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  • Two of our alums tied the knot in December:

    Devyani Sharma and Chris Tyson (who she met at Stanford -- he got his PhD in Economics the same year), in Delhi, India, Dec 29, 2007. If you wish to send her congrats, she's in the Linguistics Dept at Queen Mary, Univ. of London (where she's just begun a major research project with Ben Rampton). Her email address is:

    And if you click HERE, you'll see photos from the wedding of Julie Sweetland and Dwayne Williams (PhD in History; and he works in the DC public schools, as Julie did/does), in a wooded area on Stanford's campus near to the cactus garden, Dec 24, 2007. John Rickford was the officiant for this wedding, under a California law that allows anyone to serve as Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a day--a privilege and joy. If you want to write Julie, you can reach her at the Center for Inspired Teaching in Washington, DC:

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    Look Who's Talking

  • Speaking of Julie, she presented a talk at Georgetown University's Panel on Linguistics in Education on February 15, titled: Sociolinguists as Social Entrepeneurs: Making a Way Out of No Way in Public Schools. She also recently testified for the District of Columbia State Board of Education on the issue of educator quality. We're sure that involved a lot of talking...
  • Lots of Stanford folks at the upcoming CUNY Sentence Processing Conference, hosted by UNC this year. More on that in subsequent issues...

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    Linguistic Levity

  • Jacke Mason on Bilingualism

    There may be those among you who support including Spanish in our national language. I for one am 110% against this! We must preserve the exclusivity and above all, the purity of the English language.

    To all the shlemiels, shlemazels, nebbishes, nudniks, klutzes, putzes, zhlubs, shmoes, shmucks, nogoodniks, and momzers that are out there pushing Spanish, I just want to say that I, for one, believe that English and only English deserves linguistic prominence in our American culture.

    To tell the truth, it makes me so farklempt, I'm fit to plotz. This whole Spanish schmeer gets me broyges, specially when I hear these erstwhile mavens and luftmenschen kvetching about needing to learn Spanish. What chutzpah!

    These shmegeges can tout their shlock about the cultural and linguistic diversity of our country, but I, for one, am not buying their shtick. It's all so much dreck, as far as I'm concerned. I exhort you all to be menshen about this and stand up to their fardrayte arguments and meshugganah, farshtunkene assertions. It wouldn't be kosher to do anything else.

    Remember, when all is said and done, we have English and they've got bubkes! The whole myseh is a pain in my tuchas!
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  • Daffy Definitions!

    BUSTARD -- n., A very rude Metrobus driver. (Christopher Hapner, Savannah )

    DEBENTURES -- n., false teeth bought on credit. (John Allen , Charlottesville )

    NINCOMPOOP -- n., the military command responsible for battlefield sanitation. (Bill Strider, Gaithersburg)

    INEFFABLE -- adj., describes someone you absolutely cannot swear in front of, such as the Queen Mum, or Martha Stewart . (Jessica Henig, Northampton , Mass.)

    PONTIFICATE -- n., a document given to each graduating pope. (Brian C. Broadus, Charlottesville)

    DISCUSSION -- n., a Frisbee -related head injury.(Sandra Hull, Arlington)

    INTERNET -- n., the web of interns in which Ken Starr has tried to snare Bill Clinton . (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

    POLARIZE -- n., a very cold look. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

    BRISKET -- n., a straw container for a mohel's instruments. (T.J. Murphy, Arlington)

    MAUSOLEUM -- n., floor covering used in crypts. (Barbara Harrison, Hagerstown )

    CURSIVE -- adj., sort of cursing, i.e., "Oh, fiddlesticks," or "H-E-double toothpicks." (Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)

    BUTTRESS -- n., a long strand of derriere hair. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington;Stephen Dudzik , Silver Spring)

    LOBSTER -- n., a slick-talking, oily, obnoxious person who represents special interest groups on Capitol Hill . (Elizabeth Monte, Fairfax)

    FOUNDLING -- n., an apprehended child molester. (E.J. Lloyd, Fairfax Station)

    SHADOW -- n., a fish whose husband has died. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

    MACADAM -- n., the first man on Earth, according to the Celtic bible. (Barry Blyveis, Columbia )

    MARIONETTES -- n., residents of Washington who have been jerked around by the mayor. (Gary L. Kunz, Gaithersburg)

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    15 February 2008
    Vol. 4, Issue 16

    Sesquipedalian Staff

    Editor in Chief:
    Ivan A. Sag

    Beth Levin, John Rickford

    Humor Consultants:
    Susan D. Fischer, Tom Wasow, Arnold Smith

    Assistant Editor:
    Richard Futrell

    Melanie Levin Kyle Wohlmut

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