Tuesday July 17, 2007

"Peeps"

Run, do not walk, over to Crooked Timber and read this awesome Ph.D. defense story.  It even has a linguistic angle, namely reading pronunciations.

Oddly, I was just telling someone over the weekend that I'd love to do this as a prank.  I'd show up to my defense and pronounce all the technical terms wrong, as if I'd only ever read them: TYPE-a-LOW-gee for typology, ee-LATE-iv for elative, PAIR-a-DIME-a-tic for paradigmatic, HEER-artch-ee for hierarchy, and so forth.  For extra points, I could even, with a condescending smile, correct the audience members who would try gently to help out by pronouncing the terms correctly in their questions.  I think I could pull it off!

I am The Tensor, and I approve this post.
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Tracked on Jul 19, 2007 9:22:46 AM

Comments

That prank idea of yours sounds like some DIE-a-bo-LICK-al SA-bo-TAY-gee, as Bugs Bunny would say.

Posted by: Ben Zimmer at Jul 17, 2007 5:29:45 PM

I once annoyed a seminar teacher by pronouncing "pidgin" with a hard "g". I hated that it was homophonous with the bird, and so I pronounced around it.

BTW, while reading your archives I found a picture of you and realized that we attended the university together, and even had a class together.

Posted by: JS Bangs at Jul 17, 2007 5:32:29 PM

The author of xkcd has already realized the humor in purposeful mispronunciation to annoy pedants (link to comic)

Posted by: Jonathan Badger at Jul 17, 2007 6:31:52 PM

"ee-LATE-iv for elative"

The NSOED gives /I'leItIv/ as the pronunciation. Tomayto, tomahto.

Posted by: AJ at Jul 18, 2007 5:01:06 AM

Hmm, you're right, I guess I can't use that pronunciation of elative, then. (The American Heritage has EL-a-tive.) Maybe I should go with a-BLATE-ive for ablative?

Posted by: The Tensor at Jul 18, 2007 8:47:56 AM

BTW, while reading your archives I found a picture of you and realized that we attended the university together, and even had a class together.

Really? Which class at which university? (Send me email.)

Posted by: The Tensor at Jul 18, 2007 8:54:50 AM

Maybe I should go with a-BLATE-ive for ablative?

Sadly (?), a-BLATE-ive is also a genuine pronunciation, for an alternate version of the word used in medical contexts.

Posted by: Chalks at Jul 19, 2007 5:24:03 AM

Oh, good grief, that will teach me to read links and drink my coffee before posting comments in the morning. :)

Posted by: Chalks at Jul 19, 2007 5:25:47 AM

It might be a little career-ending, but if you're on your way out, it might be utterly worth it. (Or save it for a qualifying paper defense. Or an LSA talk after you have tenure. If I get tenure before you, I apologize in advance for stealing it.)

Posted by: Lance at Jul 19, 2007 10:06:49 PM