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Technical analysis

Today's xkcd: Mouseover title: "I [suspect] that we are throwing more and more of our resources, including the cream of our youth, into financial activities remote from the production of goods and services, into activities that generate high private rewards disproportionate to their social productivity. I suspect that the immense power of the computer is […]

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Another use for final rises

Today's Frazz:

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"Dick voice": Annoying voices and gender stereotypes

During the 2016 presidential campaign, there was a lot of negative commentary about Hillary Clinton's voice. Some examples from across the political spectrum are compiled and discussed here, and even-the-liberal-The-Atlantic published on "The Science Behind Hating Hillary's Voice".  Since Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump pretty much got a pass for vocal characteristics analogous to Hillary's, it was […]

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Prosody posts

In the context of the current political season, I've started taking a look at rhetorical styles, including the aspects of rhythm, pitch, and voice quality for which linguists generally use the cover term "prosody". Our enormously over-long list of topic categories didn't include "prosody", so I've added it — and in the process of labeling […]

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Feelings, beliefs, and thoughts

Molly Worthen, "Stop Saying 'I Feel Like'", NYT 4/30/2016: In American politics, few forces are more powerful than a voter’s vague intuition. “I support Donald Trump because I feel like he is a doer,” a senior at the University of South Carolina told Cosmopolitan. “Personally, I feel like Bernie Sanders is too idealistic,” a Yale student […]

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Jeopardy gossip

The internet has been working hard at providing Deborah Cameron with material for a book she might write on attitudes towards women's voices. (Background: "Un justified", 7/8/2015; "Cameron v. Wolf" 7/27/2015.) To see what I mean, sample the tweets for  #JeopardyLaura, or read some of the old-media coverage, like "Is this woman the most annoying 'Jeopardy!' contestant ever?", Fox News […]

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Pronouncing "Daesh"

In the comments on yesterday's post, the question arose about how the  Arabic-based acronym "Daesh" (from al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, "the islamic state of Iraq and the Levant", maybe better rendered as "Da’ish") would be pronounced in English. We now know what Barack Obama's choice is — [dæʃ], as in "dash": Turkey's been a […]

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What does "vocal fry" mean?

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, "LOL Vocal Fry Rules U R All Dumb", Jezebel 7/30/2015: This week, in shit-hot stuff happening on the internet, once-great feminist pundit Naomi Wolf wrote a column about how vocal fry is Keeping Women Down, and then other women across the internet rebutted her, rightly positing that when your dads bitch about […]

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Open Letter to Terry Gross

Sameer ud Dowla Khan, a phonetician at Reed College, has written an open letter to Terry Gross, which starts like this: While I am a loyal fan of your program, I’m very disappointed in your interview of David Thorpe and Susan Sankin from 7 July 2015. As both a phonetician who specializes in intonation, stress patterns, and […]

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Freedom Fries

On 1/23/2015, as part of a This American Life show on "What happens when the Internet turns on you?", Ira Glass took up an issue we've devoted a few posts to ("545: If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS — Act Two, Freedom Fries"). Recently, This American Life has been […]

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Generational punctuation differences again

Forwarded from a young person, who got it from an acquaintance: just got an email that said "Address is correct…" like are you sad? are you upset? why the fuck are those extra periods there? dear people over 25, stop using ellipses for no reason like please what are you doing It occurs to me […]

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Final rises

As Eric Baković recently noted, there's been a lot of buzz about a presentation about "uptalk" by Amanda Ritchart and Amalia Arvaniti at the 2013 Acoustical Society meeting. All we have so far is a sort of press release  ("Do We All Speak Like Valley Girls? Uptalk in Southern Californian English", ASA Lay Language Papers, 12/5/2013), but […]

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"Sexy baby vocal virus"

For the past few weeks, Lake Bell has been working hard to promote her new  movie In a World… NPR set the stage this way ("'In A World …' Is A Comedy About, You Guessed It, Voice-Over Artists", NPR All Things Considered 7/26/2013): Lake Bell has acted in the movies It's Complicated, What Happens in Vegas […]

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