Sunday, June 01, 2014

/i:/ in the New York Times

The NY Times Magazine has a little tiny piece this morning (here, just scroll down and see the left column), about an experiment by Ralf Rummer (Erfurt University) and colleagues showing that students looking at comics founds them funnier when they were repeating /i:/ than /o:/ sounds. Here's an actual discussion of the project, in German, saying that German words with /o:/ are 'anxiety inducing' (angsteinflößend). like Tod 'death' and Kot 'crap, muck' and about 50 other English words. Really?  I don't get anxious on hearing Kot and what about rot 'red', Boot 'boat', Brot 'bread', Schlot 'smokestack, chimney'. We don't typically do breakfast experiments here in Verbtown, but a look at the rhymes in German (Reimlexikon) really doesn't show much promise with an association between /o:t/ word endings and scary stuff.

But whatevs. My point is that the NYT used IPA on the (lite entertainment) 'One-page Magazine'. I'm now officially waiting for syntactic trees, maybe in Mario Batali's regular 'What I'm drinking' bit.

Image from here. You can watch the face of a German speaker producing /i:/ and all other sounds of the language. No kidding.

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