Fry animated

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A couple of years ago, Ben Zimmer took a look at Stephen Fry's change of heart on things like  "none of these are of importance to me" ("Fry on the pleasure of language", 11/7/2008). Ben closed by quoting from the inaugural post on Fry's weblog, "Don't Mind Your Language", 11/4/2008. A couple of weeks ago, Matt Rogers created a typographical animation of the same passage, to the accompaniment of audio from Fry's podcast version:

As the credits roll, Matt fades out with some audio a bit beyond the passage that Ben quoted:

I don’t deny that a small part of me still clings to a ghastly Radio 4/newspaper-letter-writer reader pedantry, but I fight against it in much the same way I try to fight against my gluttony, anger, selfishness and other vices. I must confess, for example, that I find it hard not to wince when someone aspirates the word ‘aitch’.

And the rest of it continues to be, as Ben put it, "wonderfully rambling". Read the whole thing.


  1. Clayton Burns said,

    October 17, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    [(myl) A long comment about the Sunday New York Times, with no relevance to this post, has been deleted.]

  2. Brian said,

    October 17, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

    The rise in popularity of this "kinetic typography" stuff kind of freaks me out. It's exactly the sort of thing I imagined in my head all the time, twenty years ago.

  3. Rubrick said,

    October 17, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    Very nice. Though the pedant in me couldn't help wincing at the handful of occasions when Fry's words were mistranscribed. :-)

    This made me wonder, given the rising accuracy of speech-to-text, how close we are to being able to automate this entire process: You give some software an audio file and a target shape, and it does the rest. Not far at all, I suspect, except for the punctuation.

  4. dirk alan said,

    October 17, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

    gotta love stevie fry. the brit accent rocks.

  5. groki said,

    October 17, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

    Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound-sex of it?

    "impossible words" in what sense, I wonder?
    (1) semantically: "those words are (should be) meaningless."
    (2) phonologically: "those words don't follow English pronunciation."

    in any case, hearing an example of Fry's yoking of words often ensures "friendly milk will countermand my trousers."

  6. groki said,

    October 17, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

    @Rubrick: yeah, I winced some too in spots. the youtuber notes: Also I know that at point the audio does not match the text so you doesnt have to write that. It is because I copied the transcript off of Stephen's website and it was not 100% exactly what he said and i did not notice until I was well underway.

  7. Timm! said,

    October 18, 2010 @ 12:17 am

    So glad to see Mr. Fry has changed his ways. I've been a fan of his comedy for a while now and was greatly disappointed when I caught a clip of QI where he embarrassed a guest for violating some minor rule of of quote/unquote "correct grammar."

    "Oh no!" I thought, "Don't be one of them!"

  8. Pflaumbaum said,

    October 18, 2010 @ 7:12 am

    @ dirk: don't let a Scot or Welshman hear you call Fry's RP the 'Brit accent', or you'll hear some language alright…

    It would have been better if Fry had drawn a distinction between prescriptive rules and actual ungrammaticality. The scare-quotes hinted at it, but you could easily come away from that thinking 'split infinitives' or preposition stranding were technically ungrammatical, if still okay in his book.

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