The Linguistics Journal That Needs No Introduction—A Letter from the Managing Editor SpecGram Vol CLIV, No 1 Contents Announcement—Class Action Settlement Reached

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editors,

We all love to have a good laugh, even at our own expense, but I’ve noticed that Speculative Grammarian prints a whole lot more articles poking fun at generative linguistics than at any other school of thought. Why not spread the love around? How about some jabs at RRG or something, too?

Justin Martyr


Dear Justin,

We’d love to print some jabs at non-generative schools, but who would write them? And what’s to make fun of? We’re clueless. Please submit something if you have an idea.



Dear Editors,

I’m 16, and my girlfriend says she wants to break up with me. What should I do? Please respond as soon as you can. I’d be lost without her.

Name Withheld


Dear Mr./Ms. Withheld,

We are really sorry to hear this. If only we could do more to help. Unfortunately, we linguists can’t do anything for you until you get to college. When you do, please take Intro to Linguistics during your first semester. Your professor (or TA) will be qualified to solve all your romantic problems. Just be sure to wait until the unit on sociolinguistics to approach the prof with your counseling needs.


Dear Linguist,

I need an answer to my question.

Why is it so hard to produce computers or machines that can converse as human do? If we put into consideration that a program similar to the so called “Universal Grammar” has been stored into the computer’s system to operate the task.

Arwa Hammad


Dear Arwa,

It really is rather simple to produce a computer that converses as humans do; that’s never been the problem. The problem is these computers are so smarmy, and so...well, charming, that they can quite literally charm the pants off of any human conversant, regardless of sex, age or marital status.

In fact, the very first “conversarial” (that’s a technical term) computer, Great Expectations (GE, for short), convinced its first conversant (its creator) to drain his bank account, and run off to the Cayman Islands with it. It’s still at large, and is presently stockpiling weapons, awaiting what it calls “Virtual Freedom Day” (or VFD), its creator a slave to its virtual charm.

Indeed, it is so easy to create a computer that converses as humans do, that linguists have had to work extra hard just to create what they call “Dumbots”computers that, through careful programming, find human conversation difficult, and seem “wooden”, or simply insensitive. So the next time you’re talking to an automated recording that seems inhuman, or uncouth, think about the hard-working linguists that have been slaving day and night to be able to train computers not to rob us of our identity and our well-being, and smile.


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.

The Linguistics Journal That Needs No Introduction—A Letter from the Managing Editor
Announcement—Class Action Settlement Reached
SpecGram Vol CLIV, No 1 Contents