1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

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1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:23 am UTC

Image

Alt-Text: These pranks happen all the time. English doesn't allow one-syllable words to end in a lax vowel, so writers on The Simpsons decided to mess with future linguists by introducing the word "meh."

Efentually, avter seferal positifely defious livespans..?

(This one's earlier than other recent examples I'fe noticed...)

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:17 am UTC

Or the opposite trick, in which singer Zhang Fei sings "Can't Take My Eyes Over You".

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:29 am UTC

But as the message gets passed from person to person, it's going to degrade from pronouncing v's as f's, to b's as f's, then z's as l's, and eventually even 3's as 10's. Linguistic CARNAGE.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:01 am UTC

rhomboidal wrote: z's as l's,


And that's a capital i, not a lowercase L, so you know how serious this gets.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Eternal Density » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:27 am UTC

I was gonna link to the Wikipedia article about 'meh' to help clarify the details of its origin... and then I remembered that it's Wikipedia :P
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Ae7flux » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:42 am UTC

And of course this is already on Language Log. Sometimes the world just doesn't fail to disappoint.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:35 am UTC

Ae7flux wrote:And of course this is already on Language Log. Sometimes the world just doesn't fail to disappoint.



Filed under "We may be seriously overthinking this" .
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Doodle77 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:10 pm UTC

Isn't that just having a German accent?

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby astrus » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:31 pm UTC

Doodle77 wrote:Isn't that just having a German accent?

I don't think so but admittedly my sample size is rather lmited.
I speak English with a German accent and while I may do a lot of terrible things to the English language (though at this point I figure it's pretty used to being butchered in various ways) pronouncing v's in the middle of a word as f's isn't one of them.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby tups » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:52 pm UTC

pronouncing v's in the middle of words as f would make it a Dutch accent, not a German one :)

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby WastedCharlie » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:09 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:English doesn't allow one-syllable words to end in a lax vowel,

Then you haven't heard a Geordie (and possibly other dialects) ask the one syllable question "Eh?"

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Apeiron » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:06 pm UTC

F's and V's what? Or do you mean "F is" or "F has"?

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby jc » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:23 pm UTC

Doodle77 wrote:Isn't that just having a German accent?


I think you mean Welsh, not German. After all, in Welsh spelling, a single 'f' is normally pronounced like the English 'v', and to get the usual /f/ pronunciation, you need to spell it 'ff'.

But I don't think the few native Welsh speakers I've known have ever made this mistake in English, probably because they all started learning English at an early age for obvious reasons.

Are there other languages where the letter 'f' usually represents a voice phoneme? (I wonder where the Welsh could have picked up this interesting variant?)

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby chrisjwmartin » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:42 pm UTC

"meh", like "bah" and "pah" and "eh" and "uh", is an interjection, not a word. That's why the normal rule doesn't apply to it.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby NotAllThere » Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:33 pm UTC

Alt-Text: These pranks happen all the time. English doesn't allow one-syllable words to end in a lax vowel.

Yeah, that's...er... wrong.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby goofy » Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:58 pm UTC

/v/ to /f/... Should this not be intervocalic lenition?

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby goofy » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:08 pm UTC

No, I'm wrong.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Ayelis » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:20 pm UTC

Doodle77 wrote:Isn't that just having a German accent?


I think you'll find it's having a Hollywood German accent - which is about as accurate as Dick Van Dyke's Cockney...

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby moody7277 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:43 pm UTC

tups wrote:pronouncing v's in the middle of words as f would make it a Dutch accent, not a German one :)


That goes along with the Netherlands' global takeover.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby ggh » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:51 pm UTC

rhomboidal wrote:But as the message gets passed from person to person, it's going to degrade from pronouncing v's as f's, to b's as f's, then z's as l's, and eventually even 3's as 10's. Linguistic CARNAGE.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby ThemePark » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:23 am UTC

moody7277 wrote:
tups wrote:pronouncing v's in the middle of words as f would make it a Dutch accent, not a German one :)


That goes along with the Netherlands' global takeover.

I for one welcome our new alien Dutch overlords.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby LockeZ » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:10 am UTC

chrisjwmartin wrote:"meh", like "bah" and "pah" and "eh" and "uh", is an interjection, not a word. That's why the normal rule doesn't apply to it.

Yeah, duh, bruh.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:31 am UTC

LockeZ wrote:
chrisjwmartin wrote:"meh", like "bah" and "pah" and "eh" and "uh", is an interjection, not a word. That's why the normal rule doesn't apply to it.

Yeah, duh, bruh.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby chalkie » Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:11 am UTC

ThemePark wrote:I for one welcome our new alien Dutch overlords.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. All the Dutch folk I've met have been pretty chill.I think their take-over would be simply by getting voted in. As each country sees how life as part of Global Netherlands would allow us all to just relax, the voting public will think "enough of your small-minded 'We'll make <insert-local-area-here> great again', instead let's just make *everywhere* excellent". Then we won't need borders, 'cos why bother leaving? Just have a smoke & a pancake.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:21 am UTC

chalkie wrote:
ThemePark wrote:I for one welcome our new alien Dutch overlords.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. All the Dutch folk I've met have been pretty chill.I think their take-over would be simply by getting voted in. As each country sees how life as part of Global Netherlands would allow us all to just relax, the voting public will think "enough of your small-minded 'We'll make <insert-local-area-here> great again', instead let's just make *everywhere* excellent". Then we won't need borders, 'cos why bother leaving? Just have a smoke & a pancake.

There may be a perception filter, not all Dutch are relaxed. In comparison: all Americans I've met are relaxed folk that don't want their country to invade other countries for oil.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:41 am UTC

Foreigners that come to meet you are likely to be outgoing (in the appropriate manner for their visit, in peace or war) and not insular. Foreigners that you meet on their home turf on their own terms are likely also open to others, even if they're not the kind of person can travel widely themselves.

My best stays in London, as an 'internal tourist' have been staying at a place used by backpackers freshly in from/imminently out of Heathrow. Often I was the only Brit there, amongst a multicultural smattering of adventurous people at one end or another of a UK trip, and all the happy diversity of experiences therein.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby operagost » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:37 pm UTC

I assume something like this happened to our vowels in the 15th century.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby gormster » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:13 am UTC

I was certain that "meh" predated the Simpsons, and it does, but not by much. No-one really seems to be sure where the word came from.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:25 am UTC

gormster wrote:I was certain that "meh" predated the Simpsons, and it does, but not by much. No-one really seems to be sure where the word came from.
Probably because they start to consider finding out, exactly, but then always end up thinking "meh"...

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby dms33 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:23 am UTC

operagost wrote:I assume something like this happened to our vowels in the 15th century.


So the great vowel shift was just a very successful linguistic prank? That's probably the most sensible reason I've heard!

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Baccar Wozat » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:19 am UTC

Wikipedia indicates Meh's first popular appearance was in 1992. I seem to recall in the book Ender's Game (1985) there was an expression "Neh" which the students of Battle School used to bandy about, the reply to which was "Eh" which we all know is of Canadian origin.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Sar » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:04 am UTC

The Great Fowl Shift

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby ps.02 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:22 am UTC

gormster wrote:I was certain that "meh" predated the Simpsons, and it does, but not by much.

So Randall might have gotten it wrong? Doh!

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby IWX » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:08 am UTC

So did Randall just nerd snipe everyone into skipping the obvious reference of applying the linguistic shift to the comic's title?

"...Inter what a lick? Go wash your mouth with soap."

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:29 pm UTC

I wouldn't pronounce "interfocalic" to include a part that sounds like "fuck".

So, no.
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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby MakingProgress » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:20 pm UTC

ThemePark wrote:
moody7277 wrote:
tups wrote:pronouncing v's in the middle of words as f would make it a Dutch accent, not a German one :)


That goes along with the Netherlands' global takeover.

I for one welcome our new alien Dutch overlords.



I hear people saying the Netherlands should have a referendum to leave the EU, like the UK did.
They should not leave the EU, they should overtake it !

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Flumble » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:10 pm UTC

MakingProgress wrote:
ThemePark wrote:
moody7277 wrote:
tups wrote:pronouncing v's in the middle of words as f would make it a Dutch accent, not a German one :)


That goes along with the Netherlands' global takeover.

I for one welcome our new alien Dutch overlords.



I hear people saying the Netherlands should have a referendum to leave the EU, like the UK did.
They should not leave the EU, they should overtake it !

If only we had such ambition as a whole. "49 nations to rule parts of Europe, one nation to rule them all."
The Netherlands once was on that track by hosting prestigious facilities like the International Criminal Court a.o. But most EU councils, parliament and stuff are hosted in Belgium and France.

Oh and worry not, we need legislative compatibility with all our neighbours for trade (I don't know how important trade actually is to us, but the meme is that virtually all of our wealth comes from it), so we'll only leave the EU if it is disbanded.

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby IWX » Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:29 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I wouldn't pronounce "interfocalic" to include a part that sounds like "fuck".

So, no.

You might not. Would others? Not everyone pronounces words by analyzing the root words and drawing on knowledge of a definition. I've definitely heard people pronounce "focal" as "fuck all." I've even heard "vuckalize" once when I was asked to speak aloud.

Randall could have used other letters for the joke, but he specifically used a letter in the middle of one of the titular words (he often gives titles to strips that interact with (or are) the punchline). Not only that, but he often alludes to his love of immature humor, most recently in the previous comic, "AI Research."

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Re: 1697: "Intervocalic Fortition"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:18 am UTC

The C belongs to the wrong syllable.
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