[We have received numerous letters concerning a recent news item, “Linguistic Emissions Reduction Sought”. Below is a representative sampling.—Eds.]
To the Editors,
While reducing linguistic emissions is clearly vital in the struggle against global warming, we must not overlook other opportunities to decrease language-related metabolic costs. For example, considering how much communication is conducted electronically nowadays, more ergonomic keyboards—perhaps even language specific ones—could help.
Nuu Deli, Finland
Some have reported that Chinese is more efficient as a written language, in terms of content per pen stroke—this has sometimes been used to explain the apparent superiority of Chinese graduate students. Perhaps all languages should convert to more efficient written forms—and we might as well standardize on an established logographic writing system in order to improve cross-cultural communication!
Abhcóide, N. Ireland
Kraj rdaktroj d’l’Knjekta Grmtkro,
Ergnma Spranto sts l’plj logka elkto pr lingvo d’l’mondo. Gi smplig om d’l’ kmplkajoj d’Spranto, dm knsrvnta l’plj guaj prtoj. Ciuj uzs gn!—J, UK
[A translation is provided below.—Eds.]
Dear Editors of Speculative Grammarian,
Ergonomic Esperanto is the most logical choice for a world language. It simplifies some of the complexity of Esperanto, while keeping all the best parts. Everyone should use it!—J, UK
The real key to reducing linguistic emissions is not “inefficient articulations”—though they are certainly a contributing factor. The real trick to solving for the linguistico-metabolic component of global warming is educational: get people to stop moving their lips when they read!
Edz: txt msging-styl comm savs efrt 4 evry1! u shd txt msg evrythng! -G
As with comparing the impact of high-capacity lithium battery production with the benefit of hybrid cars, it is unclear whether converting the written form of other languages to Chinese logographs could outweigh the environmental impact of all the forceful swearing and banging of heads on desks that such a change would engender.
As for the goal of universal communication, whether in written Chinese or Ergonomic Esperanto, it is the the official opinion of the Speculative Grammarian Editorial Board that:
- language diversity should be maintained for purposes of cultural enrichment and academic interest,
- clear communication and proper understanding across cultural and national boundaries would only lead to increased strife, hatred, and bloodshed,
- txt msging is n abmntion!!!!!1!!!one!!
To the Editors,
Most of us, over a certain age, know the familiar, trite even, quasi-folk-etymological saying: “Don’t assume. It makes an ass out of u and me.”
Of course, you don’t hear things like that from the youngsters these days. There is no way they are going to share the blame or shame that might come from someone else’s faulty assumptions. Rather, their motto is more akin to, “Your mistake, your problem. Leave me out of it!”
Generation Y’s intrinsic apathy was hammered home to me in a linguistically interesting way recently, when my daughter indirectly blamed an error on her spelling test on her own folkish-reanalysis of that old chestnut of a saying.
Not too surprisingly, her spelling skills have never been strong, since she prefers “2 rt lk ths whl txtg 2 hr frndz,” alas. When I asked her how she managed to spell assume as assumeh on her recent test, she explained that she had overheard me talking to her older brother, and thought my mnemonic was a good one. She heard me say that one should not assume, because “it makes an ass out of u—and meh.” With meh taking on its apparently conical meaning as an interjection of apathy (as if an expression of such deep apathy should be worthy of the name “interjection”—perhaps semijection (reflecting its half-hearted nature) or inter-rejection (reflecting the rejection inherent in such apathy) would be more appropriate).
Sorry to burden you with this, but no one else in my family understands what I’m talking about when I go on about this kind of thing. Thanks for listening.
Florence Gertrude Hortense Izaguirre-Jjohnston
(The second j in Jjohnston is silent)
Guadalajjara, Jjersey, UK
Dear Ms. FGHIJ,
We consulted our slang expert and Editor-at-Large Jonathan van der Meer about the apparent abhorrent aberrance that is meh. He said his research—which apparently involved “googling around a bit” and “instant messaging” with four different informants (both of his college-aged children and two of their friends)—indicates that your analysis of your daughter’s reanalysis is spot on.
Unfortunately, we’ve heard through the linguistic grapevine that this hypocorrective spelling may be linked to our arch-antagonists, the Γραμματο-Χαοτικον. One fears to speculate what their motivations might be, beyond the general increase in language entropy. We fight the good fight, but you’ve got to lose them some.
P.S.: You mjight want to have that stjicky kjey on your tjypewriter looked at.
Corrections: Our highly trained and deeply motivated copy-editing staff reports with great certitude that no corrections are likely to be necessary at this time. Thank you for your attention.
[On the other hand, every issue of every journal contains at least one error and at least one unnecessary word. By induction, all journals can thus be reduced to a single word that is incorrect.—Eds.]
Note: The astute reader will have made note of the sudden increase in the number of references to the Γραμματο-Χαοτικον in the last few issues. Like you, we are concerned that the more radical elements of the ΓΧ are stirring up linguistic trouble the world over. They seem to be on the move again. Be afraid. Be very afraid! —Eds.
Speculative Grammarian accepts well-written letters commenting
on specific articles that appear in this journal or discussing the field of linguistics in general. We also accept poorly-written articles that ramble pointlessly. We reserve the right to ridicule the poorly-written ones and publish the well-written ones... or vice versa, at our discretion.