Milk tea

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(To appreciate the joke at the top of the image, it helps to be familiar with the "Nobody" meme. Here the meme is used to critique companies that engage in "pinkwashing" during Pride Month and then revert to their heteronormative ways as soon as June ends.)

 Japanese writing on the labels:

Nonhomo ノンホモ

Hida 飛騨 city in Gifu Prefecture

gyūnyū 牛乳 ("milk"), also miruku ミルク

sutorētotī ストレートティー ("straight tea")

Notes by Nathan Hopson:

The brand is Hida (飛騨), produced by a dairy coop in Takayama, Gifu, part of the eponymous Hida region.
Non-homo = non-homogenized, of course. 
It's a rather unfortunate consequence of the Japanese tendency to abbreviate with two moras (or two pairs, i.e., four).
I guess the good news (?) is that they sell plenty of homogenized milk, too, though it doesn't seem that homomiruku ホモミルク ("homogenized milk") is a back-formation anyone found useful enough to coin. It's just the default milk, full stop.

"nonhomogenized milk" 4,350 ghits

"non homogenized milk" 18,100 ghits

"unhomogenized milk" 15,000 ghits

"homogenized milk" 359,000 ghits

Selected readings


  1. Viseguy said,

    July 10, 2024 @ 5:23 pm

    I'll leave it to expert commenters to explain why/how the Greek ὁµός acquired an initial H in its English cognate. Did it manage to, um, take root before the Latin homo entered the picture? Wouldn't omo- have been equally serviceable?

  2. Milan said,

    July 10, 2024 @ 6:31 pm

    @Viseguy: Not really an expert, but I understand that in Attic Greek, _ ὁμός_ was pronounced with an initial /h/. This is what the mark on the first indicates (which, by the way, looks different than that on the second , though the font here isn't great at that). Modern learned loans from Greek into European languages virtually always followed that Attic pronunciation as much as the recipient language allows it. I'd guess that's out of a Renaissance desire to return _ad fontes_.

    The Greek prefix is generally distinguished from the Latin(ate) _homo_ 'man, human' found in _Homo sapiens_ by pronunciation. In the Greek term, the first vowel is /ɒ(:)/ whereas in the Latin, it is /oʊ/. In the word _homologue_ (for most speakers), the first and last vowel have the same value, whereas the second one is different.

    The main exception to this is, of course, _homosexual_ and its derivatives like _homoerotic_ and _homophobia_. There, the first vowel now generally is /oʊ/. However, you do still find conservative British speakers who pronounce it /ˌhɒməʊˈsɛksjuːəl/… Perhaps the change in pronunciation has something to do with the frequency of the word, it's clipping to _homo_, or the Latin etymology of the word's second part… Apparently, for some speakers, the /ˌhoʊmoʊ/ pronunciation is now spreading to words not derived from _homosexual_, like _homologue_.

  3. Milan Ney said,

    July 10, 2024 @ 7:34 pm

    I tried to use greater-than and lesser-than signs to name the letter 'o' in my last comment. I guess WordPress interpreted that as some kind of notation and swallowed it. I hope you can still follow my comment…

  4. /df said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 6:34 am

    The left-convex apostrophe-like diacritic on the first omicron of ὁμός is called a "rough breathing" (obviously Attic and other Greeks had other terms for it) and was pronounced as @Milan says in the Classical era, and lost soon after. But Greek words imported into English respect the pronunciation of Socrates rather than Strabo. See (for its self-standing rendition) Unicode character U+1FFE GREEK DASIA.

    Its mirror image is a "smooth breathing" which appears only to have existed to show that the writer didn't forget a rough breathing, as in ὂ μῑκρόν. See U+1FBF GREEK PSILI.

  5. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 7:53 am

    Aren't the breathing marks only indicated on the first letter of a word?

    And if someone could explain why rho gets one occasionally, that would be elucidating.

  6. Philip Taylor said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 8:59 am

    [NOT written by ChatGPT] —

    Frisk Etymological English

    ἄρα, ἄρ, enclit. ῥα, with elision ῥ
    Grammatical information: adv.
    Meaning: of course, then, so (Il.).
    Dialectal forms: Cypr. ἔρ(α) H.; against Latte s. Ruijgh τε épique 433 n. 76.
    Origin: IE [Indo-European] [62] *(h₁)er? now, thus, so questioning particle
    Etymology: On the use Schwyzer-Debrunner 558f, in Homer Grimm, Glotta 40, 1962, 3-41. To Lith. ir̃, Latv. ìr and; also, even from PIE *r̥; with full grade Lith. ar̃, Latv. ar question particle. The full grades require a laryngeal (which is anyhow needed before r); Cypr. ἔρ(α) can be *h₁er, Lith. ar̃ < *h₁or, but *h₁r̥ would have given *ερα, not αρα; either some forms are analogical, or the rule about the root structure does not work here. S. also Hoenigswald Lang. 29, 288ff. (Connection with ἀραρίσκω, ἄρτι is indemonstrable, and would require *h₂r. Improbable Ruijgh, Lingua 25, 1970, 313: to ἄριστος) – On final -α Schwyzer 622f.

    [ Source: ]

  7. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 9:42 am


    Ah, so _that's_ it!: "The full grades require a laryngeal (which is anyhow needed before r)". It makes sense that if you try to make your mouth produce a flap or trill, and you try to do it without an outflow of air, (i.e. /h/), you're not actually producing a sound.

  8. Philip Taylor said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 9:56 am

    I would need some way of monitoring exactly what I am doing, but I think that I can produce a short trill (four cycles) without expiration. For me, a trilled [r] is the norm (otherwise it comes out as a [w]), so trilling is easy for me, but if I do not expire it seems limited to four, or at most five, cycles …

  9. John J Chew said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 10:04 am

    "Homo milk" was the usual term here in Canada for what I understand Americans call "whole milk", at least when I was growing up.

  10. Philip Taylor said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 10:13 am

    In that context, John, "homo" is homogenised — in the UK, homogenised milk was not the norm, and "everyday" milk was simply pasteurised, with the cream rising to the top. Was such milk (non-homogenised) not the norm in (the United States of) America at the time that you were growing up in Canada ?

  11. Rodger C said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 11:38 am

    I think we've talked before (but on this blog?) about how initial /r/ in Attic was apparently trilled, as in Spanish, and (unlike in Spanish) was devoiced, like medial /rr/, which also carries the rough breathing.

  12. CuConnacht said,

    July 11, 2024 @ 4:31 pm

    Benjamin Orsatti: As far as I know, h-sounds occurred only initially in ancient Greek. (I read once that the loan word ταώς=peacock is sometimes written with rough breathing over the omega, but I can't confirm that, and Liddell and Scott's dictionary doesn't list that form).

    Initial rho always has a rough breathing (and non-initial rho never does). Maybe iwhen rho was initial it was pronounced something like hr- as in Old English Hrothgar; I don't know. There is an exception, Ρ̓ᾶρος, the name of a place in an area whose dialect had no h sound.

  13. Philip Anderson said,

    July 13, 2024 @ 12:53 pm

    The rough breathing is why rho is spelt with ‘rh’, as are other words borrowed from Greek, such as rhododendron.

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