Quotes—Page 19: 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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Q250. Als je het over taalregels hebt moet je eigenlijk twee soorten ‘regels’ onderscheiden: descriptieve en prescriptieve (of ‘beschrijvende’ en ‘voorschrijvende’). ... Twee plaatjes zeggen meer dan duizend woorden.


Q249. Сатирический журнал для лингвистов.


Q248. If you like word play, you might also like SpecGram ... in which linguists prove why linguistics doesn’t attract a lot of interest as a major.

—Virginia Hunter

Q247. Zawsze ktos kupi takie mumbo-jumbo o gramatyce uniwersalnej, ktora pojawila sie jako mutacja genetyczna. Czary-mary, nie bylo jezyka, i oto jest jezyk. To jest moj ulubiony tekst na ten temat. Zamiast LAD wstawic UG. LAD to troche taka wczesniejsza wersja UG.


Q246. Believe me it’s funny ... If you’re a real linguist or just a working stiff of a translator like me who wants to be distracted, you’ll find this article worth your while to check it out.

John Gordon Ross

Q245. SpecGram’s humour mostly lies in its apparent earnestness, but it is beautifully creative, for example, having invented the field of Langualogy.

John Gordon Ross

Q244. A Language Hat post has introduced me to Speculative Grammarian, “the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics,” and it is fabulous.

John Gordon Ross

Q243. Speculative Grammarian, that corpus of linguistic wisdom, presents a fine description of eminently practical uses of linguistics.

Marcus Collins

Q242. Vous pourrez visiter ... un article de Speculative Grammarian qui montre qu’on peut s’amuser même avec les langues anciennes.


Q241. Speculative Grammarian had a cartoon series with some hilarious cartoons. You can find them all using the search form on the main page. Their merchandise has funny graphics as well.


Q240. Specgram has the most tempting personal advertisements I’ve ever seen, like Single Statistical Quadratic Psycho-Discourse Analyst Seeks Single Phonologist For Heart-Shifting Fling or Single Pragmatist Seeks Same. Now, I am of a morphological persuasion myself, with a pronounced tendency towards typology and vestiges of interest in semantics and syntax, but you never know. They also have most engaging crosswords. Absolutely delightful and no doubt time-consuming. Right what I need at the moment. Indeed.


Q239. What a frightening place this journal must be. I had pictured some coffeehouse zombies with a printing press in the basement, but it appears they have an entire dysfunctional corporate bureaucracy.


Q238. Much of the story sounds plausible.

It would only sound plausible to somebody with a name like ‘Pete’.

—A.J.P. Crown

Q237. A wonderful spoof!


Q236.Devonshire-upon-Glencullen’ sounds like an exotic and expensive kind of Irish coffee.

—A.J.P. Crown

Q235. Pratchett-worthy footnotes.


Q234. I loved the footnotes.

Language Hat

Q233. Speculative Grammarian [has] this wonderful piece from Volume CLII, Number γ. In it, Sir Edmund C. Gladstone-Chamberlain, Professor Emeritus of Linguistic Science, Department of Lexicology and Glottometrics, Devonshire-upon-Glencullen University, Southampton, describes his youthful encounter with a very strange language spoken by a remote tribe deep in the Amazon Basin and his discovery of how the language worked and, eventually, of the unfortunate history behind it.

Language Hat

Q232. I think my favorite is still “All your morpheme are belong to us”, because it’s just so darn clever, what with morphemes being ‘bases’ of sorts. But it’s almost painfully geek-y. And I really do like “Will perform nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trills for food”, but I don’t think I can make a nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill. Maybe if I practiced. Huh. Wow. Ok. Not looking at this website any more.


Q231. Try inhaling through your nose and make your velum vibrate. I am sure you can!


Q230. WTF is a nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill? I couldn’t even begin to articulate that...it makes no sense.


Q229. Thank you for yet another very entertaining puzzle!

—Sara Kessler

Q228. I feel right at home with SpecGram. Thank you for the regular laughs.

—Nynke de Haas

Q227. Taalkundehumor!


Q226. The next issue is coming out next month, and it promises to be positively saturated with obscure in-jokes and footnotes.


Q225. I had my first academic publication in SpecGram with the [November 2008] issue. I’m not sure what that says about me, other than that I’m a linguist and a nerd.


Q224. Speculative Grammarian (a highly reassuring website for linguists)

The University of York Linguistic Society

Q223. Linguists w/ a sense of humor? No way!!!!


Q222. I like SpecGram. I can’t get my daughter and other relatives to laugh at its jokes, though.

—Tom H Chappell

Q221. In case you never heard of “phonological ergativity” you might enjoy [this].

—Tom H Chappell

Q220. I liked that a lot. ... I’ve wondered whether social scientistsand maybe other scientistshave a term for the percentage of “edge cases” that must be discarded as irrelevant, in order to get a nice correlation or have the results match the prediction. Maybe recision is the term.

Walt Crawford

Q219. I love recision

—Candy Schwartz

Q218. Hehehe

Mark Lindner

Q217. Those cynical chaps at Speculative Grammarian make a mockery of all that is good and holy about Computational Linguistics and Information Retrieval.

—Fred 2.0

Q216. What is Linguistics Good For? Those of you who are familiar with IPA (and I know your name is Legion) will definitely enjoy this. Those of you who have any sort of familiarity with Russian will probably like it too.

Mike Aubrey

Q215. Speculative Grammarian is the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics. Try their crossword for linguists (take THAT New York Times Sunday x-word!).


Q214. ‘Oo’s a KITTY-POO? I see a KITTY BOO BOO! Oh no, my PRIONS! This is lolarious!

Miss Crystal

Q213. Polecam, naprawdę świetne.


Q212. Other SpecGram interesting (funny) articles may be:

  • A reinterpretation of some aspects of the Indoeuorpean expansion, by William C. Spruiell.
  • Towards a new classification of European languages, by Dr. Medved Sem... based in the word for ‘umbrella’ and resulting in a very curious map (forget about centum and satem languages!).
  • Linguistic Topology, by I. Juana Pelota-Grande. That results (among others) in some quite curious ‘topologies’.

    Q211. Sadly a lot of ‘theories’ about hypothetical connections (like the one on Basco-Berber ones) are made up that way: with loads of imagination, forced connections, unexistent words (or loanwords from third languages) and bad translations, resuling in total madness.

    Some good examples of this can be found in Speculative Grammarian articles, specially those of Tim Pulju. For instance:

  • Reconstructed Proto-Franco-Sino-Indonesian
  • A Reconsideration of the Sino-Kiowan Problem (where Pilju contradicts his previous thesis to find out that Chinese is actually a pidgin of Kiowan and English)

    Q210. Это здорово!!!

    Svetlana Usha

    Q209. Кроме очень правильных статей про лингвистику, также присутствуют игры и кроссворды, фундаментальныне лингвистические понятия в комиксах, фонд вооружения вымирающих языков и акция по включению в международный фонетический алфавит символа, обозначающего назально–ингрессивный глухой велярный вибрирующий звук, иными словами хрюканье.

    Михаил Иванов

    Q208. I have ... been reading Linguistics Cartoons. They’re not that super good, especially considering the idea behind them is to illustrate linguistic concepts in such a way that a ‘bright, interested ten-year-old’ could understand them (as an undergrad linguist, I have found many of them nearly incomprehensible), but a few are good, including this one and this one.


    Q207. This is why I read EVERY word of EVERY issue of Speculative Grammarian ... pure genius!

    —Carl Spies

    Q206. 那个网站会好些语言学家、语言学研究者、爱好者写了些讽刺的、挖苦的、搞笑的文章,也有些图片,旨在用简明的方法讲述语言学。


    Q205. Check [SpecGram] out if you’ve got the time, it’s worth some good chuckles.


    Q204. The self-proclaimed first (and only!) journal of satirical linguistics, Speculative Grammarian.


    Q203. Don’t [read SpecGram] unless you have time to procrastinate a bit.


    Q202. It is true that Linguists are weird. Here is proof.


    Q201. SpecGram is the best satirical work on linguistics available world-wide.

    Aya Katz

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    Last updated Nov. 29, 2019.