Saturday, November 17, 2007

well, that's indescribable

A couple of weeks ago, when I thought I could not come up with 30 consecutive days of blah-blah, I intended to tell you how I was half-nelsoned and pinned by my assignment at RFB. Eleven years on the job there, and I have never found anything I couldn't navigate.

I have read this


things like this

But when I came to the International Phonetics Alphabet, I just went limp.

Certainly I can say "labialized velar approximant," even without giggling. I can also say "statistically significant simultaneous fricatives." I've got crazy-descriptive/narrative skills, yo.

The idea of a dyslexic phonetician is fascinating.

That's not a warm-up exercise; it's an observation. It's a contemplation that someone who can not ordinarily navigate the Roman alphabet with much degree of success can work with this set of characters. But I think I have put my finger on it. Besides there being fewer characters to start with, in the phonetic alphabet, they always mean what they mean.

"cough," "tough," and "Through," don't look like they should rhyme when they are spelled using the phonetic letters. Turns out they do have names -- the letters. One of them is Lezh. Who many also have been one of the sons of Benjamin.

I recommended the studio call Noam Chomsky, because I was in over my head. Then I found this listserve, and the night passed quietly.

Chinese has one too. Good thing I took the winter off.

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