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1. Vol CLXXXIX, No 1 (37 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXIX, Number 1 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, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Egan Chernoff, Luca Dinu, Andrew Lamont, Tel Monks, Daniela Müller, Josh Nash, Steve Politzer-Ahles, Mary Shapiro, Daniel Swanson, Fabian Tomaschek, Benjamin Tucker; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; Stupid in Its Brilliance, Brilliant in Its Stupidity; December 2020 ... more ]

2. Linguistic Sub-Fields Explained for the Research NoviceSun Field & Lynn Gwee (19 visits)

Linguistic Sub-Fields Explained for the Research Novice. Sun Field & Lynn Gwee, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. PhoneticsWe’re just really into mouths. PhonologyWe argue abstractly about representations of systems that might have some relationship to the sounds you make. (No, we don’t care what you think.) Optimality TheoryWhatever doesn’t kill you might make you more faithful. MorphologyWhy, when and how words and words; words are bits of words; words are two or more words; or words are a whole sentence. Or any combination of these. MorphophonologySound tweaks when morphs meet. ... more ]

3. Letters to the Editor (CLXXXIX.1) (18 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Dear Goody-Goody Editors, I was eating bonbons after dancing the cancan on a choo-choo train, and paused, pompom in hand, to read your latest versical offering. I was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to notice that your frou-frou “poet” had omitted any reference to the greatest way of forming words, namely reduplication! That’s a no-no which nearly caused me to trip over my yo-yo and get a boo-boo. You are driving me cray-cray and Deedles D’Dee is dumb as a dodo! Ta-ta, Jojo Tutu, Bora Bora PS: Pooh-pooh to you, your mama, and your papa! ... Jeepers creepers, Mojo Jojo! Your nit-wit argument is all harum-scarum, and your wishy-washy diction is ... more ]

4. Onomastic Destiny ♀Emma Gassert & Dirk Delarme (12 visits)

Onomastic Destiny ♀. Emma Gassert & Dirk Delarme. Despite the breathless coverage of nominative determinism in the popular press (and other outlets that should know better), there still seems to be something about people’s names that can subtly influence their choice of career. The ten women listed below are all linguists of one stripe or another. Can you determine their areas of specialization, based on the subtly mystical impact their names have had on their professional lives? Anna Gugliotti Caitlyn Cast Chantel Mastroianni Hope Reichman Ilona Gilchrist Latricia Toadvine Leah Pabst Lorretta Santini Martina Forston Victorina Laurenza Submit your answers to the editors of SpecGram by December 15, 2020, ... more ]

5. Theolinguistic Developments in Speech Act TheoryJohannes S. Rearle and Johan A. Lustin (11 visits)

Theolinguistic Developments in Speech Act Theory. Johannes S. Rearle and Johan A. Lustin, Professors of Pragmaticianalism, Pi-Baked University of Phrake. Austin and Searle and their (slightly contrasting) take on so-called speech acts have been the porridge and cuppa of what my old syntax tutor used to call a ‘Dorset myriad’ of linguistics studenten and studenterin for decades if not many years. And so they should be! There’s little more critical in (and to!) a budding linguist’s training than getting that ‘I name this ship the Florescent Lightbulb’ and ‘I’m leaving you, Timothy, you and your 8-years-in linguistics ‘thesis’ on ... more ]

6. Potential Lingua-Cure for COVID-19 Discovered in SPITPam D’Emique (11 visits)

BREAKING NEWS Potential Lingua-Cure for COVID-19 Discovered in SPIT. Pandemical Editor Pam D’Emique. COVID-19 is amongst usand indeed between us. For that is how it spreads: droplets of grim, bubbling, infected saliva jettisoned from the oral orifice of an infected homo sapiens into the nasal mucus or throat of another. But new research suggests a cure is in sight, although not, surprisingly, from traditional medicine: linguistics is the source of the proposed cure for COVID-19. Researchers at the San Phernando Institute of Technology (SPIT), have discovered that at most 87% of COVID-19 is spread through droplets expelled by sneezing, coughing and gasping. Of the remaining 13%, ... more ]

7. Renaming Mathematical Diseases: Reducing InflammationEgan J Chernoff (10 visits)

Renaming Mathematical Diseases: Reducing Inflammation. Egan J Chernoff, University of Saskatchewan. Not all math mistakes are created equal. Certain math mistakes are so infamous among math teachers that they get monikers, and, for whatever reason, these monikers often sound like mathematical diseases. Take, for example, the mistake log(a + b) = log(a) + log(b), which has sometimes been referred to as logarrhea. Technically, though, diarrheathe inspiration for logarrheais a condition, not a disease. And for me, that’s the problem with the mathematical diseases: Although the terms are catchy, they fall apart if you don’t take them at ... more ]

8. Ode to ReduplicationDee-Deedles D’D’Dee-Dee (10 visits)

Ode to Reduplication1. Dee-Deedles D’D’Dee-Dee. Well, well! We had a letter which came through some days ago! I wouldn’t call it hate mail but it wasn’t ‘Ho, ho, ho’. ’Twas all about a poem by our friend, Deedles DDee, The SpecGram poet-in-residence, that’s who. Who’s that? That’s me!, The writer (name of Jojo Tutu, based in Bora Bora) Had, to quote the late, great Cilla Black, a lorra, lorra Worries that old Deedles had overlooked a verse; And told us so in terms intoned in tone a touch too terse, The poem was ... more ]

9. Don’t Take The P-s; We’re Positiv(ish) About PedagogyThe Collective of South Minnesotan Language Pedagogialists (9 visits)

Don’t Take The P-s; We’re Positiv(ist)(ish) About Pedagogy. The Collective of South Minnesotan Language Pedagogialists. The soon-to-be released proceedings of a recent international symposium on adult second language learning is set to redefine the field for a generation. The gathering of the influential group of positivist second language pedagogy theorists, Positiv(ist) about Pedagogy, Positiv(ist) about Positivism (PaPPaP), in Agnosaville, Tennessee, sported the ostensibly innocuous title Positiv(ist) P-s in the Pod of Pedagogy: Principles, Parameters and Pou-s Sto (PPsInPP:3Ps). With the hip tagline “We’re gonna chart the state of art,” the symposium hoped to offer ... more ]

10. Have Yourselves a Very Linguisticky ChristmasYuletide Editor X. Mus (8 visits)

Have Yourselves a Very Linguisticky Christmas. By Yuletide Editor X. Mus. Ding-dong merrily on high front vowel! ‘Hark!’ the herald angels sing, sang, sung! Good King Wenceslas out-looked looked out. Christmas is nearly ’pon us after a year more unexpected than the most suppletive of suppletions. A time, at least traditionally, for foul weather, increased energy bills, family fights and overly familiar TV listings, Christmas also boasts a linguistic dimension that is as much underplayed, under-referenced and misunderstood as it will not be underlined, underscored and underpinned. So let’s undertake that now. Consider the word itself: ... more ]

11. SPA Congratulates Vice President–ElectSpecGram Wire Services (8 visits)

SPA Congratulates Vice President–Elect. SpecGram Wire Services. The Society for Punctuation in America issued a hearty “Congratulations!” to the incoming US Vice President, Laharris. Said SPA head Hiram “ - ” Phineas, “ is the highest-ranking punctuated US politician to date, soaring even higher than former Secretary of State : Powell. It’s a success that’s at least half as critical for us as the diacritical success of French President Emmanuel ¯ .” “It has been a long road to success for the tiny community of punctuated and diacritical Americans, full stop,” added SPA publicist · May Trixie. “Back in the colonial period, ... more ]

12. LinguimericksBook ७९ (8 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ७९. While X-bar works just fine for syntax Through powerful unbounded push stacks Simpler technology Models phonology Kept regular by just using Ex-Lax —Andrew Lamont, If reading in runes is a task That gives you a horrified mask, I know of a maid Who will come to your aid, Yes, Œðel’s the one you should æsc —Pete Bleackley, If you seek experthood exegetical Be practical, not theoretical: Let the text reign supreme; Address what the words mean And avoid everything meta-lexical —Rt Rev Canon Dr Kanye Kane-Connington, Contractions Contractions are truly a crime, Against our own language sublime. Though some are not fans Of views with such class To them, ... more ]

13. The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (8 visits)

The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective. Are you in a world of linguistic hurt? The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (SLAC) will offer you empirical, empathic, emphatic advice you can use!* Remember, if you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, then you don’t need advice! So, if you need advice, trust usand cut yourself some SLAC! ... Dear SLAC Pack, I’ve been having a hard time explaining to my family and non-linguistics-grad friends (both of them) just what it is I do all day. (Well, in practice what I do all day is lie in bed and browse Twitter, but I digress...) Which brings me to my main question: what is linguistics really? Is ... more ]

14. Spaghetti or Lasagna for LinguistsLSA Committee on Comestibles in Linguistics (7 visits)

Spaghetti or Lasagna for Linguists. LSA Committee on Comestibles in Linguistics. In order to understand various types of linguists better, we conducted a controlled experiment. Very simply, we asked each linguist “Do you want spaghetti or lasagna for dinner?” We think the replies we got are instructive, and so we are sharing them with you. Classical Generative Phonologist: “Whether it’s spaghetti or lasagna will be predictable from context. Give me either one, and call it ‘pasta.’ ” Structuralist: “Both. Neither one will have any flavor unless I can compare them.” Typologist: “Spaghetti. It’s a more prototypical instance of the ... more ] Podcast!

15. Frog and Toad Teach LinguisticsKeith Slater and Kean Kaufmann (6 visits)

Frog and Toad Teach Linguistics. Found among the papers of Arnold Lobel by Keith Slater, Illustrated by Kean Kaufmann. Frog was sitting in his office. He looked at his watch. He saw that it was 10:00. “This is a fine time for a morning coffee,” said Frog. “I will invite Toad to join me in the faculty lounge.” Toad was working at his desk. He noticed the clock. It was 10:00. “I think this is a good time to drink coffee,” said Toad. “I will ask Frog to go with me to the faculty lounge.” Frog and Toad met in the hallway. They were happy. They went to the faculty lounge together. The coffee pot was empty. ... Toad glanced at Frog and said, “Frog, I am afraid that one of your ... more ] Podcast!

16. Why Linguistics is Not a ScienceThe SpecGram Editorial Board (5 visits)

Why Linguistics is Not a Science. The SpecGram Editorial Board. In a couple of recent editorials we have answered several of the questions most frequently submitted by SpecGram readers. Since the publication of those editorials, by far the most common question received in our offices has been, “Could please furnish us with your bank account number so we can transfer payment to you?” We cannot in good conscience accede to this request, as it violates a number of constraints and therefore suffers from what we like to call “fatal infelicity.” Another frequent question, though, is more worthy of our attention, (though only due to its being fifth on the frequency list) and it is to that more ... more ]

17. “Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill”by J–––– J––––––Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer (5 visits)

“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 doespecially when reading journals less interesting than SpecGrambut ... more ]

18. The Sociolinguistic Impact of Hippie Linguist Naming Practicesɹɒbɪn O’Jonesson (5 visits)

The Sociolinguistic Impact of Hippie Linguist Naming Practices. ɹɒbɪn O’Jonesson. There is little discussion in the literature concerning the social and psychological effects of the distinctive and unusual names given to children by their hippie parents, such as Moonbeam, Peacekarma, Ryvre, Starchild, Redpony, and so many more. Even less attention has been paid to the naming practices of the particular sub-culture of hippie linguists, who advocated for free morphemes in the 60’s and gave their children names such as Monophthongbreathstream, Pronouncopula, Rezonator, Asteriskchild, Redponymy, and Noam. ... The family VW van in 1971. Very few people so-named have kept their monikers into ... more ] Podcast! Book!

19. Archives (5 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 ]

20. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (5 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!

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Last updated Dec. 4, 2020.