Kanji-esque alphabet writing on a sake label

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From Frank Clements:


Can you read it?

Selected readings


  1. Thomas Rees said,

    January 17, 2021 @ 7:53 pm

    Foo Fighters

  2. jhholland said,

    January 17, 2021 @ 8:30 pm

    Is it Xu Bing, or is it a knock-off?

  3. cameron said,

    January 17, 2021 @ 9:40 pm

    Thomas Rees had it right in the first comment: Foo Fighters

    Silence is foo

  4. Victor Mair said,

    January 18, 2021 @ 1:19 am

    Interesting how they break up the syllables of "fighters" as *"figh-ters".

  5. Andreas Johansson said,

    January 18, 2021 @ 1:49 am

    Syllabification as "figh-ters" is what I'd expected – do L1 speakers feel it should be "fight-ers"?

  6. ~flow said,

    January 18, 2021 @ 2:37 am

    I feel it can be both ways, right, "figh-ters" being the way you say it, but "fight-ers" being the way you analyze the morphemes.

  7. Keith said,

    January 18, 2021 @ 3:29 am

    Very clearly Foo Fighters for me…

    I remember that during my childhood in the UK it was quite common to use fake-chinese lettering on products, especially for Chinese-ish foodstuffs. This is carried on today, to a lesser degree; Suzi Wan products are the ones that come to mind first, but the effect is not so exaggerated as in the sake example (basically just Latin letters done with brushstrokes).

    As to the hyphenation, for me (native UK English speaker) the word "fighter" breaks "fight-er"; analysed as a verb "fight" plus a suffix "-er" to make an agent noun "a person who fights".

    On the sake label, I think that breaking at "figh" makes more sense; adding a "t" to the pseudograph would have made it even wider and more complicated, and therefore more difficult to read.

  8. Antonio L. Banderas said,

    January 18, 2021 @ 4:37 am

    On point

  9. Mike said,

    January 18, 2021 @ 8:58 am

    Reminds me of the "Soy Vay" mock-Hebrew labels

  10. Chris Button said,

    January 18, 2021 @ 9:48 am

    Or rather fight.ers being the way you say it naturally say it (and coinciding with the morphemes) but figh.ters being the way we artificially break it when consciously focusing on distinguishing each syllable (and usually when singing I suppose)

  11. Alexander Browne said,

    January 18, 2021 @ 11:15 am

    I didn't see it. But now I can't unsee it.

  12. ~flow said,

    January 19, 2021 @ 2:30 am

    I think what the article by Wells over at https://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/syllabif.htm shows best (apart from the many intriguing observations and the arguments drawn from them) is that we can not assume phoneticians to be wholly unanimous when it comes to syllabification of English.

    Wells says that 'accelerate' and 'memorise' should be /‑ə.reɪt, ‑ə.raɪz/ in theory (where the final syllables start with /r/), but "introspection leads me to posit /ək.ˈsel.ər.eɪt, ˈmem.ər.aɪz/". I can only agree to this sentiment if someone can explain to me how that squares with the general observation that RP is a non-rhotic dialect where /r/ is mute where syllable-final (i.e. post-nucleus). Under that view, 'far from' is [fɑ:.from] because you cannot re-syllabify /-r.f-/ as */-.rf-/ in En., whereas 'far apart' is [fɑ:.rə.pɑ:t] because the second syllable starts with a vowel, so resyllabification occurs to yield the universally (in terms of sonorance) optimal CV.CV to replace the sub-optimal CVC.V.

  13. John Rohsenow said,

    January 19, 2021 @ 3:00 am

    "… "figh-ters" being the way you say it, but "fight-ers" being the way you analyze the morphemes."
    Or perhaps better: how we divide the word at the end of a written line if we have to. I was once asked by an EFL student what the rules for (written) syllabification in English are, so I went to the biggest Webster's dictionary I could find and what I found there was (this is from my
    aging memory): -the rules were established in the 19th century by printers, and have become a matter of convention. I suspect that they
    do pretty much follow morpheme division, wherever that is possible.

  14. John Rohsenow said,

    January 19, 2021 @ 3:08 am

    PS: to my previous comment:
    Rules on Splitting Words | Tips at BestEssays.com
    The rules for splitting words at the end of the line in the English language are quite complicated, and in many cases rather subjective. To be on the safe side -simply avoid doing it. We recommend you to turn off the automatic hyphenation off in your word processor, which is likely to hyphenate in American English where the rules are far more flexible than in British English…"
    "The easiest thing to do, and the only way of being sure that you agree with the authorities, is to look words up in the dictionary…."

  15. Philip Taylor said,

    January 19, 2021 @ 6:50 am

    Regarding word division, John Wells' own LPD gives /ək ˈsel ə |reɪt/ for "accelerate" and /ˈfaɪt ə[r]z/ for "fighters". Introspection leads me to agree with the former (modulo the initial vowel, where I have /æ/) but to disagree with the latter, where for me the /t/ is clearly bound to the second syllable. However, one thing to note is that British hyphenation practice respects etymology whilst American respects syllabification, which is why there are two quite distinct sets of hyphenation patterns for TeX. The British patterns, for which I am partially responsible (they were originally produced by Dr Dominik Wuajstyk), are derived from the OED machine-readable source for the Oxford mini-dictionary of spelling and word division. I do not know the source of the American patterns, but I could find out if anyone is interested.

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