Most Popular Pages—Today
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It’s been kind of a slow day so far.
Rather than letting you escape, here are some popular items from the last 7 days that should be more fun than a sharp stick in the eye.
Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXVII, Number 4 Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief; Keith Slater, Executive Editor; Mikael Thompson, Senior Editor; Jonathan Downie, Senior Editor, Pete Bleackley, Contributing Editor; Associate Editors: Mark Mandel, Deak Kirkham; Assistant Editors: Emily Davis, Vincent Fish, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Abby Crisp, Luca Dinu, Andrew Lamont, Matthew Lee, Joe McAvoy, Josh Nash, Steve Politzer-Ahles, Mary Shapiro; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; Emic, Etic; Put Up in the Attic; June 2020 ... [ more ]
A 21st Century Proposal for English Spelling Reform. by H. Sanderson Chambers III, Associate Professor of English at an elite northeastern university that costs more in tuition and fees for one semester than most people earn in a lifetime, (I can't tell you the university's name, but it rhymes with Little Gary). As is well-known to all educated people--and if it's not well-known to you, then you're not one of us--the early part of the 20th century was the heyday of the Simplified Spelling movement, which sought to reform English spelling on the grounds that it was "mard by absurdities and inconsistencies". So what, you might say? Well, among other things, the simplifiers claimed that the spelling system ... [ more ]
From the Ministry of Silly Sounds. A Public Service Announcement. The Ministry of Silly Sounds wishes to inform the public that the following sounds have been collaboratively developed in EU laboratories or successfully replicated from aberrant non-major languages. All of them will soon be released to the public and thus become available for borrowing or wholesale phonological restructuring projects. As some sounds may have detrimental effects on either speakers or speaking targets, a modicum of caution is suggested. Select sounds are tentatively scheduled for official promulgation and may be required in future dialects of English. Ambi-Articulated Syllables: Segments characterized by distribution across ... [ more ]
Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part B—Ergativity. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. As set forth in the previous installment (on non-configurational languages), our goal is to illustrate important concepts in linguistics via cartoons. (And, as mentioned last time, in so doing perhaps illustrate our own mastery of the material!) For our next foray into the Cartoon Theory of Linguistics, I present the following visual explanation of ergativity: ... Next time, we’ll look at morphological typology. References, Anderson, Stephen R. (1985). Inflectional morphology. In T. Shopen (Ed.), Language typology and syntactic description: Grammatical categories and the ... [ more ]
Letters to the Editor. Dear Speculative Grammarian, I was shocked to see that the wugs depicted in “When Irregular Forms Become Productive” were not observing social distancing. Don’t they know there’s a nasty bug going around? Yours concernedly, E.P. di Miologist ... Dear Epiglottal, You need to brush up on your ornithological virology and/or virological ornithology. Wugs are quails and thus not vulnerable to CORVID-19 —Eds. ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ Yo, chum(p)s, I would like to chime in with complete agreement with your recent article on the role of diacritics in silencing critics. This is entirely true. I have found that a swift diaeresis to the eyes with the index and ... [ more ]
Satirising Satire: A Plea For Help From Our Loyal Readers. A Letter from Associate Editor Deak Kirkham. After a relatively quiet spring here at SpecGram Towers, whispers of malcontent which threaten to bubble over into genuine worry are audible throughout the marble-floored corridors. Staff writers are peering over the tops of their computers with looks of consternation; the interns are visibly jumpy; the SpecGram hairdresser has handed in his notice; even the Management is spending less time in the Executive Suite-cum-Spa and more time in the Lingua-Boardroom doing what it does best: discussing things. What could possibly be the concerns that give rise to such worry?, you naturally ... [ more ]
A Primer in, SF Xenolinguistics. - eep opp ork ah-ah -, Justin B. Rye. — - ash nazg durbatulûk -, Table of Contents. Fantasy Exotic Tongues—An Introduction, Let’s Speak Alien—In Ten Easy Lessons, The Unspeakable—And The Unthinkable, Universal Translators—A Buyer’s Guide, CETI for Beginners—Little Green Manuals — - borag thungg -, FANTASY EXOTIC TONGUES—An Introduction. If you’ve reached the online version of this article chasing the search-string “ +fantasy +exotic +tongues ” then I’m afraid you’ve probably come to ... [ more ]
Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXVII, Number 3 Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief; Keith Slater, Executive Editor; Mikael Thompson, Senior Editor; Jonathan Downie, Senior Editor, Pete Bleackley, Contributing Editor; Associate Editors: Mark Mandel, Deak Kirkham; Assistant Editors: Emily Davis, Vincent Fish, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Abby Crisp, Joe McAvoy, Josh Nash, Steve Politzer-Ahles, Mary Shapiro; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; More “Rah!” for Your Mora; May 2020 ... [ 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 ]
What is SpecGram Doing in Response to COVID-19?. The SpecGram Pandemic
Response Team† Interns. As the scourge of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in linguistics departments, universities, and elsewhere around the world, the average linguist may feel overwhelmed and helpless. To comfort our readers, we present what are possibly the nine most reassuring words in the English language: “We’re from Speculative Grammarian, and we’re here to help.” Below we outline the steps we are taking internally to slow the spread of COVID-19, followed by recommendations for linguists everywhere. What SpecGram is Doing For Everyone As part of our commitment to ... [ more ]
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Last updated Jun. 3, 2020.