The Encyclopedia of Mytholingual Creatures, Places, and Things
Part I appeared in the previous issue of SpecGram.
Noams: Small, wizened, earth-dwelling mytholingual creatures of Europe and North America. Generators of controversy and vitriolic rhetoric among such detractors as Traskus—Basque-speaking etymological kobolds—who often claim that noams publish “dogmatic”, “half-baked twaddle” on universal mythogrammar, despite the fact that “UM is a huge waste of time.” It is also claimed in the Postal Vuh—the ancient K’iche’ Book of Anti-Noamism—that noams have “pretended for decades that mytholingual principles already shown to be false are still valid”, have “adopted other mytholingual creatures’ research proposals without credit”; and have “falsely denigrated other linguomythologies to make their own work seem less inadequate.”
Omkèlé-Bmèbmé: A giant sauropod linguocryptid of Africa. It is said to be so horrible that it causes involuntary metathesis in those who see it.
Onomatopogo: A snake-like monster reported to live in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia, Canada. The creature makes a sound very similar to its name. Little else is known about it.
Phoerynx: A linguolegendary bird of the Mediterranean region. The small bird would sneak into a person’s oral cavity and hide near the back of the throat. When the person became angry, the phoerynx would explode out of the mouth in a burst of hurtful fiery words, killing the phoerynx and usually hurting those who heard the cruel words. So fiery were the words that a few ashes would fall to the ground around the exchange, and from these ashes another phoerynx would be born.
Polyglossasus: A winged horse of Ancient Greece said to give its rider—if any could tame it—the power to speak any and all languages.
Pragmatean Bed: A device used by evil Linguiwizard Pragmates to force any meaning onto any sentence. For example, the sentence “His son ate oatmeal at home”, could be forced by powerful pragmatic contextual magics—the father, who hated oatmeal, had told the son that he could only eat it at home “over my dead body”—to mean “The father has died.”
Quetzlnhlxtzlchctlcoātl: The Mesoamerican god of difficult-to-pronounce consonant clusters.
Seven Lig Boots: An astonishing pair of boots that inexplicably allow their wearer to pronounce massive septuple co-articulations.
Slippy Hollow: A small town in upstate New York, on the west bank of the Hudson River. On foggy nights, the headless body of William Archibald Spooner is said to roam the town, sneaking up behind townsfolk and gurgling, “You have hissed all my mystery lectures!”
Spring-Tongued Jack: A character from English folklore said to have lived during the Victorian era who was able to shoot his spring-loaded tongue out of his mouth with great speed and force. He terrorized the people of London for decades. His most fearsome act was a linguolabial trill, which he would perform using his own tongue but with someone else’s lips—usually that of an unsuspecting young woman walking home alone at night.
/sʃfɪnxh/: A hideous Greek or Egyptian creature with the face of a woman, the body of a linguist, and the wings of an undergraduate. They have great wisdom in all matters concerning fricatives, but will only share it with those who can answer their riddles.
Ðor: The red-haired and bearded Norse god of interdental fricatives.
Θωθ: An Egyptian and Greek god who oversaw writing, mathematics, and magic. Thus he was the only deity of Computational Linguistics to predate the invention of the computer.
Tricorn: A very rare breed of syntactic horse of which stories are told throughout the northern hemisphere. It allows three-way branching by use of its three magic horns. Quadricorns and Penticorns are rumored but no one has ever even claimed to have seen one.
Verbal Vampire: A non-corporeal entity that sucks the derivational affixes out of words, generally hastening the change to an analytic morphology.
Vorpal S-Word: A legendarily sharp pronunciation of the “S-word” that *snicker-snack!* can remove the hearer’s head from the neck. Students of historical mytholinguistics still debate what language the S-word should be in: English, German, or some other Slavic or Germanic language.
Vowelkyries: Supernatural Norse female linguist-warrior maidens who survey the battlefield of language and escort the spirits of worthy vowels that were reduced to schwas upward to Vowelhalla.
Whyvern: A two-legged European dragon-like creature with wings. Its aggressive verbal attacks consist of repetitively asking “Why?” until its foe gives up in exasperation.
Heraldic Whyvern holding a
Will O’ the Whisper: Far-away dancing lights seen over the English moorlands. Legend has it that anyone who approaches these lights too closely will never speak at full volume again.
Woperdaughterticore: A monster of the Malaysian and Indonesian forests, with the body of a red lioness, a tail tipped with a ball of spikes, and the face of an etymologically-challenged proponent of politically correct extremism.
Ŷĝĝḓřấŝíìλ: The Norse Binary Tree of the Word, from which all structure in language comes. It has roots reaching into the Well of Phonemes, the Spring of Meaning, and the Syntax of all Rivers.