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1. Letters to the Editor (CXCIII.1) (15 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Dear Editors, While we agree with the observations of your recent correspondent Widow Hanky-Panky XXIV, we cannot but be monkey puzzled by the false dichotomy that this donkey proposes as a solution. Moreover, to rhyme monkey with donkey or donkey with monkey is necessarily to discriminate against one or other mammal. As lovers of mammals (and wider fauna), this seems to us a greater sin than the original offence. Both logic and inclusivity force us to consider the less discriminatory, non–false-dichotomous solution, namely to rhyme both words with a neutral third word, say, lanky. Mankey and dankey have a rich, mammalian phonaesthetic about them, ... more ]

2. Vol CXCIII, No 1 (12 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CXCIII, Number 1 Editor-in-Chief: Trey Jones; Executive Editors: Keith Slater, Mikael Thompson; Senior Editors: Jonathan Downie, Deak Kirkham; Contributing Editors: Pete Bleackley, Vincent Fish; Associate Editors: Luca Dinu, Yuval Wigderson, Daniel Swanson; Editorial Associates: Florian Breit, Emily Davis, Nathan W. Hill, Guillaume Jacques, Andrew Lamont, Gabriel Lanyi; Comptroller General: Joey Whitford; Structurally Restructuring Restructuration; June 2023 ... more ]

3. How to Reply to Meaningless Conversational Openers: Authenticity Without ImpolitenessA Linguistic ApproachIan P. Lightness, N. Auden, T. Szitty (7 visits)

How to Reply to Meaningless Conversational Openers: Authenticity Without Impoliteness A Linguistic Approach. Ian P. Lightness, N. Auden, T. Szitty. Astute and regular readers of SpecGram1 will remember a recent report on the banning of the ostensibly harmless conversation opener How are you? in three whole counties of the UK. The report ricocheted around the internet over four times, causing consternation, conversation, and chatter across five continents large swathes of the economy several mountainous regions two sub-sub-editors. While in the end the rest of the world did not follow the lead of Wildonshire, Detshire, and Shireshire, it was widely ... more ]

4. The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics (7 visits)

The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics . For decades, Speculative Grammarian has been the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguisticsand now it is available in book formboth physical and electronic! We wish we were kidding,1 but no, seriously, we’ve published a large3 collection of SpecGram articles, along with just enough new material to force obsessive collectors and fans to buy it, regardless of the cost.4 From the Introduction: The past twenty-five years have witnessed many changes in linguistics, with major developments in linguistic theory, significant expansion ... more ]

5. Pseudo-Psiblings™And Other Views of Multiply-Blended FamiliesTrey Jones (5 visits)

Pseudo-Psiblings™ And Other Views of Multiply-Blended Families. A proposal for improving and clarifying family nomenclature for the 21st century. by Trey Jones. Introduction. Language evolvesotherwise we’d all be able to read Beowulf in the original, right? Sometimes language changes in response to cultural changes. But sometimes it doesn’t change fast enough to keep up with cultural changes. This paper seeks to give English a little push in a much-needed direction. There has been a fairly radical change in Western society in the last hundred years or so. It used to be that if a woman was on her fourth husband, one automatically felt a little sorry for ... more ]

6. LinguimericksBook ९५ (4 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ९५. The dystopian vision of functional linguistics May appeal to you But I see it for what it is, A darkness of probabilistic nihilism Replacing categories with p values And structure with similitudes That yield no abstraction And no insight. I cannot live in a place That regards the mind as nothing more Than the sum of countable behaviors And grammar as just so many serendipities, Where there is no theory But only observation. Where is the wonder in that? —H.D. Onesimus, čǎřřy̌ǐňǧ old M̄āc̄k̄ r̄ōūn̄d to his g̀r̀àv̀è the ... more ]

7. A Poem About Syntax, Discontinuities InDeedles D’Dee (4 visits)

A Poem About Syntax, Discontinuities In. By Dee, Deedles D’. There once was a linguist who was obsessed with syntactic discontinuities— So much so he refused to draw a single, solitary syntactic tree Without any crossing lines. And this timely poem reminds Us syntacticians everywhere of the dangers of doing syntax too wild, too free. He loved syntactic topicalisations, or, perhaps, as he might put it, ‘Topicalisations, those he loved’ (forgive the resumptive; I had to add it For reasons of scansion and meter): He thought this syntax neater And even wrote papers proposing its use in lects that had never had it!, As for the English phrasal verb with direct objects interposed (Like ‘I gave ... more ]

8. The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective (3 visits)

The SpecGram Linguistic Advice Collective. Brought to You by The LINGUIST List. 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, What will the future of linguistics hold? —A Linguist ... Dear Alien Guest, Linguistics has no future. It has a past and a nonpast. Some refer to the latter as a present, but the nasty looks when I gave all of my family members linguistics textbooks as a ... more ]

9. The Topology of SyntaxIain A. Plicable (3 visits)

The Topology of Syntax. Iain A. Plicable, Lecturer in Mathematical Linguistics, University of Ledworth. A key theorem of Universal Grammar is that lines do not cross in tree diagrams. However, critics of Universal Grammar challenge even such a basic result as this on the basis of sentences such as the following, taken from Virgil’s Eclogues: ultima, Adj.F.S.Nom, last Cumaei, Adj.M.S.Gen, Cumean venit, V.3.S.Pres, come iam, Adv, now carminis, N.M.S.Gen, song aetas, N.F.S.Nom, age, “Now the last age of Cumaean song comes.” ... Figure 1: An invalid tree diagram, Leaving aside the fact that such forays into historical linguistics tell us nothing about the ... more ]

10. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (3 visits)

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 ] Merch! Book!

11. Overheard in the Linguistics Student Lounge (3 visits)

Overheard* in the Linguistics Student Lounge. Chesterton “Chez Moi” Wilburfors Gilchrist, IV, Grad Student Union Steward, United Linguistics Workers**, Second-Year Grad Student, Dept. of Lexicology and Glottometrics, Devonshire-upon-Glencullen University, Southampton All names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent. Preterite: The Latin word for “person” and the Greek word for “same” sound alike. It’s a homophone. Doublespeak: They’re (probably) not homophonous as the former (homō) has initial syllable stress and a long second vowel while the latter (ὁμός) has second ... more ]

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Last updated Jun. 7, 2023.