An April Fool--A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CL, No 2 Contents The Oxford Comma: A Solution--Eliza Doolittle

Letters to the Editor

To the Arrogant Editors of SpecGram,

While I’m as happy as the next linguist about the 150th Volume Jubilee Celebration, don’t you think it a little over the top to claim that the event is “on par with the first manned trip to the moon”, or “the eradication of smallpox”?

I also thought you were a little harsh on my grand-dad in the preview copy of this issue’s letter from the editor, but he was a soft-hearted old fellow.

Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim XXVI


Dear Theo,

We actually said that our publication milestone was “on par with the first manned trip to the moon, the eradication of smallpox, or the naming of Jerrold N. Fungellio as Carpet World’s customer of the month in October 1986.” That’s an or, not an and.. it is up to you, the reader, to decide which event the 150th volume’s release is on par with.

Just another game we play to keep you the reader amused.

And yeah, your pappy was a softie, all right.



Dear Editors,

For the most part, I have enjoyed reading the back issues of SpecGram and the various related publications. I was somewhat amused to re-read Keith Slater’s Warning for Linguists in Babel, which, 15 years later, looks like so much screeching by Chicken Little.

No unassailable unified theory, or, as it has also come to be known, a Theory of Everything (TOE), has emerged in the intervening years, and neither linguists nor Linguistics as a whole have been driven to the Business Department.

Most who cry wolf eventually discover that they never had anything to worry about in the first place.

Stephen W. Hawking
Lucasian Professor of Mathematics
Cambridge University


Dear Steve,

Some might say that, as with the Y2K problem, being aware of the coming calamity sometimes forestalls it.

On the other hand, you are probably right, as you so often are. By the way, I’ll send those linguistics grad students right over to help with the editing of your latest manuscript!



Editor’s Note: “... all submissions become the property of SpecGram ...” and all that. Heh, heh. One of our reviewers had an interesting thing or two to say about the “Field Guide to Linguists”, and I’ve decided to publish that note, along with the author’s response. We also received a related letter from a reader.



I’m recommending that you publish this article, since there is nothing else currently out there for the layperson, but I really don’t see why Schadenpoodle doesn’t classify tagmemicus and corporius as being in functionalisticus; anyone observing their behavior in the field can see the similarities. No one can really blame the man for avoiding fieldwork after that incident with the sloths in Costa Rica, but he shouldn’t discount the observations of those of us who interact with linguistica daily. Videos of the creatures just do not allow adequate classification--one cannot, for example, tell from a video that the pelts of tagmemicus are virtually identical to those of functionalisticus, both in terms of the polyester content of the torsal coating and the oil content of the cranial fur.

Wattley Gnibbes
Assoc. Prof. of Cladistics
Moosejaw Polytechnic Institute



Don’t print this in the journal, but I’d just like you to know that Gnibbes is being ridiculous. Czechzindemeyl did a thorough comparative study of pelt structure, and found absolutely no statistically significant differences among linguistica species, except among the marxii variant of criticalicus, which typically has much more expensive materials in its pelt, which is invariably basic black. And I can’t believe he brought up the sloths; what an unfair attack. You know he brought a stuffed one to the SSL meeting last spring just to get a rise out of me; you’d think someone his age would be less childish.

Best Regards--
Athanasious Schadenpoodle


Dear Editor,

I thought you might like to know that I observed a live specimen of stratificarus in Chicago last summer; it was building one of those big nests they make. I tried to shoot it so I could prove it was there, but it got away. And before you go saying I shouldn’t have shot at it, you should know I’m a Republican.

Twankus Dormth


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.

An April Fool--A Letter from the Managing Editor
The Oxford Comma: A Solution--Eliza Doolittle
SpecGram Vol CL, No 2 Contents