All Hail Metalleus!—A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CLIII, No 4 Contents The Derivation Of Moses From Middletown—Metalleus

Letters to the Editor

Dear Eds,

I was elated to see the excerpt from the upcoming memoir of Eglantine Lady Fantod.

I doubt the full memoir will include my own unforgettable encounter with her at the 1923 LSA meeting. I was only a grad student, but, after a brief introduction, she invited me to sit and drink with a group of her friends. After several glasses of quite fine wine, Eglantine insisted we all try to find meaningful anagrams of each others’ names.

I’d only had one glass of wineit was all I could afford at the time, and on top of that I was terrified of losing control or making a fool of myself in such august companybut I was unable to come up with anything interesting. Most of the rest of them, though they seemed three sheets to the wind, were more than up to the task.

For Eglantine Lady Fantod herself several people came up with anagrams that seemed mysteriously appropriate and appropriately mysterious:

Fondly Inelegant Data
Annotated Fanged Lily
Lofty Entangled Naiad

After much laughter and witty repartee, my own silence became the topic of conversation. I stammered some nonsensical excuse and stared at my shoes. The others asked my name again, so that they might anagram it. Within seconds, Eglantine found one: “pliant boy”. I blushed, and she took me by the hand and led me from the group. Cat-calls, hoots, and unprintable suggestions accompanied our departure.

What happened next should never be said aloud in my lifetime (I am a happily married man!), though it is a memory I will treasure always. I doubt I was nearly as special to Eglantine as she was to mebut I will never forget her, or that evening, as long as I live.

Dr. Tony Pilab, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Classics
Mynah Dolorn University
Snow Tome, MN


Dear Dr. Pilab,

Thanks for sharing. [Blush!]



Dear Editors,

I’m a faithful reader, and I’ve noticed over the years that you have never given your readers the benefit of your wisdom on political questions. During major elections in Japan, the UK, and the US, you consistently fail to give us guidance on how we should vote.

The next US election campaign is already beginning to heat up. Can you please help your American readers with some advice as to which candidate(s) we as linguists should support?

Jimmy Carter


Dear Mr. Carter,

Thank you for your encouragement. In fact, our editorial board has had a number of heated meetings in recent months, discussing this very topic. And we are ready now to make our endorsement for the 2008 US Presidential election!

In 2008, Speculative Grammarian endorses Yasuo Fukuda for the US Presidency.

We firmly believe that Mr. Fukuda is the best individual to advance the interests of linguists in the US and abroad.


Dear Dr. van der Meer,

I read your recent predictions with a mix of wonder and fear. I look forward to seeing such a future unfold. But one issue nags at me: Whatever will happen to Labrador, Newfoundland, and the various maritime provincettes? No more Newfie jokes? What a bleak future!

Yours in Mystery,
Edwina Mæurbtolth Chandlergren
Penticton, Canada


Dear Edwina,

The visions of the future one is provided by the spirits are not always clear. You cannot ask, you can only receive.

Mysteriously Yours,
Jonathan van der Meer
Linguistic Psychic


To the Eds.:

Due to an inexplicable mail delay to Akrotiri, I’ve only just recently received the last two year’s worth of Speculative Grammarian. These many issues arrived just in time; I was about to cancel my subscription! O me of little faith!

The real reason I’m writing, though, is to point out something that possibly only became apparent to me because I devoured all of the back issues at once. In Claude Searsplainpockets’ article, “Eating the Wind,” the author claims uniqueness of iconic pulmonicity for Xoŋry. Yet Metalleus claims, in “Moundsbar Consonantism” that Moundsbar’s phonemic inhalation (/5/) does not exist elsewhere.

Regardless of the controversiality of the claims, if both should prove true, who has priority?

Dr. Myrle Fultzhard-Wekrúswieŋeilt
Prophesor of Fonolgy and Orðografy
Yùnivirsitie d’Akrotiri and Dhekelia


Dear Dr. Fultzhard-Wekrúswieŋeilt

We regret, but cannot be responsible for, postal delays. We recommend bribing your postmaster. We do that, and our lingerie catalogs are never late.

As to your more contentful concern, the fact of the matter is that no one scholar can keep up with every advance and development in their field. Most linguists cannot even keep up with all that happens in the pages of the leader among leading linguistics journals. So, such errors and conflicting claims of priority are to be expected.

However, this instance is actually not such a case. We are republishing the works of Metalleus. Since his ground-breaking article did not originally appear in SpecGram, Claude was not familiar with it (he is nothing if not loyal to a fault). Metalleus’ article first appeared before Claude’s, and so could not reference Claude’s work. Metalleus was correct that phonemic inhalation was unknown at the time of his original publication, and Claude is correct that iconic pulmonicity is unique among known languages.

Such are the complexities of academic publishing in linguistics.



[Dr. Searsplainpockets asked to include the following response to our response.—Eds.]

Exactly! Though I’m not sure what Metalleus is going on about contrasting with Aunt Minnie. The phonotactics of Xoŋry aren’t that liberal!


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.

All Hail Metalleus!—A Letter from the Managing Editor
The Derivation Of Moses From Middletown—Metalleus
SpecGram Vol CLIII, No 4 Contents