Anatoly Vorobey (Avva) has posted about a series of videos he highly recommends: “Это очень, очень качественные и полезные материалы по английскому произношению” [This is very, very high-quality and useful material about English pronunciation]. He says (my translation):

I’ve been interested in linguistics and phonetics for many years, and I’ve read quite a bit about both English and Russian phonetics, and specifically about the problems of native Russian speakers in English, and I’ve written about it more than once. But this guy is a real professional, and he knows ten times more than I do, and can explain and demonstrate better than I would.

The channel is called PhoneticFanatic; I checked out an example Anatoly particularly recommended, Английское ударение, ритмика и сонорные согласные – Как лаять правильно [English stress, rhythm, and sonorant consonants — How to bark properly], and it really is that good. The guy talks about Scotch snaps and why they occur in English and Scottish music but not German or Italian (good examples from rap videos); about Kenneth Pike and how his division into stress-timed vs. syllable-timed languages has been refuted by later linguists (there is no clear distinction, and we perceive our languages as more rhythmic than they are); how Polish has differing consonant length (czysta vs. trzysta) and Czech differing vowel length (lože vs. lóže); how in Russian a longer vowel is perceived as stressed; how stress can be manifested in volume, tone, length, and vowel quality (Russians hear second-syllable stress in Czech Becherovka because of the length of the second /e/); he illustrates English stressed syllables with barks, chainsaws, and motorcycles; he explains that words ending in resonants, like fun, need a short vowel and a long consonant (“You pronounce these words wrong!” — similarly сын vs. sin, сам vs. some, был vs. bill — but only at the end of a stress group: “She’s the one” [n:] vs. “She’s one of them”); and how Americans draw out the vowel in words like hand, while Brits don’t. He talks about the need to overemphasize in practicing so you can do it right when you’re using it in speech. Furthermore, his Russian is so clear I never had any trouble understanding him, and I learned a lot about both Russian and English. I join Anatoly in his recommendation!


  1. David Eddyshaw says

    Kenneth Pike

    Nobody who has ever tried to get useful information out of a grammar written in what Dixon and Aikhenvald in The Amazonian Languages call the “impenetrable formalism of tagmemics” is going to be forgiving Kenneth Pike any time soon.

    (I was glad to read these words of D & A’s. “Oh, good, it’s not just me then …”)

    [“Stratificational Grammar” is even worse …]

  2. This YouTuber does provide some great (and accurate) insights which is why I was sincerely hoping him to be a rare type of a Russian-language instructor who is not shaming their students while teaching but alas… not this time.

  3. Pike’s phonetics stuff is much more readable, because phonetics is like that. There’s much less hidden, to be filled with academic hallucinations.

    I wish I knew more Russian, because this guy is really good, even if his delivery makes me think of a drill sergeant.

  4. Reminded me how I was listening to the adverstisment: Becherovka, koření života trying to figure out what is going on with Becherovka’s syllables and how they stress it and what is that sound in ř:)

  5. I’m only 3 minutes into the clip and the only thing clear so far is that his delivery is not that of a drill sergeant (have you met a drill sergeant? I never did, but this is not how I picture the role). It is a typical delivery of a Russian (maybe specifically Moscow) radio announcer (news reader, dj, the like). It annoys me, probably because of the exaggerated dynamic range. Maybe exacerbated by my Ukrainian upbringing and long-term stay in a much more mellow English-speaking world.

  6. Dmitry Pruss says

    a typical delivery of a Russian (maybe specifically Moscow) radio announcer (news reader, dj, the like). It annoys me, probably because of the exaggerated dynamic range.

    probably partly a descendant of the “verbal blizzard” techniques (гнать пургу) of the concert announcers of the mid-XX c. which may in turn be a descendant of sermon styles?

  7. David Marjanović says

    I think “syllable-timed” should be called mora-timed anyway.

  8. I was thinking of a certain type of a Russian stereotype, but didn’t want to go there…
    OK, not drill sergeant. Maybe a personal trainer, perhaps of the cureent trendy US type called “boot camp” training, where, I imagine, you are being sold a bit of theater to make you feel like you’re trained extra tough.

  9. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about mid-20c announcers. The only example stuck in my mind is Conférencier from An Unusual concert who sounded not at all like that.

    Later in the video, the annoying “pushy announcer” intonation gets somewhat leveled and some short fragments are even spoken like a normal person.

    15:00: this example doesn’t work for me, I am not enough Moskovite to say (or interpret) first syllable in дома́ as any sort of /a/. It is schwa, length be damned.

  10. There’s a rather appallingly homophobic video on his channel where he teaches Russians how to avoid talking with a “gay lisp” (perish the thought!). Midway through the video he considers switching careers and teaching American gays how to lose their gay lisps but in the end decides against it in case one of them fancies him (again, perish the thought, although looking at him it’s not really very likely)… Oh dear.

  11. Oh dear indeed.

  12. “I am not enough Moskovite to say (or interpret) first syllable in дома́ as any sort of /a/. It is schwa, length be damned.”

    Once my … fourth? cousin came here from the corner between Belarus, Russia and Ukraine (admistratively was all three in different times) and joked about Moscow accent, Ma-a-a-askva.
    That was funny, because they (and she personally…) are ack-ing much more distinctively than we do here.
    Cf. Belarusian [kaˈza] Russian [kɐˈza] Ukrainian [kɔˈzɑ] in Wiktionary.

    Yet everyone knows that Muscovites say Maaaaaskva. Even she.

    Всякiй изъ насъ и нехотя замѣтилъ, что въ нѣкоторыхъ губернiяхъ говорятъ па–масковски, свысока, т. е. акаютъ, а въ другихъ, напротивъ, низкiй говоръ, на о, или окаютъ.

    На этомъ общемъ распутiи столкнулись нарѣчiя, или говоры четырехъ странъ, и тутъ образовался свой говоръ, принятый нынѣ какъ образцовый, хотя даже и Москвичи не остались безъ присловья: Съ Масквы, съ пасада, съ авашнова ряда.

    Въ Москвѣ говорятъ свысока, высокою рѣчью, то–есть любятъ гласный звукъ а и замѣняютъ имъ звукъ о, коли на немъ нѣтъ ударенiя. Говорятъ: харашо, гаварить, талкавать, но это аканье бываетъ умѣренное, иногда а слышится почти только полугласное; оно составляетъ средину между двумя говорами, которые рѣзко и до приторности придерживаются двумъ крайностямъ, рѣчи на а и на о. Только немногiя Московки разстанавливаютъ слоги, въ плавной и важной пѣвучей рѣчи, и произносятъ московское а протяжнѣе и полновѣснѣе; большею же частiю письменный знакъ о, безъ ударенiя, сымается на нѣтъ подъ звукъ а. Прошу простить мнѣ это плотницое выраженiе.

  13. Ah, so he’s a Russian! (a sudden realization). I can’t listen to his videos at the moment, and for some reason I decided that he is an English speaker working in Russia.

    @Phil, he as homophobic as Kuwaiti comedies from 70s are sexist. That is, yes, he is.

  14. Most of the things he says are obvious or at least familiar to me although I have no training in phonetics or linguistics more generally. As Craig Raine wrote of Joseph Brodsky’s attempts at poetry in English, “The first thing he needs to acquire, if he is to make progress, is an ear.” It really helps if you have an ear for foreign speech but you can probably grow it by listening intelligently.

    The guy’s Russian sounds unnatural and unpleasant to me.

  15. David E: D & A overstate the case. Tagmemic formalism is as nothing compared to the Flame Ejectives, Lightning Morphs, and the mythical T.O.U.S. (Trees Of Unusual Size) to be found in the works of You-Know-Who’s school.

    [John C., screaming, is immediately raised — off the ground — and rapidly lowered by a T.O.U.S.]

  16. David Eddyshaw says

    Depends. Some of the Disciples produce quite useful and comprehensible stuff at times (I expect they are those who have not yet penetrated into the True Heart of the Mystery.)

    A concrete example is The Syntax of Welsh, Borsley/Tallerman/Willis, in the Cambridge Syntax Guides series, which has a very good and perfectly lucid chapter on Welsh historical syntax, to set against an extraordinary amount of pother elsewhere about how the rules for soft mutation of direct objects are difficult to account for in a Government and Binding framework (guess whether this is regarded as invalidating the framework, or as an opportunity for epicycle-building …)

  17. Back to PhoneticFanatic: a language teacher reads and uses sceintific publications (entering applied linguistics from teacher’s side). That’s great.

    Imagine a SyntacticFanatic.

  18. extraordinary amount of pother elsewhere about how the rules for soft mutation of direct objects are difficult to account for

    “Ah well,” said the old atheist anent the Resurrection; “it was a long time ago and we’ll hope it isn’t true.”

  19. Does это было давно и неправда exist in any other langauge than Russian? (a serious question).

  20. David Eddyshaw says

    “Thou hast committed…”
    “Fornication? But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.”

  21. Does это было давно и неправда exist in any other langauge than Russian? (a serious question).

    Not in those words, obviously, but you can get the same general idea in English with “that was long ago and far away” (if I’m correctly understanding the Russian; Wiktionary says it expresses reluctant acknowledgement of a fact that took place in the past, emphasizing its insignificance or irrelevance to the present).

  22. Dmitry Pruss says

    I think it may be a reluctant acknowledgement of something else, like an admission of exaggeration in one’s old man’s tails, or of irrelevance of the tidbit from the past. But not trying to minimize one’s past misdeeds.

  23. Kenneth Pike and how his division into stress-timed vs. syllable-timed languages has been refuted by later linguists

    @DM “syllable-timed” should be called mora-timed anyway.

    Sad! Because I’d always used that distinction to explain the difference between English vs French sound patterns. It’s a shibboleth (or so I thought) for French natives with even a very good English ‘accent’ that their syllable-timing sounds all too even.

    Wikipedia for ‘mora’ doesn’t mention French (nor Russian nor say if there are non-moraic languages) — and frankly seems to be a mess of contradictions. (wp on ‘Isochrony’ doesn’t seem aware Pike has been ‘refuted’, merely that ” speech scientists have tried to show the existence of equal syllable durations in the acoustic speech signal without success.” — suggest they’re the wrong sort of scientists, try musicians: compare “Ne me quitte pas” vs “If You Go Away”.)

    Then what terminology should I be using instead? And where’s a good source to understand it?

  24. you can get the same general idea in English with “that was long ago and far away”

    Or “The past is a foreign country”, if you want to be more Literary about it.

  25. suggest they’re the wrong sort of scientists, try musicians

    PhoneticFanatic refs Adam Neely on ‘Scotch Snaps in Hip-Hop’ (at about 3:40). Adam would be one of my top go-to’s for rhythm: his band/collective ‘Sungazer’ are seriously into weird stuff with beats — well beyond Brubeck.

  26. “Not in those words, obviously, ”

    John Cowan said almost those same words: “it was a long time ago and we’ll hope it isn’t true.
    Which made me realize that it is the first time I see it in another langauge.

    When I type
    “it was a long time ago” isn’t tru
    in Google, Google suggests
    it was a long time ago isn true anyway

    Which looks like someone’s attempt to convey the tone (English “anyway” does not have a literal translation, but it marks the tone) while making the syntax less weird. And indeed: It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past (a book title). The author used this “anyway”.

    Compare: “it was a long time ago and is not true” (, by a Russian teacher. When you translate weird Russian syntax and word play as weird English syntax, you create an impression that it is just a mistranslation. Also you make it weird in a new way. Both of them tried to make it more natural. A Russian speaker only minimally improved the syntax (adding “is”) and did not add “anyway”, either because she did not want to ruin the word play, or because she is less familiar with English pragmatics. Or both. I would do the same for both reasons: I do not want this “anyway”, and I would not have remembered it:)

  27. The thing about the Russian phrase is that it is weird. First, it is use of copulas:
    “it was long-ago and not-true”.

    For “long ago” an adverb/adjective is used, for “not-true” a noun. In English you do not use nouns in “it is not true”, unless it is emotional “it’s bullshit/nonsense”. Just like “bullshit” it is often used predicatively.

    The syntax is weird as in, say, “He was long ago and PM” as a responce to someone’s question “Is Winston Churchill the president?”. It creates an impossible pair, a compound predicate “to be [long-ago and nonsense]”.

    Worse: “long ago” is always past (*it is long ago). Claims about truthfulness are timeless (the same way as Harry Potter is a character). *it was bullshit that humans could fly to space.

    It can be parsed as “it was long-ago and [is]-not-true”, but “and” pulls surrounding words together creating this paradoxal predicate. Besides and’s capacity to connect “was” and present zero copula is questionable too.
    I’d say, both “it was [long-ago and not-true]” and “it [was long-ago] and [[is] not-true]” are present.

  28. Second, there is not a word for “anyway”. It is a simple proposition. In Russian you could fix it:

    Это было давно, и вообще это неправда

    “вообще” plays the role of “anyway”. It marks the following as a new unit and a possible argument of “and”. Repetition of “it” provides “and” with an argument much better than zero copula. (cf. Russian / Arabic definitions: “Africa — this continent”, “this” stands for “it is“) and excludes compound predicate reading.
    Both вообще and это ruin paradoxality, each on its own level, functional/discoursive an syntactical.

  29. But then it will be absolutely natural, transpared Russian phrase that you can compose on fly… and transparent phrases do not make good idioms (unless they are quotations). There must be something wrong with an idiom, something that makes you interpret and remember it as an unique unit. It must be a bit of a kenning.

  30. Now, the above is not of course, something, that I expect from other langauges.

    But the meaning itself is paradoxal too. If it was a long time ago, how it can be not true that it was so?

    And this is something I do expect, just haven’t seen anywhere, apart of maybe JC’s line.

  31. Regarding the use, DE is right.

    It can be “I heard you are an expert in Meroitic” “Oh, that was a long time ago and [untrue]. Now I am a journalist. But why do you ask?”. Or it can be a striper, not an expert.

    It can actually be a long time ago… or maybe the person did that just yesterday and is going to do it today, then it is more coquettish. It is always playful to some extent. And it can be fornication.

  32. It is a Humpty Dumpty portmanteau clause.
    It is constucted from
    (1) it was a long time ago (a fixed phrase)
    (2) it isn’t true (a much more often repeated and thus even more fixed phrase).

    In both phrases “давно” (adverb, adjective or predicative, where predicative is a part of speech) and “неправда” (a noun) are very predicative. So they are combined. But, again, word play is not what I expect from any other lnaguage, only the logical structrure and logical paradoxality.

  33. David Marjanović says

    Sad! Because I’d always used that distinction to explain the difference between English vs French sound patterns. It’s a shibboleth (or so I thought) for French natives with even a very good English ‘accent’ that their syllable-timing sounds all too even.

    I think what’s been refuted is only the concept that there are just these two states and every language is at one extreme or at the other. That’s what the WP:Isochrony article ends up saying.

    Or maybe this even refers to the much earlier refutation of the long obsolete idea that each syllable is “a separate puff of air”.

    With mora-timing I was thinking of this, where Romanian is called syllable-timed before it is carefully explained that longer syllables are literally longer, i.e. each coda consonant adds to the phonetic length of a syllable. I think the parenthetical mention that mora-timed languages exist (with a link to the isochrony article) wasn’t there the last time I looked.

  34. Andrej Bjelaković says

    I am surprised no one has mentioned the famous line from Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta:

    Thou hast committed—
    Fornication: but that was in another country;
    And besides, the wench is dead.

    Friar Barnardine and Barabas, Act IV, scene i

    (The line has been referenced by T.S Eliot, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, etc.)

  35. David Eddyshaw says
  36. Andrej Bjelaković says

    Note to self: never skim the comments immediately upon waking from a nap

  37. The thing about the Russian phrase is that it is weird.

    In this Wiktionary article they have an unexpected stress in the Cyrillic (да́в-но) but the expected one in the phonetic transcription (dɐˈvno); I presume the latter is correct? (Either way, someone should make it consistent!)

  38. @Languagehat, yes. Unlike далеко, далёко, далече (that inspired a similarly named rock song*) and farther-further and despite давний I know this word in only one version:/

    * L. Fedorov from a group АукцЫон. Their lyrics are usually surrealistic (normal for Russian rock), so unsurprisingly they also recorded Khvostenko’s versions of Khlebnikov’s poems.
    it is mostly words associated with words, associated with words, it made me notice that we have 3 far words. I thought if farther and further are used anywhere… Well, maybe “farmost reaches furthest sights”, Procol Harum.

  39. But the meaning itself is paradoxal too. If it was a long time ago, how it can be not true that it was so?-
    The paradoxical is what makes it so great and funny. In a way it reminds me about that old joke about two people complaining about a restaurant: “It’s really dreadful. The food is inedible.” “Yes, and the servings are so tiny!”

  40. I think that quote from Marlowe is something that may still be famous in Britain, but not so much in America. The first time I encountered it was in the title of one of the last* Inspector Morse mysteries, “The Wench is Dead.” It seemed like it had to be an allusion to something, but beyond that, I initially had no idea. Marlowe’s play is virtually never read or performed in North America. While “The Merchant of Venice” can be controversial, “The Jew of Malta” is treated as straight-up antisemitic propaganda.

    * In the television version, Morse corrects the record on a nineteenth-century case by reviewing the file while he is recuperating in the hospital following a cardiac episode, a few weeks before the larger myocardial infarction that kills him. I don’t know what happened in the book, however, since the author Colin Dexter had Morse die from complications of diabetes rather than a heart attack. I can think of two reasons that the television producers may have changed the cause of death. First, they may have felt that John Thaw would not have fit the expected appearance of somebody with severe type II diabetes. (Thaw himself, after decades if heavy drinking and smoking, fell to esophageal cancer when he was only sixty.) Second, the abruptness of a heart attack also let them give Morse a memorable death scene, collapsing in the center of one of the Oxford quadrangles.**

    ** Back on language topics: Why is the word for a four-sided courtyard on a college campus quadrangle? It has always seemed so weird to me, since such quads usually have rather well-defined sides, but not corners. There usually aren’t even really angles at all, just gaps between the halls.

  41. David Eddyshaw says

    I think it owes its familiarity pretty much entirely to being used as an epigraph by TS Eliot (not himself free of antisemitism, alas.)

    I agree, incidentally, with an old friend of mine that while Prufrock shows promise, the Other Observations could perfectly well have remained unobserved, and nothing much of value would have been lost.

  42. PlasticPaddy says

    Wikipedia is factual and does not comment on the story title…

  43. David Eddyshaw says

    I’ve never quite got over the fact that Colin Dexter thought that “Yukio Lee” was a plausible name for a full-blooded Japanese person. I don’t quite see this notion that his stories are in some way intellectual

    (Also, Marlowe would win against Morse. But not Poirot. Still undecided about Miss Marple.)

  44. Re: quadrangle

    In analogy of triangle? Apparently, it is not quite dead as a term for a general four corners, four sides figure. Otherwise, we have triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon and then it’s -gon all the way up. So it is English, Latin, and then Greeks. But, there is trigonometry too. Euclid used πλευρών (sides, for those like me who has to google for our Greek) and it is used in Modern Greek as well. Next time, let’s say tessapluron and see what happens.

  45. When we (my freind and I) were helping a German girl with math, another German word that impressed me was the word for triangle, Dreieck. I did not even understand her at first, Russian mind hears any -ek as a suffix. “What, and the next one is Viereck?” “Yes, Viereck…” “and Fünfeck!?” “Yes!”. “You know, Russian words are like treugol’nik, chetyryokhugolnik, …”. You do not expect people who are able to mumble Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit clearly, in half a second, in a relaxed girly manner to call it Dreieck.

  46. Kate Bunting says

    In the book, Morse is in hospital after collapsing with a severe stomach ulcer.

  47. David Eddyshaw says


    Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken,
    Drei Ecken hat mein Hut.
    Und hätt’ er nicht drei Ecken,
    So wär er nicht mein Hut!

  48. For Germans it must be longer.
    Ek-suffixing me hears words like “fiver”. Elfeck sounds as “a little elf”. FOr a German it must be drai–’ek, a compound.

  49. Yes, a compound is what it is, as illustrated in DE’s classical ditty.

  50. If I were ever to put on the Marlowe Festival I’ve planned in my head, I’d stage The Jew of Malta as broad farce (which it is) and, after the final curtain, open it again on the cast singing Tom Lehrer’s “National Brotherhood week.”

  51. Why is the word for a four-sided courtyard on a college campus quadrangle?

    In order to allow this pair of limericks about Berkeleyan idealism:

    There once was a man who said “God
    Must think it exceedingly odd
        If He finds that this tree
        Continues to be
    When there’s no one about in the Quad.”

    “Dear Sir:
      Your astonishment’s odd.
    I am always about on the Quad.
        And that’s why the tree
        Will continue to be
    As observed by,
        Yours faithfully,

  52. David Eddyshaw says

    Bah! I refute your limericks thus.

  53. David Marjanović says

    people who are able to mumble Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit clearly, in half a second, in a relaxed girly manner

    Stress-timed language. 🙂


    Stressed on the first syllable, though. Compounds are usually stressed on wherever the first member is stressed.

    Bah! I refute your limericks thus.

    I like to distinguish truth from reality. Reality is what science is concerned with; it is that within which the argumentum ad lapidem is not a logical fallacy. ^_^

  54. ‘ was for a glottal stop, that is, it played the same role as the dash. But maybe I got it wrong.

  55. David Marjanović says

    Ah. Glottal stops only go in front of stressed syllables: [ˌʔ]Astero[ˈʔ]iden und Ko[ˈ]meten.

    (And then only north of the White-Sausage Equator, but that’s where most people live.)

  56. Ah. Glottal stops only go in front of stressed syllables: [ˌʔ]Astero[ˈʔ]iden und Ko[ˈ]meten.
    In my dialect, -eck as a compound element always begins with a glottal stop, and so do all transparent second compound elements that otherwise would have an initial vowel, e.g. Weltall is ‘vElt?al (I’m using X-Sampa in order not to have to cut and paste IPA symbols). One can argue that there is a weak secondary stress on the second element, but IMO this is more about syllabification. What do you have here, something like vie-reck, wel-tall?

  57. David Marjanović says

    So you have secondary stress on -eck, then. 🙂 Logical; I should have guessed.

    In Viereck, like in Asteroiden, I just have a vowel cluster: [ˈfiːɐ̯ɛkː], -[oˑˈiː]-.

    Unlike farther north, syllabification doesn’t enter into it; present or former /r/ bends all vowels into diphthongs in [ɐ̯], regardless of syllable boundaries, length or stress. Tor, Tore is [toːɐ̯], [ˈtoːɐ̯ʀɛ] for me; you probably say [toːɐ̯], [ˈtoːʁɵ] (unless you aspirate the /t/) – overlong syllables are much more generally avoided north of the White-Sausage Equator, while south we seem to downright love them as if to troll the typologists.

    The Central Bavarian word-medial postvocalic lenition is not carried over into Austrian Standard German, but the word-final one is, and because the dialects have L-vocalization (Welt is /vœd/), /l/ does not count as a consonant for this purpose. Thus, Welt is [vɛlˑd̥], and Weltall is [ˈvɛld̥alˑ].

    (I mean, I actually say Weltraum instead, but that has the same [d̥].)

    Former /r/ does count; Art, zart, hart and the like all end in [t] despite non-rhoticity.

    Welten is construed separately: its t is not word-final, so it is read as [tˑ].

    (…I’ve tried to transcribe all the lengths as pedantically as possible. In part because I happen to be in that mood right now, in part to show the effects of stress-timing which may be a bit more noticeable in Austria where most of the dialects lack phonemic vowel length completely.)

  58. I mean, I actually say Weltraum instead

    I automatically associate that word with Weltraum-Expedition der Space Beagle, which I’ve owned for many years now.

  59. you probably say [toːɐ̯], [ˈtoːʁɵ] (unless you aspirate the /t/)
    Yes, and I aspirate the /t/. You don’t aspirate initial prevocalic /t/ down South?

  60. Lars Mathiesen says

    Min hat den har tre buler, tre buler har min hat! I was just wondering where that came from yesterday, under the assumption that is was recent enough to have an English source but unable to divine a word that would fit the metre. (bule = ‘dent,’ painfully deficient in syllables). The German source explains much, but clearly nobody was able to come up with a sense- and metre-preserving word in Danish.

    (trekantet hat in Danish is this thing, part of 18th century civil servant dress and also known as a “gravy boat”).

  61. Wikipedia has German, English, Swedish, and Portuguese versions of the song.

  62. David Marjanović says

    A Hebrew version on YouTube was posted here at some point.

    You don’t aspirate initial prevocalic /t/ down South?

    The whole point of the High German consonant shift was to get rid of aspiration. 🙂 My /t/ sounds like those of French, Russian or Japanese. (Not that of Spanish, that’s my /d/.)

    In one of my first English lessons, we were explicitly taught how to aspirate. Because we weren’t taught not to aspirate after /s/, I just aspirated there too for many years – it didn’t come naturally because aspiration itself didn’t.

    bule = ‘dent,’ painfully deficient in syllables

    …two, just like Ecken?

  63. Lars Mathiesen says

    Yes, bule has two, but I was trying to force-fit the verse to something in English. And dent doesn’t work.

  64. “trekantet hat in Danish is this thing”.

    In my childhood треуголка “tricorn” was the name of pirate hat with three corners. And there was this thing, and also Napoleon’s hat, and no one knew how to call them, so people said треуголка, but it was obvious that it is not three corners. Sometimes you would describe it “hat, like Napoleon’s just different”.

    It is not that no one could invent двууголка “bicorne”, but no one said it, and thus no one said it, because no one said it.

    Enen now I type in yandex шляпа наполеона and it suggests: шляпа наполеона как называется но не треуголка “hat of-napoleon how called but not tricorn”.

    On the other hand, this llooks like a tricorne…

  65. David Marjanović says

    Not called “corners” but “tips” in German: Zweispitz, Dreispitz.

  66. Trond Engen says


    Min hatt den har tre kanter, tre kanter har min hatt, og har den ei tre kanter, så er det ei min hatt.

    I’ve always assumed it was imported wholesale from Danish,

  67. Only two and a half years ago… (with the Hebrew version link).

  68. Just found a photo of man in ushanka in Russian Wikipedia subscribed ламберсексуал в ушанке, “lumbersexual in ushanka”. Also they have an article in Russian WP (but not in en WP) and it is ламберсексуал. Meanwhile, Russian allows word play, drovoseksual, either:
    drov- “firewood”, -o- connective, -sexual or
    drovosek “lumberjack”, sexual
    That is, it is a literal translation, but as good as if lumberjack were “lumbersek”. Such coincidences happen once in decades. And yet they use transliteration. I wonder if it is because drovosek makes them think about an ordinary bearded man (like the guy in the pictrure…), while lamberseksual is so foreign, so modern?

    (Actually, I was googling for treukh, “three-eared-hat”)

    treugolka is not too different from treugol’nik. A female triangle is treugolnitsa of course, both deadjectival (adj. suffix -n-), while treugolka is denominal. But still close.

    I haven’t seen треугольница. I googled it.
    Dahl’s dictionary says it is a shell of Donax. spp.
    Also it is a river.
    Also someone invented a script and called it so.

  69. Lars Mathiesen says

    I cannot refute the hypothesis that Danish may be the origin of the version with kanter, but it was not the one I was taught. I guess we had to replace it once the Norwegians took it.

    And yeah, the pastry thing is more like a pirate hat than what Napoleon wore, but it has to fit a lot of marzipan inside.

  70. A musician tangling with syllable stress: where is the stress in James Brown’s “I Feel Good”?

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