What does a Labio-nasal sound like? What is the laziest language on earth? How can a knowledge of linguistics help make macaroni cheese? What is the tiny phoneme hypothesis? Where can you find a book that synergises all the loose ends of linguistics into a unified, transparent theory? I don't know. In the meanwhile, try reading the Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics.
Many of you will know and fear the Speculative Grammarian journal, the ultimate Shibboleth in the field of languaging (and if you know what a Shibboleth is, and are proud of it, then this might be for you). Now the best cuttings have been complied into a book which takes you on a quiestionable journey right accross the field from phonetics to sociolinguistics in a quest to make linguistics look as bonkers as a real science like quantum physics.
You'll learn about the linguistic uncertainty principle (it's impossible to simultaneously know both the synchronic state of a language and the direction of its drift). You'll revel in the poetry of Yune O. Hūū, II. You'll understand exactly which part of 'no' you don't understand. You'll wonder about granular phonology. In fact, you'll wonder about a lot of things, like how this got published. It even includes the finding that started the whole spurious correlation saga, the role of the Acacia tree in language evolution.
Complete with a choose-your-own-career-in-linguistics adventure game (German-sign-language-shaped dice not included), this is the ultimate gift for the budding language student, the jaded academic or the holistic forensic linguist. And just in time for Christmas.
“Ever wonder why Vikings torched scriptoria? This kind of thing.”
—E. V. Gordon
“Funnier than any other book I’ve read in the entire 20th Century!”
“Contains more than 100 basic words.”
“Same reference as linguistics; different sense.”
“Most of the changes I would make are, of course, to remove commas.”
—An Anonymous Proofreader
“This book is so chock full of borrowings and analogy that it is utterly unsuited to any sort of scholarly discourse.”
“Two uvulas down, way down!”
—Sapir and Bloomfield, At the Bookstore