Quotes: What People are Saying

Here are a few of our favorite things people have said about Speculative Grammarian over the years, collected wild on the internet, or domesticated in email.

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Q1118. C’est sans doute un humour un peu ésotérique mais bon.

Sémioticien du bisou

Q1117. Support the addition of the double-dot wide O to the IPA chart by buying some Speculative Grammarian merchandise! No, I’m not being sponsored or getting a commission from them. I just appreciate good geeky humour.

—Grace Teng

Q1116. Speculative Grammarian ist die erste Zeitschrift für satirische Linguistik. Kostenlos zugänglich, ein Muss für Witzboldinnen.

Constantin Freitag

Q1115. Speculative Grammarian / 言語学に関する笑えるネタや時として真面目な話を収録したオンラインの雑誌。難しいことを緩く語るのがコンセプトなのだろう。英語。

LingWebs Bot

Q1114. Speculative Grammarian ... is full of jokes that are funny only to linguists, satirical or otherwise.

—Grace Teng

Q1113. [Wabi-sabi] can’t be translated into English, so unfortunately none of us English speakers can know what it means.


Q1112. I’ll just leave this here. It’s a big collection of things students wrote on exams. At the bottom of the page there’s a link to the next one; topics of the exams are broad, personally I find the phonology stuff particularly funny (as should be evidenced by my flair, which is taken from there).


Q1111. This article proves that European languages continue to encourage sexist thought and behavior. In fact, the langauges themselves are inherently sexist.

Mike Aubrey

Q1110. For years now, SpecGram has been campaigning for the inclusion of the double-dot wide O, representing the nasal ingressive voiceless velar fricative, in the International Phonetics Alphabet chart.

—Grace Teng

Q1109.nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill


Thanks, SpecGram!

Mike Aubrey

Q1108. This is fantastic, thanks. I think my favourite has to be: “fast as in fast runner is an adjective while fast in speaks fast is also an adjective”


Q1107. SpecGram’s ezine is amusing too.


Q1106. [The SpecGram podcast] was born out of the satirical linguistics journal Speculative Grammarian and is very silly and fun. The audio quality isn’t the best but I don’t mind because it’s an excellent listen.

I love their Language Made Difficult series. That’s where they do a quiz called Lies, Damned Lies, and Linguistics, in which the host reads out three language related facts and the others have to guess which facts are true and which is false.


Q1105. SpecGram is a little high brow for this audience.


Q1104. I for one got maybe half of my linguistics education looking up jokes in SpecGram I didn’t get.

—Emily Davis

Q1103. I really enjoyed doing this puzzle. Thank you for coming up with new ones every month!

—Lydia N.

Q1102. Oh noes, I’ve listened to all 307 episodes... wot now?

—Andrew Elzenaar

Q1101. Quottas? Quottiods? That bastion of linguistic scholarship, Speculative Grammarian, has solved the dilemma of where to put quotation marks in relation to periods and commas!

Gus Van Horn

Q1100. Check out this old but fun site: Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics.


Q1099. Moses < Middletown by our very own Ken Miner, via a brain-softeningly logical sequence of natural phonological changes. The only thing wrong with it is the misspelling of “vowol harmono”.

—John Cowan

Q1098. A little light reading for a mundane Saturday evening.

Chip Hardy

Q1097. This satirical article at Speculative Grammarian explains why Twitter is not a good idea for the fine residents of Nunavut.


Q1096. I can always rely on SpecGram staff to make sentence parsing both hilarious and slightly creepy.

—Jonathan Downie

Q1095. Crystal is a descriptivist: he sees language change as inevitable, healthy and interesting. In contrast, here’s a satirical piece from Speculative Grammarian titled “Saving Endangered Languages with Prescriptivism”.


Q1094. Needless to say, the descriptivists and prescriptivists have been fighting for years; in the academic English world, they are the Hatfields and McCoys, the Montagues and Capulets, the Sharks and Jets, the Blue Devils and Every Other Basketball Team. Now there is a movement that strives to cut the liguistic Gordian Knot by going the prescriptivists one better: The Original English Movement would return our language permanently to its form a millennium ago, at the time of the writing of Beowulf.

—The Good Reverend

Q1093. I’m howling!!

Suffi Azizan

Q1092. However, having said that I think there are untranslatable words, I don’t agree with some of those words. The can’t be translated? It is an article and certainly can be. In Spanish it is translated as el, for example. Schadenfreude? Epicaricacy or, for those who don’t think it a word..., “taking joy in another’s misery.” That is perfect. Laughing when someone slips on a banana peel, for example.


Q1091. Toska in Russian means melancholy or boredom. You don’t have to know Russian, you just know how to use a Russian/English dictionary.


Q1090. Kääntäminen on tunnetusta vaikeaa, ellei täysin mahdotonta. Lukeutuuko tämä teksti mahdottomiksi kääntää englannista suomeksi?


Q1089. Kyllähän kyseistä tekstiä tietysti voisi "kääntää" suomeksi noin pilailumielessä, mutta eipä siinä olisi juuri mitään ideaa. Englanninkielinen teksti on nimittäin virheellistä kieltä, ja mahdollisen merkityksen esiin tonkiminen jää arvailujen varaan.


Q1088. Vilkaisin sivua lyhyehkösti ja sain sen käsityksen, että koko homma oli käännetty koneella jostakin muusta kielestä.

—paljon tekstiä

Q1087. I will admit that I seldom read SpecGram, as fans call it, since I don’t really enjoy its brand of humor, generally very dry, deadpan satire of academic writing and more specifically the discourse of descriptive and theoretical linguistics. This month, however, three different acquaintances commended the latest “Special Fieldwork Issue”.

On the principle of de gustibus non est disputandum and as your humble conduit, I present links to Speculative Grammarian’s Special Fieldwork Issue 1 (April 2010) and Special Fieldwork Issue 2 (May 2010). I did get a good chuckle from Elwin Ransom’s piece, “On the Applicability of Recent Theoretical Advances in Linguistics to the Practice of Fieldwork.” And really, what more can I demand for the price of my subscription?

—Chad Nilep

Q1086. ‘My love is like a colourless green simile...’heartrending linguistics poems especially for Valentine’s Day.


Q1085. Never noticed this particular little game on the site before...


Q1084. People into linguistics probably know this one already, but [I recommend] Strangecraft.

—rotting bones

Q1083. Do you want to learn the funny sino-roman alphabet? Here you can do it.

—Massimiliano B

Q1082. Juego para lingüistas en tardes lluviosas. En realidad, no, pero me he reído leyendolo. Pobre Chomsky.

Ander Egurtzegi

Q1081. My favourite [propaganda poster] is this sensitive portrait of the old-time theoretical linguist at work.

Andrew Hardie

Q1080. Oh, PLOS ONE! Das weltweit zweitbeste Linguistik-Magazin. Solideres Fachwissen hat nur SpecGram ;)


Q1079. It’s a shame the double-dot wide O never caught on as an IPA symbol. (Or the dectuple-struck Z, for that matter.)


Q1078. “The horse raced past the garden path fell.” *giggle*

Michael Aubrey

Q1077. Das ist der Humor der Linguisten. *g*


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Last updated Nov. 29, 2019.