4G / fourgy

Heard a few minutes ago in a cellphone ad on television — unfortunately, I didn’t catch which phone was being advertised — references to 4G phones, with 4G pronounced

(1) /ˈfɔrʤi/

rather than

(2) /ˌfɔrʤˈi/

So, like fourgy, which I recognize as a portmanteau of four and orgy.

Fourgy comes from the world of sexual relationships; I know it from gay porn, where it’s a linguistically playful alternative to four-way or foursome. One example of each:

Alex Waters in a fourgy at Next Door Twinks (link)

Set at an outdoor camp site, the super sexy Lynch twins do the nasty in a four-way with hotties Claudo Antonelli and Sergio Soldi in this man-meets-wild encounter. (link)

Hunky gay outdoor foursome gay porn (link)

(Some three-ways here; and a fourgy — two couples — plus an extra man standing by here.)

Then there’s the phonology. 4G mostly has the accent pattern WS (get into 4G, a 4G account), but before a word with initial accent (like phone) the accent usually shifts forward, to maintain alternating accent: 4G phone (SW S). This shift from WS to SW is known in the English phonology trade as “stress retraction” (compare sixteen in I am sixteen WS vs. sixteen tons SW), and there’s a big literature on it.

Here, stress retraction takes us from the cellphone world into the group sex world: fun with fourgy phones.


5 Responses to “4G / fourgy”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Looks like what I was remembering was T-Mobile’s “Walking in a 4G wonderland”, here, among other places.

  2. gacorley Says:

    Interesting, I think I saw that commercial, but never noticed it. I remember that my freshman year at WVU, there was a take-out/delivery place that I thought was called “Deepy Dough” until I saw the sign “DP Dough”, precisely because everyone in Morgantown pronounces the DP in the name with initial stress, as if it were one word, rather than separating the letter names prosodically.

    Also, RFL (Resident Faculty Leader) was pronounced [ɻɪfl̩]

  3. inyazserg Says:

    The same idea with orgy had come to me before reading the post.

    Please, could you explain those WS and SW? What do they mean?

  4. Gordon P. Hemsley Says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who picked up on this. What could T-Mobile’s ad agency have been thinking?

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