Heat and Noise.

Christina Xu’s article for Logic about a feature of East Asian videos is interesting in its own right:

Bullet comments, or 弹幕 (“danmu”), are text-based user reactions superimposed onto online videos: a visual commentary track to which anyone can contribute. When a beloved character dies in a web series, a river of grieving kaomoji (╥﹏╥)—a kind of emoticon first popularized in Japan—washes over whatever happens next. A child’s overly honest response to a TV anchor’s question triggers a blizzard of different ways to signify laughter (2333, 哈哈哈哈). When the (Chinese) good guy punches out the (American) bad guy in 2017’s blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2, jingoistic cries of “Long live China!” erupt across the screen. Each comment is synchronized to an exact moment in the video, and will fly across the screen on cue on every subsequent replay. On particularly popular videos, they pile up so thick that they can cover the original entirely. The result is a viscerally social experience, like an opening night crowd at a movie theater that you can summon anytime. […]

When a Japanese site called Niconico invented the idea of writing comments directly on top of YouTube videos in 2006, it took less than a year for a clone of the platform to appear in China. In Japanese, the system was named 弹幕 (danmaku), or “bullet curtain,” after a subgenre of hardcore shoot-em-up games in which enemies fly in formation across the screen, like the famous arcade game Galaga on steroids. Both kinds of danmaku—the games and the comments—required their audience to process an overwhelming amount of visual stimulation at high speeds. In China, several sites seeking to clone the Niconico experience copied the feature, as well as the Japanese characters for the name, which are pronounced “danmu” in Chinese. Today, the most successful of these clones by far is Bilibili, a social video site that has become an entertainment staple for young people in China. […]

On top of trading witticisms, bullet commenters also play informal, emergent games with each other and with the content. Commenters will synchronize their comments to create a wall of text that shields future viewers from gruesome or scary shots, or create 五毛特效 (“fifty-cent special effects”) like populating a night sky full of ASCII stars. Other commenters spontaneously collaborate to generate subtitles in various languages—both earnest and facetious—as “the Eight-Nation Alliance Caption Club,” a wry reference to the international military coalition that invaded China following the Boxer Rebellion. If a character in a show holds up a sudoku puzzle for even a second, a bullet commenter will probably try to solve it.

The image at the top of the linked page shows an example of those “subtitles in various languages.” But what drove me to post is this bit of cultural background:

热闹 (rè nào) is hard to concisely translate into English with its personality intact. Literally meaning “heat and noise,” it describes an atmosphere of bustling conviviality: a balance point between hygge and lit. A night market sizzling with smells and chatter is re nao, as is a table-slapping game of mahjong after a big family meal. Re nao is as central to the Chinese vision of the good life as freedom is to America’s; it’s deep-rooted in a way that defies rationality.

For young Chinese people, bullet comments are a dose of re nao that fits better into their lives than the karaoke, mahjong, and alcohol-fueled banquets preferred by their elders.

On the one hand, I’m always suspicious of such generalizations; on the other, the general idea fits with what I experienced in Taiwan. What do people familiar with China and its culture have to say about rè nào?

Comments

  1. Rènào is a very important concept, especially for Chinese dinner celebrations, I find. Quiet dinners are associated with Western cuisine and Western culture. (I’m myself a Westerner.) I also feel that it’s connected to family and group activities. Part of it is habit, when you are used to being among a lot of people all day long it can feel lonely in a quiet atmosphere. Part of it is an ideal, you want to eat together with friends and family as it is a sign of being close to each other and having a happy life.

    That quote reminds me of a scene in a movie. A Chinese actor was giving a performance in the US. He was used to people shouting out “hao3” (good! great!) during the performance when people liked his acting. However, the US audience was dead quiet. After he left the scene, the applauses started, and people got up from their seats. So different ways of showing appreciation!

    That being said, the broader concept of many people making noise together is pretty common around the world. The clapping of hands in the theatre, the chatting at a party, the singing when celebrating someone’s birthday. In that way, Chinese culture is not unique.

  2. Thanks, that’s a useful comment.

    That being said, the broader concept of many people making noise together is pretty common around the world. The clapping of hands in the theatre, the chatting at a party, the singing when celebrating someone’s birthday. In that way, Chinese culture is not unique.

    Well, sure, but different universal phenomena occupy different places in different cultures. Drinking alcohol is also common around the world, but it’s much more central to some cultures than others.

  3. Bathrobe says:

    Wasn’t 熱鬧 / 热闹 featured on an LL thread?

    At any rate, yes, rènao is a nice word to know, and yes, Chinese love it. 看熱鬧 kàn rènao ‘watch renao‘ is also typically (although not exclusively) Chinese, referring to the way that people gather to watch something in the street, more often than not a fight or argument. Lu Xun was famously goaded into activism by seeing a photo of Chinese as they were engaged in kàn rènao. From Wikipedia:

    After one of his biology classes Lu was shown a scene in which a Japanese soldier was about to behead a Chinese man who had allegedly spied for the Russians, surrounded by Chinese who were apathetic to the scene. In his preface to Nahan, the first collection of his short stories, Lu explained how viewing this scene influenced him to quit studying Western medicine, and to become a literary physician to what he perceived to be China’s spiritual problems instead:

    At the time, I hadn’t seen any of my fellow Chinese in a long time, but one day some of them showed up in a slide. One, with his hands tied behind him, was in the middle of the picture; the others were gathered around him. Physically, they were as strong and healthy as anyone could ask, but their expressions revealed all too clearly that spiritually they were calloused and numb. According to the caption, the Chinese whose hands were bound had been spying on the Japanese military for the Russians. He was about to be decapitated as a ‘public example.’ The other Chinese gathered around him had come to enjoy the spectacle.

  4. Applied Linguistics undergrad here.

    I’m doing research for an assignment; that’s what led me to this particular blog post. I’m intrigued by the complexity of what’s going on in these videos. It’s an interesting combination of social media interaction, cultural unity, and modern linguistic creativity.
    Personally, I love the idea that language is used to shield and protect, to express creativity, to poke fun, to foster a sense of camaraderie, to include (as in the case of translations) and to capture real-time reactions. It’s like all of the best things that language has to offer, neatly wrapped up in a video.

    These instances of “danmu” seem to be the next generation’s answer to the formats we have become used to (such as Youtube videos with comments that appear beneath). This next step seems to be a way to start to bridge the gap between the impersonal, online world and everyday, face-to-face interactions, bringing personality and a more vibrant conversational tone to these interfaces.

  5. Personally, I love the idea that language is used to shield and protect, to express creativity, to poke fun, to foster a sense of camaraderie, to include (as in the case of translations) and to capture real-time reactions. It’s like all of the best things that language has to offer, neatly wrapped up in a video.

    Nicely put!

  6. Stu Clayton says:

    Yes, Trump is good at all those things, and so is everybody that plays against him and with him. The implicit exoticism of the reporting on rènao may have diverted attention from this obvious similarity.

  7. Owlmirror says:

    it describes an atmosphere of bustling conviviality: a balance point between hygge and lit.

    Per Wiktionary:

    (hygge, English):

    Borrowed from Danish hygge or Norwegian hygge.
    (chiefly Britain) Cosy, convivial

    (lit, English)

    (slang) intoxicated or under the influence of drugs; stoned.
    (slang) Sexually aroused
    (slang) Excellent, fantastic; captivating.

    I have a faint memory of seeing “hygge” as “cosy/convivial” before, but long ago enough that I couldn’t remember what it meant when reading it now.

    I’m actually wondering more about “lit”, now — does she simply mean the last slang definition, or a blend of the first and third?

    If “hygge” corresponds to “conviviality” in the previous phrase in the sentence, “lit” presumably corresponds to “bustling”, which I would think would be something more like “exciting” than any of the three offered slang definitions.

    Wiktionary isn’t necessarily precise or thorough, of course.

  8. Stu Clayton says:

    Last year hygge was a prominent talking point in the society and culture sections of media in Germany and Britain, compared and contrasted with gemütlich, cosy etc. Now other imponderables are being weighed and prodded.

  9. I like Xu’s description of renao as a form of “traditional conviviality” but from my experience (American long-time resident of Taipei), it’s far from “central to the [culturally] Chinese vision of the good life.” I think it falls into the same psychocultural space as “Norman Rockwell Christmas”—a kind of received cultural aspiration rather than an actually desired experience. I’ve encountered more than one person here using the term ironically—“Wow, it’s so renao” to mean “Look how long the line is. We’re never going to get a seat.” Maybe I just happen to hang out with jaded cynics who hate fun, but I do sense that affection for renao is far from universal. I used to live next to a “night market sizzling with smells and chatter,”—until it was effectively shut down by residents who complained to the city council about all the smells and chatter.

  10. John Cowan says:

    The online world is both an impersonal mass medium and and a very personal means of communication for individuals and small groups. There are things a bit like that, such as ham and CB radio, community-access TV, and self-published books, but only on the Internet is the personal sector so large.

    I’ll just list here the six functions of the Internet, since this list doesn’t seem to be well-publicized:

    1. One-to-one message sending, prototypically email.

    2. One-to-many message sending, prototypically mailing lists.

    3. Publicly joinable conversations, prototypically Usenet and blogs with comments. (Many mailing lists have archives and/or the ability for anyone to subscribe, putting them on the borderline between 2 and 3.)

    4. Interactive conversation in (near-) real time, prototypically textual, audio, or video chat.

    5. Controlling remote computers, prototypically telnet and ssh.

    6. Retrieving remotely stored information, prototypically FTP, Gopher, and the Web: the tail that now wags the dog.

  11. John Cowan says:

    between hygge and lit

    I thought this might be a standard expression, but it’s not, appearing only in this article. I then looked for “hygge * lit” (where * to Google means “a reasonable number of words”) and mostly found references to lit candles or sometimes lit fires as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual hygge.

  12. Stu Clayton says:

    Controlling remote computers, prototypically [through] telnet and ssh

    “Controlling” here is synonymous with “operating/using”, no ? Under telnet and ssh you can’t do anything more with a computer than you could do at a keyboard directly connected to it, or through a physical port. But what do I know about these low matters.

  13. John Cowan says:

    Under telnet and ssh you can’t do anything more with a computer than you could do at a keyboard directly connected to it, or through a physical port.

    True, provided it has one of those. Cloud boxen probably don’t, or at most they connect somehow to a specialized console network. But controlling also includes abusing:

    $ $0 & $0 &
    (computer goes into a tailspin where it remains until powered down altogether)
    $ sudo rm -rf /
    (hard disk becomes unrecoverable)

  14. nemanja says:

    “Under telnet and ssh you can’t do anything more with a computer than you could do at a keyboard directly connected to it, or through a physical port.”

    So in other words, you can do anything?

    $ $0 & $0 &
    (computer goes into a tailspin where it remains until powered down altogether)
    $ sudo rm -rf /
    (hard disk becomes unrecoverable)

    So these would in all likelihood not do anything. Modern cloud computers are not physical machines, but virtual machines running on “bare metal” – that is, software simulations of actual hardware using the physical resources of the “metal” without an operating system. (In reality they are increasingly not even virtual machines but even lighter contruct called a container, but you get the idea). VMs get provisioned and deprovisioned all the time. Even if you had remote access to the “metal” – often they are not remotely accessible – you could not spring a bash shell, and there is usually not a user named root. And if you had remote access to the *virtual* machine, then sure you might bring down if it had a carelessly configured *nix installation but the damage you cause would be minimal, all the data is backed up anyway, and the service infrastructure can spin up a replacement in literally miliseconds.

  15. John Cowan says:

    Well, of course. Locking up a virtual computer, so that it has to be reset from outside, or trashing its hard disk, does not cause the actual computer to lock up (I have done this with a physical desktop computer, and the only way to recover was to unplug it) or the underlying physical storage to be trashed. But by the same token, trashing a physical hard disk does not destroy the underlying rotating or solid-state hard disk, and unplugging a computer does not make it cease to exist. Any given action to a virtual layer can only affect that layer and above, or a bug in a blogging program could destroy the whole universe.

    Minor correction: you can’t just type “$0 & $0 &” at the command line; you have to put it in a shell script and execute that script.

  16. ktschwarz says:

    Language Log doesn’t seem to have featured rènao yet, but they did cover danmu about six months ago.

    A friend of mine was working at a startup several years ago on something that sounded like danmu, but I guess it didn’t take off in the English-speaking world.

  17. @John Cowan: In the ideal case, it is of course true that what you do in a virtual layer can only affect things at that level and higher. However, it is certainly possible—through bugs or glitches—for things to sometimes escape into lower layers as well. I once had an MS-DOS command line FORTRAN compiler decide that it was going to rewrite the machine’s BIOS settings.

  18. Stu Clayton says:

    1. Any given action to a virtual layer can only affect that layer and above
    2. it is certainly possible—through bugs or glitches—for things to sometimes escape into lower layers as well.

    The notion of “virtual” is not amenable to generalization. Like “abstract” it is only a rough-and-ready notion for particular situations.

    A hypervisor (“virtual machine monitor”) “emulates”, “virtualizes” or “paravirtualizes” hardware and hardware APIs. You instruct it to reconfigure a BIOS, and it does so. This is not a leak down, but a feature. Is the hypervisor “above” or “below” what it emusimulates ? Hmmm.

    Let’s not get too literal with the virtual.

  19. @Stu, yes, but it modifies a simulated BIOS. If a virtual machine manages to modify the contents of the BIOS flash memory on a physical motherboard, it’s a bug.

    But as nemanja said, increasingly the ‘servers’ that are deployed to handle workloads in the cloud are containers (isolated process contexts, pods) that do not even ‘see’ the paravirtualized hardware and do not have a separate kernel. Word of the day: [ˌkjɤbɝˈnɛtɛs] — Amazon will rent you a managed environment for that so you will never have to access /proc ever again.

    But I agree that virtual is a slippery word, you have to understand the details of how something is virtual to reason about what it can or cannot do to the surrounding environment.

  20. David Marjanović says:

    [ˌkjɤbɝˈnɛtɛs]

    ɤ?

  21. It’s what it sounded like to me, though I think I inserted the -j- from my own RP-style ESL pronunciation. But I’m not a phonetician. You be the judge. The guy is Greek so you get the modern pronunciation as well. I thought it meant oarsman more specifically.

  22. Lars (the original one): You left out the URL; let me know what it is and I’ll insert it.

  23. Thanks, it’s https://youtu.be/uMA7qqXIXBk?t=42

    I did think the link looked a bit weird, it was the underscore that was missing. I did insert the URL but I left out the end quote so it got scrubbed. (Google Chrome now allows you to reopen closed tabs and go back in browser history to see what you actually input. Can be useful).

  24. Done!

  25. John Cowan says:

    I once had an MS-DOS command line FORTRAN compiler decide that it was going to rewrite the machine’s BIOS settings.

    Yes. Sapir said that grammars leak, and computer folk have generalized this to say that abstractions leak. In particular, error messages are a frequent case, as when the tablets used in NYC taxis for paying by credit card embarrassingly exhibit that they are running Windows.

    [ˌkjɤbɝˈnɛtɛs]

    I have never heard anything but [ˌkubɝˈnɛtiz] from my American cow orkers, including L2 English speakers (but modulo rhotacism), though I suppose [kj-] is a plausible alternative. That would probably be universal if it had been spelled Cubernetes, though anyone who did that would probably have written Cybernetes [saɪ-] in the first place.

  26. I presume we’re talking about Kubernetes (“commonly stylized as k8s”)? I too would instinctively say [ˌkubɝˈnɛtiz].

  27. John Cowan says:

    That’s the one. It’s very much the cheese these days in my professional circles.

  28. David Marjanović says:

    He’s saying [ˌkubɻ̩ˈnɛɾiːz]. The first vowel is an unambiguous, fully rounded [u]. The /r/ is so short that I can’t pin it down to any particular “rhotic vowel”. The /t/ is flapped. The length of the last vowel definitely belongs to intonation; its quality is not quite [i], but it’s closer to that than to [ɪ], and it’s not diphthongized.

    In the Greek pronunciation, I find the complete lack of palatalization interesting.

    The best example of [ɤ] I can find is the second vowel in the Wikipedia recording of the Bashkir word for “9”, туғыҙ.

  29. The /u/ is a diphthong, like [uᶷ].

    The final fricative is mostly an [s]. There’s a very short bit of voicing in the beginning which lends its flavor to the rest, like a slice of onion left uncovered in the fridge.

    To continue in this vein, I think [ɤ] is an ingredient of some versions of phở.

  30. David Marjanović says:

    Where did you find the glyph ᶷ? Anyway, I can’t identify such a sound in the video.

    Yes, I can’t hear any voice in the /z/ at all. Should have paid attention.

    Yes, ơ is supposed to be [ɤ].

  31. John Cowan says:

    ᶷ is U+1DB7 SMALL MODIFIER LETTER UPSILON, but what that is supposed to be for, I don’t know. The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet uses superscripting to mean ‘ultrashort’, but does not as far as I can tell use upsilon for anything. Americanist and extIPA (for disordered speech) notation don’t use it either, except of course that every IPA letter is also extIPA. The Unicode NamesList.txt file, which often carries provenance information, has nothing to say here except that most of the letters in this block are UPA (but not all). So it may be UPA, which is woefully underdocumented in English, and is inherently more complex than IPA anyway, carrying more information.

  32. I’m not sure how official superscripts are. They are used, informally anyway, to lessen the salience (typically duration) of the superscripted sound compared to the regular-sized one next to it.

    (If you use a Mac, the wonderful IPA Palette makes it easy to superscript symbols where available, by using the option key.)

    Now I’m not so sure about that part of the vowel either, but it’s a diphthong, perhaps because of the following [b].

  33. John Cowan says:

    Superscripts are totally official in Uralic, which was developed independently of the IPA. Similarly it uses small caps as a diacritic for ‘only partially voiced’, something the IPA has to write with a ligature.

  34. David Marjanović says:

    U+1DB7 SMALL MODIFIER LETTER UPSILON

    Ah. I only just found out that the Windows 7 character table has nothing between U+11F9 HANGUL JONGSEONG YEORINHIEUH (ᇹ) and U+1E00 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH RING BELOW (Ḁ)… in the font Arial Unicode MS, to which I had the character table set for close to 20 years. Now I notice that the new & improved version of Arial has filled this and other gaps… but it has other gaps; ᇹ is in one of them. Yay.

    Yes, the UPA generally tries to be more precise than the “International Phonemic Alphabet”. Before the concept of the phoneme became popular, Uralistics went through a phase called furor phoneticus, beautifully illustrated in section L3 (pp. 307–8) of this pdf.

    ‘only partially voiced’, something the IPA has to write with a ligature

    The IPA actually has two half-rings for “initially devoiced” and “finally devoiced”.

  35. Stu Clayton says:

    Now that audio clips are ubiquitous, IPA can be phased out. Has nobody noticed ? That’s one kind of Schriftfixierung out the window, the other kind may take longer. Hint: instead of glyphs, audis (sound bites).

    There’s a little problem still – pictures don’t slow you down. Speech is constrained by linearity, one damned thing after another while you wait. But voices can be superimposed, as in a rock band performance. So it’s not insoluble.

  36. Now that audio clips are ubiquitous, IPA can be phased out.

    Not in the least. An audio clip can be a blur (especially if it’s Danish); it takes symbols to make clear what’s going on.

  37. Stu Clayton says:

    But audio clips, even those with Danish, can be speeded up, slowed down, replayed, subjected to Fourier analysis, inspected for messages from aliens. We’ve all seen it in the movies. IPA symbols do not support those operations.

    Just imagine the thesis topics that would spring up like dragon’s teeth on these new grounds !

  38. Stu Clayton says:

    Yes, I *know* about the dragon’s teeth. Crop failure is what I mean.

  39. John Cowan says:

    And acoustic phoneticians do all those things. But photographs of birds have not, and never will, supersede scientific drawings and paintings of them, because those can show a typical rather than an actual but highly particular bird of that species. An audiogram isn’t going to help you with the pronunciation of infinitesimal if the speaker has a sore throat (which distorts the whole thing) or a half-suppressed cough in the middle of it.

  40. Stu Clayton says:

    Audiograms can record typical as well as highly particular things. Photographs, scientific drawings and paintings can as well. The recording person chooses what he wants to record, and what to publish. He defines “typical” and “particular” for his purposes. The medium is not the message (communication is not possible without the distinction).

    An audiogram of someone with a sore throat saying “infinitesimal” can be useful. If the recording person wanted to record someone without a sore throat saying “infinitesimal”, then he will probably donate that audiogram to charity. If the recording person is investigating the effects of sore throats (or coughing) on the perfomance of voice recognition algorithms, he adds it to his pile of data.

    I tried IBM’s ViaVoice several times over the years, and finally gave up on it. It did not work reliably from one day to the next. That may have been due to smoking-induced throat soreness. More research was needed, but did not come forth

  41. ktschwarz says:

    I once picked up a book on bicycle maintenance that claimed to be superior because it used plenty of photographs. Big mistake. It was much harder to use than a similar book that used line drawings, because my visual system had to do all the work of distinguishing and recognizing the objects in the scene. With drawings, the artist has provided that level of abstraction for me, while removing the distractions of shadows and lighting. Phonemic transcription is to audio recording as technical drawing is to photography.

    (Edit: OK, phonemic transcription is a different *medium*. Say rather, phonemic transcription is to audio recording as a parts list is to a photograph of a bicycle.)

  42. It’s much easier to understand how to pronounce the word bee from the IPA [biː], than from looking at a sonogram plus waveform, reading the formants and normalizing them at a glance to recognize the vowel, observing the burst in the waveform and the following voicing to recognize a voiced or unaspirated plosive, and recognizing from the burst spectrum and duration and the formant transition at the beginning of the vowel that the plosive is bilabial. And that’s when the pronunciation and recording are ideal.

  43. a phase called furor phoneticus, beautifully illustrated in … this pdf

    As hearsay has it, some linguists would add diacritics at home to their field research material only to avoid the accusations of a lack of scholarly scrutiny

    Sorta; the well-attested (and sometimes explicated in dictionary intros) workflow has been for researchers to first note predictable allophony, write their records in a slightly more phonemic shorthand, and then re-add allophonic marking later.

    Also t́š́ȯ͕̆ă͕r̜̀v̀ᵉ-ɣȧ͕r̜̄ᴅ̜̄ᴱ has, taken segment-wise, actually almost no redundant diacritics: Skolt Sami has on the surface level in both vowels and consonants both a three-way palatalization distinction (r : : ŕ, a : : ȧ) and a three-way length distinction (r : : ¯r, ȯ̆ă : ȯa : ȱā); they only fully reduce to more manageable two-way contrasts by setting up a few fairly abstract foot-level prosodic features that would not really have been recordable in the field either, and on which the correct phonological analysis remains unsettled.

    The later half of the 20th century saw also an opposing trend of “just remove all diacritics that seem unnecessary”; this sometimes ended up erasing real phonemic contrasts, often on grounds of failing to find exact minimal pairs.

  44. John Cowan says:

    Hence the famous heng for English [h ~ ŋ] allophony, not to be confused with the infamous heng with hook [ɧ] which supposedly exists in Swedish (and in //s, is actually useful as a diaphonematic symbol).

  45. January First-of-May says:

    often on grounds of failing to find exact minimal pairs

    …which is why many analyses of Russian do not consider [ɡʲ, xʲ] to be separate phonemes from [g, x] (IIRC, minimal pairs technically exist, but involve obvious borrowings and/or highly nonstandard forms, and even then it’s hard to find exact minimal pairs), and only barely accept /kʲ/ as separate from /k/ because someone pointed out это ткётэтот кот.

    (I’m also reminded of unaimedunnamed in English, which is supposedly a minimal pair for consonant length – usually said not to be contrastive in English at all.)

  46. @January First-of-May: The words unaimed and unnamed are frequently homophonous in English. I usually pronounce both words the same way, with the short consonant. However, I actually do not like the way that sounds for unnamed, and if I am speaking very carefully, it gets geminated. So it is a minimal pair, but for a distinction that I do not make unless I making a conscious effort to enunciate that distinction.

  47. Bathrobe says:

    So it is a minimal pair, but for a distinction that I do not make unless I making a conscious effort to enunciate that distinction.

    I would geminate ‘unnamed’ whether or not I wanted to clarify the contrast.

  48. John Cowan says:

    What about the denominal verb? “She Unnames Them” is the title of a LeGuin story about a latter-day (I think) Eve undoing Adam’s work. Would you pronounce that geminated too?

  49. David Marjanović says:

    I’m also reminded of unaimed – unnamed in English, which is supposedly a minimal pair for consonant length – usually said not to be contrastive in English at all.)

    English has long consonants only across morpheme boundaries; the other famous example is penknife. And in languages that allow some long consonants inside morphemes, others may still occur just across morpheme boundaries, like /dː/ in my kinds of German ( = |t-d|, |d-d|) as opposed to /tː/ ( = |t-t|, |d-t| and |tː|).

    However, there are languages that lack long consonants even across morpheme boundaries; PIE evidently was one (*|s-s| = */s/, *|TT| = */tst/), and I wonder about attested Avestan.

  50. I can imagine saying unnamed with a short /n/ (though I don’t think I’d do it), but I absolutely can’t imagine it for penknife.

  51. David Marjanović says:

    Heng allophony and related cases, with a link to “IPA’s special-snowflake Swedish diaphoneme /ɧ/” and all its realizations.

    Heng allophony has also been postulated for German. It fails in and around Switzerland; elsewhere, it fails only for Sahel and the initial-stressed version of Sahara.

  52. As for the intended meaning of ‘lit’ here,I’m just young enough to have used it in this sense in college – applied to a social gathering, I immediately understand it to mean, uh, let’s say “like ré náo but more so.” A lit party is a party that started out ré náo and has gone on long enough and enthusiastically enough to be well past the ré náo stage and approaching the “cops arrive in answer to all the neighbors’ noise complaints” stage. But it’s been a while since I was in the vicinity of any lit parties, and meaning may have moved on.

Speak Your Mind

*