SpecGram Vol CXLVII, No 2 Contents The Boustrophedon-Plummerfeld Hypothesis--Jay Trones

Diary of a Madman

A Letter from the Managing Editior

No, that was not a picture of me on the cover of the last issue. It was Holger Pedersen. Evidently we have a lot of new subscribers who are not aware of our longstanding policy of putting a picture of a different famous speculative grammarian on each edition of the journal. To all such new subscribers, welcome, and see if you recognize the guy on the front this time.

To further welcome our new subscribers, let me tell you a little about our journal. Speculative Grammarian is the longest established linguistic journal currently in existence. It was founded by Petrus Hispanus, one of the original speculative grammarians, in 1276, shortly after he became Pope John XXI. Unfortunately, he was killed the following year when a ceiling collapsed on him, and his successor as pope ceased publication of what he termed "a colossal waste of time and money".

After a hiatus of over fifty years, Thomas of Erfurt took over the duties of editor and publisher, but due to a lack of submissions he was only able to publish an issue approximately once every five years. Part of the reason for this lack of submissions was the fact that he chose to publish in Erfurt, his home town, rather than in Avignon, where the pope now resided. Thomas' decision was probably based on his politically motivated dislike of the French, but whatever the cause, it had the unfortunate effect of removing the journal to what was then an intellectual backwater. Nevertheless, publication continued even after Thomas' death, and its location turned out to be a blessing during the Great Schism, when SpecGram was able to avoid siding with either the Roman or the Avignon pope.

In the 1500's, the Reformation polarized Germany. SpecGram, with its ecclesiastical background and its history of attention to the Latin language, was anathema to the Lutherans who took over Erfurt. The journal was closed by the public censor in 1537.

Again, there was a hiatus of publication. Then, in 1562, in the midst of the Counter Reformation, the Pope reestablished SpecGram and entrusted its editorship to the Society of Jesus. For about a century, it was published in Rome, but shortly after the appearance of the Port Royal Grammar, the Jesuits decided to transfer the journal's headquarters to Paris to increase its usefulness in their war on Jansenism. Although Jansenism was largely defeated, backlash against the Jesuits resulting from their stridency led to their expulsion from France in 1764 and the order's dissolution in 1773. SpecGram was once again silenced.

(To be continued next issue. Major events covered will include revolution, reconstitution, emigration, secularization, civil war, and natural disaster.)

The Boustrophedon-Plummerfeld Hypothesis--Jay Trones
SpecGram Vol CXLVII, No 2 Contents