January 13, 2014

in #2,2014,international jokes,Monday Comic,popsicle jokes,spanish,Webcomic

1. Nueve Reinas (2000)

2. Tango, Nunca Me Dejes (1998)

3. Como Agua Para Chocolate (1992)

4. Mujeres Al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (1988)


August 2, 2013

in Movies,spanish

*This is very like the first Tiny Dissertation post in its curiosity for the answer, its short lifespan, minimal scope of interest, and un-academic treatment of the subject. 

My 'Space God' character (right) in Little Big Planet dancing to Cornman by Kinky

Hypothesis: There should be compound words in Spanish songs, because they are very productive in Romance languages, so they should show up in songs.

Data: Lyrics found online for 10 songs in Spanish, each by a different artist, that I listen to a lot but have never thought about in regards to compounds.

[and then suddenly…]


April 26, 2012

in Autobiographical,dissertation,Music,spanish,University of York

This week in Articulatory and Impressionistic Phonetics, we’re learning about rhotics, otherwise known as ‘r sounds.’ As opposed to fricatives, laterals, or nasals, the class of rhotic sounds do not fit together neatly under a simple definition. They are said in different places in the mouth, with different types of stricture, and with different tongue positions. Ladefoged and Maddieson say there may be phonological, acoustic, or auditory connection, but it doesn’t look like there’s a phonetic one.  All of them are oral continuants with neutral lip posture, and they are most clearly linked through their IPA symbols resembling ‘r’ in some way: [r ɾ ɹ ɺ ɻ ɽ ʀ ʁ]. Rhotics are weird. I’m rhotic and proud.

In the seminar about rhotic sounds, we practiced the rhotic trills, which are associated with Spanish and French, and Richard Ogden mentioned that phoneticians have fun by trying to make the 3 trill sounds of the IPA at the same time, which looks something like this: [ʀ͡r͜ʙ]. The diacritic means that the sounds are spoken simultaneously. On paper, I could make the arch go over all three, but this is the best I can do for the internet. The 3 parts are:

  • [ʀ] uvular trill – French ‘r’
  • [r] alveolar trill –  Spanish rolling ‘r’
  • [ʙ] bilabial trill – pretend to be a motorboat.

I’ve been bursting into simultaneous trill attempts around campus for the last 24 hours, and wondering if anyone had recorded their attempts. I couldn’t find anything on the internet with the same keywords, so I made my own video and put it on YouTube. It helps to build up from back to front. This has to be done quickly, before the air pressure is lost. Every attempt has ended in giggling, and this video is no exception. Enjoy!


March 6, 2012

in french,IPA,lips,phonetics,spanish,University of York,Words & Origins

A few years ago, I took first year Latin at PSU. I didn’t continue Latin because I got a job, and it turns out I hate declining nouns and adjectives. It is three times as much work. The professor was great, seemingly normal, but with a great unexpected affection for Elvis (pronouced Elwees in Latin). I really liked learning the new vocab and connecting it to modern words I know in English, Spanish and French. I also loved conjugating the verbs and learning the four principle parts like in the verb ‘regere,’ to rule or reign: Rego, Regere, Rexi, Rectum.

[and then suddenly…]


May 15, 2011

in best post ever,career,etymonline,history of language,insignificant linguistics mystery,IPA,latin,morphemes,spanish,wordnik

I have written or presented about this topic at least 3 times in school, and it still amuses the hell out of me. I have distilled it down to 5 words, but I just found a paper that lists the whole 10, and I think it’s worth recording these down while the information still bubbles and frolicks around for me when I talk about it.

1. Fabular

-Spanish is one of the Romance languages which means it comes from Latin. Other Romance languages include French, Italian, Romanian, Catalan, and Portuguese, unfortunately.
-Fabular means ‘to tell a tale,’ which has morphed over the years to become the verb hablar, to speak. There are many words which begin with ‘f’ in Latin that changed to ‘h’ in modern Spanish. Exceptions are words with a diphthong after the ‘f’ like fuente (fountain), fuerza (force), and fuego (fire). [and then suddenly…]


March 21, 2011

in arabic,basque,best list ever,best post ever,diphthong,Etymology,history of language,IPA,izquierda,left-handedness,not basque,old-timey,patronyms,phonological constraints,spanish,Words & Origins,zurda

Sketch by Matugi on DeviantArt

{ 1 comment }

November 30, 2010

in #48,dragons,international jokes,Monday Comic,spanish,terrible,thanks patrick,Webcomic


September 27, 2010

in #39,caffeine,international jokes,Monday Comic,spanish,thanks dad,thanks mom,Webcomic

The other day the word ‘quizás’ came up at my office. It means ‘maybe’ in Spanish. The ‘z’ is pronounced lightly, like an ‘s’ in Spanish. I tricked someone into letting me think aloud about where the word might come from. This is that story.

[and then suddenly…]


March 11, 2010

in insignificant linguistics mystery,izquierda,latin,nkc,not basque,quizás,spanish,zurda

Recently I poked and prodded around the internet, Portland libraries, and even had my mother in California send me a book in the mail to get an example of Delfín Carbonell Bassett’s “Unialphabet.” 

Here is why: I think it’s potentially brilliant. It’s a simple gesture that could really change the mindset of students learning language.

Here is what it is, in theory: Instead of having and English/Spanish and Spanish/English division in bilingual dictionaries, put them all together in one alphabet, with some sort of key to distinguish which comes from which language. It breaks down the artificial wall, and lets the languages live in the same universe. It may lead to more ‘Spanglish’ writings, but it also stops kids from learning unconsciously that their language of reference can only be thought of one word at a time in the other language, one arrow going to Spanish, one arrow back to English. With the Unialphabet system, all the words are living in bunk beds next to each other, forced to recognize the others’ presence AS WELL AS exponentially increasing the element of serendipity, finding words you weren’t looking for, because now all the words are available all the time as the main words. It also can visually show someone “hey, English has a lot more words in the W section than Spanish, why is that?” pushing a student to think about the fundamentals of language earlier than the day some crazy word enthusiast, such as myself, pushes word facts down their throats without warning. 
Here is the problem: The book my mother sent me was a Dictionary of Proverbs, which was on the list of books which used the system on Wikipedia. I know Wikipedia is not the king of information, but by god I thought I could trust it just a little further than I could throw it. Anyway, the red and yellow cover, as you can see, clearly divides it into two sections. One thing it does do is explain English idioms in Spanish, and Spanish idioms in English. Ok, that’s good, but WHY ARE THERE TWO ALPHABETS. UNI! ONE! WTF! I want to love this, I want to write to Erin McKean and tell her for the Dictionary Society of America I want to write a proposal that encourages bilingual dictionaries to be printed unialphabetically for American textbooks, and pocket dictionaries! BUT I DON’T HAVE A REAL EXAMPLE! 
In fact, the most true example of a unialphabet that I have access to is my very own “Mellifluous Verbosity,” the list of all the words that make me happy.
So what now? Keep searching for my linguistic path, amuse myself with words, maybe email Mr. Señor Carbonell Bassett again, search for actual images of the Unialphabet in practice. Sigh. 
Aspiring paleoverbologist out.


October 18, 2008

in spanish,unialphabet,Words & Origins