-language version. (1) ...here he is...ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh. When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to ... [ more ]
Linguimericks, Book ८४. physicists think they’re so clever. 5σ at CERN? psh whatever. this poem I’ve done contains thirty-one, but it doesn’t scan —Andrew Lamont, On the Bridge of CP-Doom Deep in a relative clause Embedded within 3 CPs, An NP would raise To the spec;CP place But Chomsky said, ‘You shall not pass!’ But it went anyway, and at pace To the very top spec;CP place; Like a Balrog on fire It rose higher and higher Leaving nothing, not even a trace —Gerard Manley Deakins, SpecGram’s Ed-in-Chief deals out dark stares And no-one looks up; no-one dares! They need new ideas As they drown in their fears: It’s a clique of ... [ more ]
Plotholders: Don’t Lose Your Plot!, Coherent and Cohesive Gardening Narration. with Linguardener Claymore ‘Compost’ Harebottom. I was delighted (if slightly taken aback) to read a couple of quick-and-easy piecelettes of advice from my old sparring partner, Grammaticality ‘Culpability’ Brown (or ‘Can-He-Cope-ability?’ as we used to call him all those years ago!). He and I go way back of course, further than a wh- expression in a multi-clausal sentence is from its extraction site, as our former tutor, Gnome Clump-Of-Flowers-Beneath-The-Sky used to say (often in reference to how far Incapability’s landscaping efforts ... [ more ]
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Last updated May 9, 2021.