Most Popular Pages—Today

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1. Some Letters from Some Editors (19 visits)

Some Letters from Some Editors. Senior (Editor) Moments, with Senior Editor Keith Slater. Judging by the correspondence which is regularly and vociferously directed at our editorial staff, there is an unfortunate misperception current among SpecGram readers, to wit: that we spend the better part of our days drinking mildly stimulating beverages and chortling over uproarious upcoming issues. In a normal month, I might have no opportunity to quash such salacious rumors, but recent events have opened the door for me to write in this space, and I intend to do just thatthe quashing, as well as the writing. In fact, the SpecGram virtual office is a virtual beehive of virtual activity, hardly any of it ... more ]

2. The Chadic Substratum in EnglishNemo Thanneven (15 visits)

The Chadic Substratum in English. Nemo Thanneven, Chief Researcher, Munich University Deep Diachronic Linguistics Experiment. The languages of the British Isles are typologically unusual members of the Indo-European family. Previous research has investigated the possibility of Semitic influences on Insular Celtic. However, it is not widely realised that English, too, has an Afro-Asiatic substratum, in this case derived from the Chadic branch. As I demonstrate below, several key features of English that would not be expected for a Germanic language with Romance influences can be readily explained by this hypothesis. 1. Pronouns inflected for TAM. English has lost most of the verbal marking that would be ... more ]

3. BabelThe Priority of Written LanguageAndreas Paplopogous (8 visits)

The Priority of Written Language. One of the principle tenets of modern American linguistics is the priority of spoken as opposed to written language. This priority is understood both as importance as an object of study and as temporal precedence. Temporal precedence is further taken to include both ontogenetic and historical precedence; that is, as students in introductory linguistics classes are repeatedly told, children learn to understand speech and to speak themselves before they learn to read and to write, while historically (more properly prehistorically), the story goes, humanity had already been speaking for tens of thousands of years by the time writing was invented. It is this last conclusion, that speech ... more ]

4. The Splendid WordsJames S. Pasto (6 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 ]

5. Vol CLXXXIII, No τ (5 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXIII, Number τ ... Speculative Grammarian, in association with Psammeticus Press, is proud to present a special supplemental monograph: The Splendid Words, by James S. Pasto, Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief Keith Slater, Executive Editor James Pasto, Monograph Editor, The Splendid Words Mid-January 2019 ... more ]

6. Podcast—Language Made Difficult, Vol. XLIII (5 visits)

Language Made Difficult, Vol. XLIII — The SpecGram LingNerds are joined by returning guests Tim Pulju and Jason Wells-Jensen. After some Lies, Damned Lies, and Linguistics, the LingNerds discuss how to fake a language, and then contemplate ways in which English spelling, morphology, etc. could be revamped. ... listen ]

7. Podcast—Language Made Difficult, Vol. L (4 visits)

Language Made Difficult, Vol. L — The SpecGram LingNerds are on their own this time. After some Lies, Damned Lies, and Linguistics, the LingNerds discuss the dangers of mispronouncing the names of Canadian provinces, and then advise students as to what they should *not* do. They also fail to celebrate the 50th episode. Many outtakes are provided. ... listen ]

8. Podcast—Language Made Difficult, Vol. XLII (3 visits)

Language Made Difficult, Vol. XLII — The SpecGram LingNerds are joined by returning guest Hedvig Skirgård. After some Lies, Damned Lies, and Linguistics, the LingNerds see what comes out of their mouths after reading an article claiming awareness comes after speaking, and then they discuss various linguistical ideas—real and imagined—that are ready for retirement. ... listen ]

9. Special Supplemental Letter from the Editor (3 visits)

Special Supplemental Letter from the Editor. One of the questions that linguistics has failed for the most part to answer is so simple a child could come up with it: where do words come from? Occasional specific neologisms aside, we generally don’t know. Sure, etymologists have traced no few back through the generations, but their ultimate origins escape our collective graspfor the signal is faint, distorted, or entirely lostthough even their mere echos stir something in the lexicographic cockles of our hearts. Ours is an incredible shrinking world made small and intimate by words whichlike jokes and legendsspring to life seemingly without source, yet ... more ]

10. Vol CLXXXIII, No 3 (3 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXIII, Number 3 ... 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, Virginia Bouchard Emily Davis Vincent Fish Deak Kirkham Yuval Wigderson, Editorial Associates, Samuel Andersson Florian Breit Bethany Carlson Tel Monks James Pasto Mary Shapiro, Joey Whitford, Comptroller General In Search of the Mother of All Dad Jokes January 2019 ... more ]

11. International Name Testing ServiceAdvertisement (3 visits)

ADVERTISEMENT International Name Testing Service. How do you think Mr Fookeng Ho felt when he first came to the US and discovered what his name sounds like to Americans? How about Ms Fanny Ticklerwho always thought her name sounded rather cutewhen she arrived in London and discovered that saying her own name aloud around children might get her arrested? Consider poor Richard Head, who, as a child, could never get the other kids to call him Rickythey always called him Dick, and made him cry. Do you want experiences like these to scar your children? Of course not: no one does. But are you fluent in English, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, German, Mon ... more ]

12. Phonetic Evaporation and PrecipitationThe greatest linguistic discovery of the new centuryTrey Jones (3 visits)

Phonetic Evaporation and Precipitation, The greatest linguistic discovery of the new century. Trey Jones, l’École de SpecGram, Washington D.C.. As is well known in physics circles, mass, energy, momentum, charge, quantum color, quantum flavor, baryon number, lepton number, parity, and probability density are all conserved, and cannot be created or destroyed in normal (non-relativistic, non-nuclear, non–science-fiction) circumstances, despite any number of physical transformations a system may undergo. Why shouldn’t linguistics have its own conservation laws? An obvious candidate is phonological conservationunderlying forms remain constant throughout the ... more ]

13. Merchandise (3 visits)

Speculative Grammarian Merchandise. Introduction. In order to lend a hand to our good friends and steadfast supporters over at the Linguist List during their 2006 fund drive, we prepared a small selection of limited edition SpecGram merchandise, including T-shirts, stickers and magnets. Originally these items were only available as prizes awarded as part of the Linguist List fund drive. In 2012, several of the SpecGram editors suffered from a rare form of collective frontal lobe damage, which made it seem like a good idea to put together a SpecGram book. The result in 2013 was The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics. In 2014, Editor Mikael Thompson entered a deep fugue ... more ]

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Last updated Jan. 16, 2019.