Most Popular Pages—Last 7 Days

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1. Reasons Not to Study LinguisticsPart IDyspepsia Prater and Cynnie Sizzum (63 visits)

Reasons Not to Study Linguistics Part I. Compiled by Dyspepsia Prater and Cynnie Sizzum, X. Quizzit Korps Center for Advanced Collaborative Studies. Linguists, generally, try to encourage others’ interest in their field with enticements such as, “linguistics helps us understand the human condition” “every language provides a unique view of the mind” “linguistics empowers people” “you can work in translation, interpreting, foreign language teaching, the tech industry, fieldwork, etc.” Blah, blah, blah. You see, no matter how exciting a field seems, there’s someone out there who is sick and tired of putting up with it. Rather than promise nothing but ... more ]

2. Further Land-Grabbing in the Left PeripheryTel Monks (62 visits)

Further Land-Grabbing in the Left Periphery. Tel Monks, Student Emeritus. Modern syn­tacti­cians agree that the Left Periphery is ripe for further development since the territory was opened up by such luminaries as Rizzi (1997).i This paper states (stakes?) a new claim based on my extensive syntactic field studies in the Funny Pages. The Washington Post (April 9th, 2019), inter alia, published an episode of the Judge Parkerii strip including the following panel: I was naturally struck by the question from Sam Driver: “l can do what now?” This is clearly a wh-question presenting the required substitution of a wh-word for the Object NP; however, the ... more ]

3. The SpecGram Film and Media Club Reviews Inglourious BasterdsManfred M. McManus (41 visits)

The SpecGram Film and Media Club, Reviews Inglourious Basterds. with Linguist to the Stars, Mr Manfred M. McManus. Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds represents a new level of achievement in a welcome and long-overdue linguistic democratisation of film which has been sorely lacking in the Anglophone-dominated hegemony of 20th century Hollywood. With protagonists enacting no fewer than four languages in the film, this was a rare tour-de-force for those of us who feel English has dominated the British and North American film industries for too long. Despite his positivity, this critic would still like to see more. The subtitles in English, for example, merely served to distract from ... more ]

4. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart EPhonetics vs. PhonologyHilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. (35 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part E—Phonetics vs. Phonology. Hilário Parenchyma, C.Phil. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. We will skip the introduction, as we have been there, done that. Once more into the breach! For this installment in our series on Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, we will turn our attention to Phonetics and Phonology and the difference between the two: Phonetics:, ... Phonology:, ... Thanks to Professor Phlogiston, of the Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn, for the opportunity of a lifetime, as a student, to, on this occasion, share with so many of my fellow linguisticians my views, as illustrated above, concerning matters, which are of such immeasurable import ... more ] Merch! Book!

5. Archives (32 visits)

SpecGram Archives. A word from our Senior Archivist, Holger Delbrück: While bringing aging media to the web and hence the world is truly a labor of love, SpecGram tries the passion of even the most ardent admirer. Needless to say, we’ve fallen behind schedule. At every turn, the authors found in the pages of this hallowed journal stretch credibility with their gratuitous font mongeringfirst it was the IPA, then a few non-standard transcription systems, then Greek, and not just the alphabet, but the entire diacritical mess, and now I’ve got some god-forsaken Old Church Slavonic glyph sitting on my desk that no one can even name, and which would give the Unicode Consortium ... more ]

6. The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature (31 visits)

The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature. Welcome to Online Selections from The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature, researched, compiled, and edited by the lexicographers, etymologists, and philologists of Speculative Grammarian. The editors of Speculative Grammarian are delighted to present selections of the fifty-volume lexicographic opus, The Compleat Encyclopaedia of Compendious Historical Lexicons of Obscure and Archaic Vernacular and Nomenclature, online for the first time ever. The Compleat Encyclopaedia is a one-of-a-kind resource, compiled ... more ]

7. Vol CLXXXV, No 1 (29 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXV, Number 1 ... Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief; Keith Slater, Executive Editor; Mikael Thompson, Senior Editor; Jonathan Downie, Contributing Editor; Associate Editors: Pete Bleackley, Mark Mandel; Assistant Editors: Emily Davis, Vincent Fish, Deak Kirkham, Yuval Wigderson; Editorial Associates: Tel Monks, Mary Shapiro, Sheri Wells-Jensen; Joey Whitford, Comptroller General; That It Is What It Is Is Simply How It Is; July 2019 ... more ]

8. Domiphones and DominasalsKeith Slater & Trey Jones (29 visits)

Domiphones and Dominasals. Keith Slater & Trey Jones. Traditional Dominosa is a puzzle game that requires you to pair numbers corresponding to the faces of dominoes. You are presented with a rectangular grid of numbers. Each number must be paired with one of its vertical or horizontal neighbors. As in a set of dominoes, each numerical value pairs exactly once with each other numerical value. Naturally, SpecGram’s version of the puzzle involves some linguistics-related twists. Rather than boring and obvious numerals, we use symbols that linguists can enjoy and feel comfortable with. Furthermore, rather than making things predictably identical, we replace numerals with sets of analytical terms. Therefore, ... more ]

9. About Us (29 visits)

Speculative Grammarian and Our Story. The august journal Speculative Grammarian has a long, rich, and varied history, weaving an intricate and subtle tapestry from disparate strands of linguistics, philology, history, politics, science, technology, botany, pharmacokinetics, computer science, the mathematics of humor, basket weaving, archery, glass blowing, roller coaster design, and bowling, among numerous other, less obvious fields. SpecGram, as it is known to devotees and sworn enemies alike, has for centuries sought to bring together the greatest yet least understood minds of the time, embedding itself firmly in the cultural and psychological matrix of the global society while ... more ] Podcast!

10. /nuz baɪts/ (24 visits)

/ nuz baɪts /. Not a wire news service but still more reliable than most newspapers. New Conlang for Linguists Developed. Researchers at the university of Tumbleweed, North Dakota, have announced the completion of their project to create a conlang especially for linguists. This new language, Amaprof, has been especially designed so that the words and phrases used most by linguists take the least effort to say, while those that are said the least take the most effort. Some example Amaprof phrases are found below. “Hello.” Humphellogrf “Goodbye.” Gruntsguuby “I need coffee.” Adad “Don’t worry, I will refill the coffee jug so you can get a fresh ... more ]

11. LinguimericksBook ६४ (22 visits)

Linguimericks, Book ६४. The right name is so hard to determine— All the demonyms sprawling like vermin! Alemán? Teuton? Tedesco? Tyskar? Niemiec?Kafkaesque, oh! Pray tell, what is the Deutsch word for “German”? —Κόμμα Ο᾿Κῶλον John Ridley Stroop, Threw everyone for a loop, By writing in red, blue, and green, Color terms not matching what was seen —Clara Hu, A language discovered on Mars, Had sentences that were like ours! With SPEC, and with trace, And all kinds of case, Except for the ones that had *s —Sheri Wells-Jensen, Fleeing from dictats draconian, That made ... more ]

12. Arabic Numeral to Numeri++ Converter (21 visits)

Arabic Numeral to Numeri++ Converter. by Daniel Swanson & Trey Jones. Cognomen 2018 (SpecGram, CLXXX.3) in footnote ‡‡† lays out “a superior, novel solution” to extending Numeri++, his science-nerd–friendly upgrade to Roman numerals, to accommodate values beyond 5,000. Below we provide a handy converter for the mathematically and/or typographically challenged among you who would like to use this system — It appears that our buddy Prae-Prae put a little too much faith in the Unicode Consortium. Obviously any entity with “Consortium” right there in the name is not to be trusted fully. The biggest problem is that ... more ]

13. Letters to the Editor (CLXXXV.1) (19 visits)

Letters to the Editor. Dear Editors, The mental faculties of your regular contributors have always been the subject of a certain, shall we say, dubiosity, but heretofore your editorial board has been, frankly, above reproach. This changed, dramatically, in the; May 2019 issue, which contains quite the worst piece of editorial writing we have ever seen. Whoever “Weirahl Innitto Gaither” may be a pseudonym for, we cannot help noticing that his/her/its writing is somewhat less coherent than that of any other linguist we have observed, including You-Know-Who herself. The abject dismality of this “editorial” has unfortunately ruined your chances with us; we regret to inform you that we ... more ]

14. Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics (19 visits)

Choose Your Own Career in Linguistics. by Trey Jones. As a service to our young and impressionable readers who are considering pursuing a career in linguistics, Speculative Grammarian is pleased to provide the following Gedankenexperiment to help you understand the possibilities and consequences of doing so. For our old and bitter readers who are too far along in their careers to have any real hope of changing the eventual outcome, we provide the following as a cruel reminder of what might have been. Let the adventure begin ... more ] Book!

15. Linguistic Fortune CookiesAdvertisement (18 visits)

ADVERTISEMENT Linguistic Fortune Cookies. Restaurateursand their etymologically erroneous cousins, restauranteursknow that having a location near a linguistic departments can be... complicated. Linguists have an annoying habit of trying to pronounce menu items in languages they don’t know, for example. On the other tongue, they are surprisingly good tipperspossibly because linguistics attracts kind-hearted people, or perhaps because it attracts people who are bad at math and afraid of appearing socially awkward. Linguists also, if we’re being totally honest here, don’t really get a lot of validation from the general ... more ]

16. Festive ArborolatryThe Speculative Grammarian Editorial Board (17 visits)

Festive Arborolatry. The Speculative Grammarian Editorial Board. This journal has in the past dabbled half-heartedly, with interspersions of sudden inexplicable fits of enthusiasm as quickly forgotten1 as they were assumed, with the vexed2 issue of the religiosity of linguists and of linguistics. Generally, of course, this being all in all a markedly secular age, no one3 has really cared about this issue, but it has come up recently in discussions of which holidays should be paid recognized tolerated. We of course recognize all the major holidaysChristmas, New Years’ Day, Thanksgiving,4 Halloween, Hangeul Day, and April ... more ]

17. Cartoon Theories of LinguisticsPart жThe Trouble with NLPPhineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. (16 visits)

Cartoon Theories of Linguistics, Part ж—The Trouble with NLP. Phineas Q. Phlogiston, Ph.D. Unintentional University of Lghtnbrgstn. Please review previously discussed materials as needed. Now that that is taken care of, let us consider why Natural Language Processing (or, its alter-ego, Computational Linguistics) has not been the resounding success regularly predicted by the NLP faithful: We gave the monkeys the bananas because they were hungry/over-ripe. Time/Fruit flies like a(n) arrow/banana. pretty little girl’s school crying computational linguist Up next: Lexicostatistics vs Glottochronology. References, Baeza-Yates, Ricardo and Berthier Ribeiro-Neto (1999). Modern Information ... more ] Merch! Book!

18. The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics (16 visits)

The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics . For decades, Speculative Grammarian has been the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguisticsand now it is available in book formboth physical and electronic! We wish we were kidding, but no, seriously, we’ve published a large collection of SpecGram articles, along with just enough new material to force obsessive collectors and fans to buy it, regardless of the cost. From the Introduction: The past twenty-five years have witnessed many changes in linguistics, with major developments in linguistic theory, significant expansion in language description, and even ... more ]

19. Thirteen Untranslatable WordsMichael Covarrubias (15 visits)

Thirteen Untranslatable Words. by Michael Covarrubias. I’m a language lover. I have been since I was a kid. Just about eleven months after being born, I started saying words and I’ve been using them ever since. I probably use words every day and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. After a while, we language lovers have a hard time learning more about our native language. That’s why we branch out to memorize other languages. It can be hard though, because a lot of foreign languages have words in them that we just can’t translate into English. Maybe it’s because we don’t have the concept in English, and that makes it impossible to make up a label for the concept. Or, more interestingly, ... more ]

20. The Splendid WordsJames S. Pasto (14 visits)

The Splendid Words. James S. Pasto. I got them! It took me seven years, three jobs, two marriages, and season tickets to the Red Sox, but I got them. He knew it as soon as he looked up and saw me; knew who I was even though he had never seen me. “You found us,” he said. “How nice.” I noted the ‘us’ and I noted him. He was lean with jet-black hair, hawkish dark eyes, and perfectly straight teeth that smiled shyly. The smile irritated me. I pulled out the gun, an old .45-caliber Webley-Fosbery with a hammer. The smile faded. “Now, now, is there really need for that?” “I’ll decide,” I said. “I’m calling the shots.” The smile ... more ]

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Last updated Jul. 22, 2019.