Quotes—Page 7: More of What People are Saying

Here are a few more 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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Q850. My new copy of SpecGram’s Essential Guide arrived today! Whee! Two pages in and I’m already super excited.

Todd Snider

Q849. There is a lonely space in my bookshelf between “Jackendoff” and “Keenan” that’s really jonesing for a... well... “Jones”.


Q848. My semantics/pragmatics professor actually recommended SpecGram to us in the class syllabus. When he handed out the sheets about what we would be studying each week it was “week 1 x, week 2 y, week 3 z—now you should all go and read SpecGram.


Q847. I like book.


Q846. The book would make a great addition to my dedicated shelf of linguistics books and periodicals.


Q845. I’ve been listening to the podcast for a couple years, now. My favorite was probably listening to Gothic for Travelers while mowing a small patch of a rough on Hole 9 at a military golf course in southern Germany.


Q844. Before I started reading Speculative Grammarian, I had no idea what a morphome was. I still don’t, but now I feel I’m in good company. Or company, at least.

Pete Bleackley

Q843. I really love LMD. I listen to them while biking mostly, and sometimes get funny looks from people as I ride by laughing out loud :-)

—Sara Kessler

Q842. I just wanted to say that I really love the Language Made Difficult podcasts. I just listened to most of the new crop in a row, and they’re so much fun, so again, thanks!

—Sara Kessler

Q841. My life has been vastly improved by dissecting the subtle shifts that create the Inspector Clouseau accent. An unexpected side effect is that I now have a terrible need to own a minki.

Erika Swyler

Q840. If you’re not reading Speculative Grammarian, well, I don’t know what you’re doing with yourself.*

*Okay, maybe you fill your days with things other than books and language nerdery, things I don’t understand, things like friends, family, and proper occupations.

Erika Swyler

Q839. Kääntäminen on tunnetusta vaikeaa, ellei täysin mahdotonta. Lukeutuuko tämä teksti mahdottomiksi kääntää englannista suomeksi?


Q838. I’ve been looking for a good Ido translator. Thanks. But I’m disappointed it doesn’t include Novial.


Q837. Yes, I’ve been using the AutoGrammatikon aka the best translator of the century all along!


Q836. It’s usually my bright light in the hell that is undergraduate education.


Q835. Really really enjoy Specgram’s podcast, mostly the longer ones. It feels like im hanging out with other linguists and joking around. They’re obviously intelligent and pretty clever (well, most of them). I wish they could be more vulgar though.


Q834. A common question asked of linguists these days, to our collective dismay, is “What is the etymology of ‘twerk’?”

Rob Mitchelmore

Q833. Speculative Grammarian—proof that academe truly has something for everyone. Satirical linguistics! I’m sold.

Laura I Appleman

Q832. Chistes para lingüistas: Next Noam Chomsky to Be Selected

Pablo Carreño

Q831. Cackles at linguist friends


Q830. Linguists, pick up a copy of this delightful book if you haven’t already.

Ben Zimmer

Q829. Who will be the next Chomsky? ... (I somehow miss a more Borgia-esque feel to the article...)

Riccardo Fusaroli

Q828. It’s here!! FINALLY!! I’m doing little jigs in the air.

Suhas Mahesh

Q827. Taking a more scientific bent, Speculative Grammarian presents the findings of a couple of St. Cloud 5th graders named Sven Slater and Ollie Bickford. Sven and Ollie did a little mapping of their own. Although their methodology was a little flighty, their results seemed to take wing. Sven and Ollie, too, reached a now familiar conclusion: “We are not sure why anyone would say ‘duck, duck, goose,’ because ‘grey duck’ is so much better.”

—William Wilcoxen

Q826. This reduced me to tears (of laughter, that is). I strongly suspect that finding that so funny makes me part of yet another tiny minority. Ach, well.

Squander Two

Q825. This rocks.
-3rd person singular disharmonic.
-a 27th letter of the English alphabet proposed.
-“English ‘Englishifies’ the words it pickpocketed.”


Q824. ♥ those nice folks at Speculative Grammarian. You will, too.


Q823. [SpecGram is] the World’s Leading Journal in the Often Neglected Field of Providing Entertainment and Distraction for Those Who Should Actually Do Something Else.

—Moritz Rathgeber

Q822. Трогательная история про язык, в котором есть один глагол, один предлог, нет существительных и прилагательных, а весь смысл выражается наречиями. Например, "лошадь бежит" будет "это есть лошадно, бегуще".
Узнал я обо всём этом из книги The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics, которую недавно достал по советам из интернетов. Это навроде "Физики шутят", только про лингвистику. Книжка неожиданно объёмная, содержит в себе подборку самых лучших статей из журнала SpecGram, посвящённого незаслуженно обойдённому вниманием разделу этой науки: сатирической лингвистике. Довольно смешно. Рассчитано на совсем настоящих лингвистов, не как я: обыгрывается довольно много знаний, которым всех учат на младших курсах (типа фонетики или истории языкознания), и про которые я не знаю, ибо фиолетово. Но там довольно много про морфологию, синтаксис и семантику впереди, надеюсь понять больше.


Q821. When to use “a” versus “an”? This question has been hotly contested by all the illustrious linguists of our age, who had great difficulty determining any sort of rule for this English-language anomaly. Observe the dramatic tale in all its glory, presented in this brilliant and concise essay.

Contains Language

Q820. I found this 100% worth the time.


Q819. Absolutely worth the time.


Q818. This is like Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock for people who hate themselves.

Science of Noise

Q817. [SpecGram] is a great linguistics satire rag, if anyone is interested in linguistics around here. And everyone would probably enjoy this.

—Christina Thérèse

Q816. They say this is always a nice gift to give!


Q815. Handwriting analysis is bunk. There’s literally no way that a motor skill learned in childhood could tell you anything about the personality of an adult. It’s a linguistic horoscope, and it’s so obviously bunk to modern linguists and psychologists that they won’t even take the time to write articles debunking it. Speculative Grammarian, The Onion of linguistics, has an article making fun of it.


Q814. Ei tarvitse perustaa pseudolingvistiseuran aikakauskirjaa—Mä kun törmäsin tähän: [Speculative Grammarian]


Q813. Забавная картинка. Вернула меня в далёкие институтские годы, и где-то на самом горизонте сознания закачались, словно миражи экзотические фамилии “Щерба” и “Бодуэн де Куртенэ”.


Q812. I love @SpecGram. “The premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics.” Hilarious. Read it.

Rich Ruff

Q811. If you are a linguist, I can guarantee that you’ll find at least one thing in here that is absolutely hilarious. There’s something here for every subfield. If you have ever thought how funny it would be to write “nasal ingressive uvular trill” on a blackboard somewhere and count how many people make snorting noises, you need this book. It is also possibly worth the purchase just for Appendix A, “A Self-Defining Linguistics Glossary.”


Q810. The SpecGram book ... is surprisingly full to the brim and hilarious (from what I’ve read). It assumes a general understanding of a lot of post-intro linguistics and covers the whole range of subfields and interests. This way you avoid getting a syntactician a book on historical linguistics (yuck) or getting a phonologist a book on generative semantics. Safest bet for sure, IMO.


Q809. I don’t work for them, but allow me to plug SpecGram’s book. They’ve had an excellent marketing campaign ..., and if your [gift recipient] is serious about linguistics, this is probably a better alternative than many of the other vaguely language-related books out there.


Q808. The bulk of the text is built around subfields—sets of pieces on typology, syntax, phonetics, whatevs. Richly illustrated even. I’m guessing anybody who reads this will find plenty of nuggets that they can enjoy and use.

Mr. Verb

Q807. Sometimes it actually makes the distinctions between different theories or sub-disciplines of linguistics easier to understand than more earnest volumes. But don’t let some learning get in the way of a good chortle. Even the errata page is a good excuse for a joke or two.

Lauren Gawne

Q806. Some new hotness: The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics

Heron Greenesmith

Q805. Seriously, this volume has not only a real place in the field, it also continues an important tradition. I keep Studies out in Left Field: Defamatory essays presented to James D. McCawley (originally published in 1971 ...) on my desk at all times. I regularly give students the “supplementary glossary of linguistic terminology” from that. ... But it needed updating. The Essential Guide has six pages of “self-defining linguistic glossary” ... a bit of overlap with Studies, of course, but tons more stuff and covering a lot of the field.

Mr. Verb

Q804. I have enjoyed reading every single page in The Speculative Grammarian [book]. It is the book that a linguist can read for pleasure!

Sarah Almotairi

Q803. Just like I advise students that you don’t have to like every field of linguistics, you don’t have to like everything in SpecGram (or, for that matter, understand it, there is often detail upon detail lurking in those footnotes). There’s more than enough there for linguists of any flavour to find something of amusement, and it’s a book that’s always worth coming back to.

Lauren Gawne

Q802. At Team Verb, we’re all pretty pumped about this. Or as one colleague put it:

This goes on the new MA reading list. Hell, this is the new MA reading list.
Given that the old reading list consisted of stuff written between the Rig Veda and Bloomfield’s Menominee Grammar, it would be a step forward, but can’t you imagine the prelims: please open the Essential Guide to p. 194, and let’s discuss “Are Turkish and Amharic Related? Are they ever!”
Mr. Verb

Q801. I always wait for the new issues of SpecGram to be announced on LINGUIST.

Mr. Verb

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Last updated Nov. 29, 2019.