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“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 ]
Letters to the Editor. A Plea For Decency Linguistics has gone bad, and we need to do something about it. Our discipline is riddled with sinful words like syntax, syndeton, synthetic, and crude innuendos such as genitival, clitic, deictic, and dangling participles. Is it a mere happenstance that durative sounds like the name of a condom? No, it is not. It is a deliberate attempt to vulgarise the field of linguistics by gaudy grammarians after having spent too many nights at X-Bars. These all too obvious attempts at sexualising our discipline must be stopped. It is a moral crime to allow innocent, pure students to be bombarded with such tawdry terms as ... [ 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 ]
Language Made Difficult, Vol. L — The SpecGram LingNerds are on their own this time. After some Lies, Damned Lies, and Linguistics, the LingNerds discuss the dangers of mispronouncing the names of Canadian provinces, and then advise students as to what they should *not* do. They also fail to celebrate the 50th episode. Many outtakes are provided. ... [ listen ]
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 ]
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It’s the crack of dawn somewhere. While those people get some coffee, here are some more items from the last 7 days that may be of interest to a discerning reader like you.
Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXVIII, Number 3 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: Luca Dinu, Joe McAvoy, Mary Shapiro, Reed Steiner; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; It’s All Fun and Games Until a, Variationist Shows Up; October 2020 ... [ more ]
Creativity and Variation in Esperanto. by Dr B. Ałłie Stock. When I received notification that my paper had been accepted at the upcoming Creativity and Variation in Esperanto conference in Hopesville, Montana, I was metaphorically over the moon.1 A few weeks later, having flown literally over the mountains,2 I landed at Hopesville International Aerodrome deep in the heart of the Montana Rocky Mountains with my esperoj as altaj as the mountains themselves. It was only a short train ride by the Montana State Magnetic Railway Express to Hopesville itself where green posters were hanging, green flags were flapping and ZEO3-replica memorabilia were doing whatever ... [ more ]
What Part of ‘No’ Don’t You Understand?. Strang Burton. λP[λQ[∼∃x[P(x)∧Q(x)]]], <e,t> <<e,t> t> What part of ‘No’ don’t you understand?, ... [ 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 ]
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 ]
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 ]
Scots Wikipedia Exposed As Fake. SpecGram Wire Services. Wikipedia is in shock after it was revealed that the entire Scots edition was the work of one American teenager, who doesn’t speak Scots, and simply wrote 23,000 articles in badly-spelt English. Jonny Scotland, of the Wikimedia Foundation, said, “Och aye the nu! Hau cid a thing laik this a happined? Wikipedia’s meant tae bi self-korrectin, an aw. Why did naebidy ivver fix this? Hi’s meyd fools o the whole boilin o us. It’s aw a lot of auld gyper!” Scots-speaking Wikipedians were unavailable for comment, since apparently, there aren’t any. ... [ 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 ]
Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part 3—Morphological Typology. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. No need for an introduction, it was covered in previous installments (on non-configurational languages and ergativity). Instead, let us proceed to the next chapter of our Cartoon Theories of Linguistics. I have provided the following cartoonish exegesis of morphological typology for your edification: ... Up next: Statistical Machine Translation. References, Baker, Mark. (1988). Incorporation: A theory of grammatical function changing. Baker, Mark. (1996). The polysynthesis parameter. Comrie, Bernard. (1989). Language universals and linguistic typology (2nd ... [ more ]
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Last updated Oct. 28, 2020.