Archive for the ‘Phonology’ Category

In brief: phonological words

November 19, 2015

Heard — or, rather, misheard —  in a tv commercial for Oral-B electric toothbrushes (which can be viewed here):

(1) I’m never going back to Emanuel Brush.

when what the actor was saying was:

(2) I’m never going back to a manual brush.

Now, since I have [ǝ] (rather than [ɪ]) in the first syllable of the name Emanuel and the indefinite article a [ǝ] usually forms a phonological word with the word that follows it, (1) and (2) are in fact normally homophonous for me.

Yes, I don’t know anyone named Emanuel Brush, so I don’t know how the name came to me, in a toothbrush ad, no less.

Briefly noted: adopped

August 6, 2015

Heard in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger:

He’s [ǝdápɪd]. ‘He’s adopted’

Several writers on the net have spelled the form adopped:

My Adopped Cousin Keeps Trying To Have Sex With Me (link)

adopped sister and brother (link)

Are you adopped, are you happy ? (link)

A reanalysis of the phonology of the lexical item, familiar from other cases in the literature.



July 13, 2015

New at Applebee’s Grill & Bar:

Cedar-seasoned chicken, cheddar, maple mustard, bacon, grilled Piadini wrap. $10.49


This is one of Appelebee’s new “handheld” sandwiches, a wrap-and-roll inumber that should (depending on the diameter of the roll) be reasonably manageable with one hand.

Three things here: the meter of the sandwich name; the notion of a handheld sandwich; and the word piadini.


A phonologist’s cartoon

May 30, 2015

A cartoon for phonologists, by a phonologist, Stephanie Shih (posted here with permission):

A pun on the organic of organic farming and the organic of the technical term homorganic in phonology.


Phonological analogy

December 8, 2014

Today’s One Big Happy has Ruthie coping with the word landlubber:

Ruthie takes her grandfather to be saying that he’s a land lover; landlubber is a relatively rare word, certainly rare in the experience of most children.

So then she has to deal with her grandfather’s apparent /b/ in lubber for /v/ in lover — and by analogy she concludes that his version of leave /liv/ would be leabe /lib/.



October 24, 2014

Yesterday’s One Big Happy, in which Ruthie goes (as usual) with the familiar over the novel:


Stovepipe hat (an unfamiliar expression for Ruthie) is transformed in Ruthie’s ears into Stove Top Stuffing, a familiar expression in her world (context is crucial!), even though the two are pretty distant phonologically (very imperfect as a pun).


Female archetypes in the movies

October 2, 2014

The first, summary, paragraph of the abstract for a Qualifying Paper in the Stanford Ph.D. program — by Sunwoo Jeong — on “Iconicity in Suprasegmental Variables:
The Case of Archetypal Hollywood Characters of the 1940s-50s”:

Films are potent vehicles that not only reflect common linguistic practices, but also create new social meanings for linguistic variables and actively shape dominant language ideologies of the era. This was especially the case for films made during the Golden Age of Hollywood in which several distinctive film genres, featuring highly stylized female characters, emerged as important cultural phenomena: femme fatales in film noir, independent brunettes in screwball comedies, and dumb blondes in musical comedies. This paper argues that systematic variation in suprasegmental linguistic cues like pitch, prosody, and voice quality was employed by the actresses to index the three prominent archetypes mentioned above, and more importantly, that the realizations of these variables were not arbitrary in that they created an iconic tie with the archetype that they indexed. Combined with other cinematic devices that fortified this iconic relation, the underlying ideologies behind these linguistic variables were more easily naturalized, resulting in wider dissemination.

(I’m way behind in posting on Neat Stuff by Stanford Students, but this one came in this morning and I thought I’d seize it before it fell into the To Do pit.)


Ling wars in Dingburg

September 30, 2014

Today’s Zippy has Dingburgers, drawn into camps on issues of linguistic variation and usage, slinging lots of technical terminology:

Most of these features — the glottal stop, NG coalescence, like, awesome, uptalk, whatever, vocal fry (creak, creaky voice) — have been discussed on Language Log or here, because they are associated with a collection of geographic or social dialect characteristics (region, age, sex, class, etc.) or particular styles and registers; they are socioculturally significant, usually in quite complex ways. The remaining three — strident voice, slack voice, and falsetto — are phonation types that have, I think, escaped attention on these blogs


Every year, the same for Orange

September 15, 2014

That’s the title of this Awkward Yeti comic from 12/11/13:

CAT with HAT, WALL with BALL, and LOG with DOG, while ORANGE stands alone. It’s the celebrated “nothing rhymes with ORANGE” trope.


mix media

September 12, 2014

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

Instant food: just mix. And mix-n-match. But the linguistic point is mix media (for the expected mixed media) — an instance of lexicalized t/d deletion.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 855 other followers