(Prosodic) foot fetish

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Today's xkcd:

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20 Comments »

  1. Jerry Friedman said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 9:52 am

    If I'd come up with that, it would have been a poet or an English professor. I know you've talked about metrical feet here, but isn't that a much smaller part of linguistics than it is of literary studies? (Of course, the word "linguist" has certain associations.)

    [(myl) Alas, at least in the U.S., graduate students in English (and all too many of their professors) can't scan metered verse, or even tell the difference between one kind of prosodic foot or another -- unless maybe they learned it in high school.]

  2. Geoff Nathan said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 10:05 am

    You beat me to it–I was looking for your email address when I saw your post. One of my IT colleagues pointed it out to me (he had to look it up…)

  3. John Baker said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 10:47 am

    Trochees, iambs, dactyls, but no anapests. The tooltip text (not reproduced above) is "'And then whisper 'anapest' in my ear as you hold me?'" but of course "anapest" is a dactyl, not an anapest.

    [(myl) There are lots of anapestic verbs: interrupt contradict understand intervene disagree , etc., and anapestic adjectives: incomplete incorrect indistinct underserved undeclared, etc. Anapestic nouns are rarer, because of the way that English stress works: Tennessee appointee returnee violin, ?.]

  4. leoboiko said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 11:07 am

    Is it? Weird! The cognate is an anapest in my language (and probably other Romances, I guess).

  5. NW said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 12:01 pm

    Oh, I read this earlier today . . . and the tooltip text . . . and I'm a linguist . . . and I didn't get the 'foot fetish' reference. Ahem.

  6. Rubrick said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

    Buckaroo, scaramouch, fandang — no, wait, never mind.

  7. MikeA said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 5:13 pm

    Which all reminds me to wonder what sort of breath-control and heroic memorization would allow anyone to recite, say, dactylic kilometer.
    (as rhymed with speedometer, American style)

  8. Bobbie said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

    For all the non-lingusts who read this blog, please explain the foot fetish part. Pleeze?

  9. Bobbie said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

    Oh, I just figured it out!

  10. Jerry Friedman said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

    MYL: That's shocking. Professors today…

    Some dactylic nouns: afternoon, opportune, clientele, personnel, kitchenette, mignonette, stockinet, etc.

  11. David P said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

    …, language log, …

  12. Ken said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

    Bobbie, you can also go to explainxkcd.com. The explanation for this one is kind of funny in itself, since it maintains a clinical detachment worthy of Masters and Johnson.

  13. Jerry Friedman said,

    June 18, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

    Darn it, I meant anapestic nouns.

    The British are astonished and horrified that we pronounce "anapest" to rhyme with "best", not "beast", and similarly with "Oedipus". Well, one Australo-Englishman I know is, but that should be enough of a sample.

    Engineer, racketeer, submarine, tangerine, and what were the ones I was thinking of just a moment ago?

  14. T. Jordan said,

    June 19, 2014 @ 6:31 am

    There is an explanation of the comic here:
    http://www.xkcd.com/1383/

  15. George said,

    June 19, 2014 @ 6:49 am

    @Ken,

    The explainxkcd site is wonderful. Thanks for that!

  16. chris y said,

    June 19, 2014 @ 7:29 am

    The British are astonished and horrified that we pronounce "anapest" to rhyme with "best", not "beast", and similarly with "Oedipus".

    We are indeed, in both cases the "e" transliterates a Greek diphthong (which is conserved in British spelling). Even Tom Lehrer never quite reconciled me to the practice.

  17. Theophylact said,

    June 19, 2014 @ 9:08 am

    Side question: How did you get the mouseover text to appear?

  18. david said,

    June 19, 2014 @ 10:10 am

    @Theophylact

    On a non-mobile device just roll the cursor over the image. For a mobile device you have to go to m.xkcd.com and then touch the alt-text words. If you just follow the links above they take you to the non-mobile version.

  19. david said,

    June 19, 2014 @ 10:10 am

    @Theophylact

    On a non-mobile device just roll the cursor over the image. For a mobile device you have to go to m.xkcd.com and then touch the alt-text words. If you just follow the links above they take you to the non-mobile version.

  20. Colin Fine said,

    June 23, 2014 @ 7:34 am

    "Anapaest" certainly is an anapaest!

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