Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 13:41 on 23-05-2012, James D
Maybe it's best if we aren't that popular, then we won't be tempted to put subliminal messages into articles to mould public opinion. Everyone realises that would be a terrible thing!

I thought you guys were already doing that, but with liminal messages.
at 10:12 on 23-05-2012, Arthur B
Oh, if only we were that influential. Brilliant, that's what it would be. Everyone would come to us for our sage advice. You'd have to wonder whether the power would go to our heads.

Maybe it's best if we aren't that popular, then we won't be tempted to put subliminal messages into articles to mould public opinion. Everyone realises that would be a terrible thing!
at 06:28 on 23-05-2012, James D
Holy shit, the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy apparently just topped 10 million in sales. :|

I thought everyone would have stayed away after the negative comments here!
at 22:44 on 22-05-2012, Melissa G.
The overwhelming presence of moe crap into the market (and harem blahdeblah) is why I no longer consider myself an anime fan. The stuff they were bringing over when I was into it is much different than the stuff that comes over now. I'm been talking to my friends about it, and I'm not the only one who feels this way. It's a bummer. :-(
at 21:52 on 22-05-2012, Arthur B
Never mind, checked Wikipedia. Hm.

I guess you can legitimately try to defend being a moe fan.

But being that desperate to defend being a specifically heterosexual moe fan implies bringing your sexuality into an arena it possibly shouldn't be going to.

And using it to take a bold stand for the rights of white people is one of the most incredible non sequiturs I've ever seen.
at 21:35 on 22-05-2012, Arthur B
What is a "male heterosexual moe fan"? Is it someone who really likes the misanthropic self-hating bartender character from The Simpsons but not, you know, like that?
at 21:23 on 22-05-2012, valse de la lune
What is in the anime fandom water? First that Moritheil dude, and now this guy.
at 20:13 on 22-05-2012, valse de la lune
FWIW, I find many American accents fairly unpleasant to listen to (and sometimes hard to understand). Oddly, I've a grand old time with any accent originating from the Indian subcontinent--it's not difficult to understand at all.
at 18:41 on 22-05-2012, Adrienne
Also, Shimmin, I just requested to add you as a friend on LibraryThing. (Though i haven't actually added most of my books at all yet. I keep getting sidetracked.)
at 18:38 on 22-05-2012, Adrienne
Also, Shimmin, I haven't read that book, but i'm pulling up the info now and wishlisting it! Thanks for the rec!

One of the things I keep giggling at over in my Amazon recs is that because I've been reading a bunch of YA and MG sf/f lately, I keep getting recs for fiction by Donna Jo Napoli. Who turns out to be a fairly prominent/good YA and MG author, as well as a well-known syntactician and author of one of the most-used college textbooks on the subject. :)
at 18:37 on 22-05-2012, Adrienne
Shimmin: Awesome! That's very much the same as the list of things I'm interested in. My bachelor's degree is actually in anthropology & sociology, largely because my school didn't HAVE a sociolinguistics degree. :) I've studied lots of bits related to language and linguistics, though.

Ibmiller: I would never have moved here to the Frozen Tundra (i hate winter), except i got hired by the coolest company in the US.

Janni: there's definitely a lot of nordic influences on their pronunciation as far as i can hear. But the 'o' thing in particular is ... well, if i could describe it i'd have a better chance of knowing how they do it in the first place! :) I =think= they're pronouncing it lower-and-farther-back than o normally goes, and then also kind of turning it into a diphthong; it sounds kind of swallowed but also kind of like it wants to be 'ou'.

...actually, come to think of it, the Minnesota accent seems fond of diphthongs in general. An example that comes up all the time at work (i work in web development) is the word 'templates'. I pronounce it tem'-pl/ə/ts with a barely-there vowel sound and a stressed first syllable; everyone else up here pronounces it tem'-pl/ei/ts' with the diphthong and nearly-equal stress on both syllables.
at 18:16 on 22-05-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
i CANNOT figure out how they do that thing they do with their o's.

How does it go exactly? I know the accent but I guess i haven't paid enough attention since I can't hear it now. The widely believed fact is that the Minnesotan accent and the one they went in Fargo is influenced by Norwegian and Swedish, but of course the connection is not so direct as the influence is a hundred and more years old. The Swedish or Norwegian I know seems very fast and flowing, but the immigrants probably had their own accent and probably from some more remote parts of the countries from a less urban age.

As it comes to accents in general, I've always found African accents quite nice sounding in the sort of soft, I-don't-know-how-else-to-describe-it way like Ethiopian, Kenian and Nigerian accents. Actually I would say that in reality, how nice an accent sounds depends most on the speaker, since a fluent person will sound nice coming from anywhere. At least as far as I've experienced it. But of course english is not my first language. And of course cultural stereotypes is a different matter in any case.
at 09:57 on 22-05-2012, Shim
Shimmin: I'm an amateur linguist myself, but i have no academic credentials in it. :) Always happy to get into linguistics conversations with anyone, though! I actually keep meaning to ask what brand of linguist you are, if you have a specialty? I am particularly fascinated by syntax.

Academic credentials are for show mostly, and a few years ago now :) I'm a jack-of-all-trades, but I tend towards the applied and comparative end, so things like dialect, socioling, anth ling, and so on and links into social and cultural stuff generally. I also studied some EFL theory, translation theory, phon&phol and pragmatics. But basically I'm interested in everything that relates to actual languages and people. The high-end theory or philosophical stuff doesn't do much for me though.

Have you read "Understanding Syntax" by Tallerman? It's well good.
at 06:48 on 22-05-2012, Ibmiller
Adrienne - I am so jealous. I miss my home state, snow and all.

The "O" thing is, for me, a put on - a natural feeling one, but not something my parents (who are not from the area) do at home. However, people in more rural areas, especially those with Swedish or Norwegian heritage, tend to have a lot of it. So is there any connection with one of those languages?
at 06:27 on 22-05-2012, Adrienne
Ibmiller, speaking of Minnesota accents -- i moved here last year and i swear to god that despite having some training in and a fair understanding of phonology and issues of sound production, i CANNOT figure out how they do that thing they do with their o's.
at 04:02 on 22-05-2012, Ibmiller
Well...yes, while Canadians don't say "aboot," the ending "ow" sound is distinctly different than any US dialect/accent (including Minnesota, perhaps the closest in many ways).
at 02:51 on 22-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Oh, hey, the first teaser trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's new film The Master has appeared, and...well, you be the judge.

To clarify slightly, the movie has Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a lawyer-friendly version of L. Ron Hubbard and concerns the formation and growth of a lawyer-friendly version of the Church of Scientology.

Kinda contextualizes a whole lotta stuff in that teaser, doesn't it?
at 00:54 on 22-05-2012, Andy G
What about Jamie Bamber in Galactica? (Plus I've also heard some of the Canadians in the cast make glaring errors that only US Americans can notice)
at 00:35 on 22-05-2012, Ibmiller
Guy - I've not watched the Wire, so I don't have enough information to say. I just watched about ten minutes of various bits on YouTube, and it seems like he's probably in the same boat as Laurie (and Hugh Dancy) - if I didn't know, I probably wouldn't notice, but since I do know, I can hear when the accent is put on - sometimes things are over-deliberate, sometimes the casual diction is forced, sometimes the register is off (which is also a problem in the reverse situation with RDJ in the Sherlock Holmes films).

So, nothing conclusive, but tis very impressive. Much more so than anyone playing American on the BBC (that I've heard).
at 00:17 on 22-05-2012, Guy
@Ibmiller, I'm curious about what you think of Dominic West's accent in The Wire? To my ear, it seems pretty convincing, but of course I'm easier to fool because I'm a foreigner...

at 23:02 on 21-05-2012, Adrienne
Shimmin: I'm an amateur linguist myself, but i have no academic credentials in it. :) Always happy to get into linguistics conversations with anyone, though! I actually keep meaning to ask what brand of linguist you are, if you have a specialty? I am particularly fascinated by syntax.

One thing i'm usually too annoyed with to be fascinated by, linguistically, is when someone's accent makes two words into homophones that aren't homophones in my own dialect. Two examples: accents from the southern part of the United States tend to collapse the whole range of vowels from near-front to front and near-close to mid into a single sort of muddy sound, at least in closed syllables and sometimes everywhere. In Tennessee, determining whether someone is talking about a 'pen' or a 'pin' must be done ENTIRELY from context. And my mom's phoneme inventory (she's from a rural-ish part of the northeastern united states) doesn't distinguish between rounded and unrounded open back vowels. In high school I had a boss named Don and a friend named Dawn, and to her those names were pronounced identically, with the rounded version, which occasionally led to VERY STRANGE conversations.

Also I present for your edification (though you may have heard it, in which case it's for anyone else's edification) possibly the most abstruse linguistics joke ever:

Q: Two linguists were walking down the street. Which one was the specialist in contextually indicated deixis and anaphoric reference resolution strategies?

A: The other one.
at 22:30 on 21-05-2012, Robinson L
Ibmiller: And yes, Robinson, Hugh Laurie is pretty good (though I can tell since I know the times he's faking it). But he's kind of the exception that proves the rule.

Oops, missed this in my last comment. Sure, he's the exception, but he's too big an exception not to bring up somewhere. (insert smiley face here). I particularly like it when he (as House) tries to fake a British accent. Ahh, meta humor.

Shim: It may be though that there is a technical use of "accent" and "dialect" in some theatrical circles along the lines Robinson mentioned, though I've not encountered it before.

Nope, they were specifically correcting my use of the word "accent" when referring to an English speaking person who had a distinct form of English pronunciation (maybe Scottish or Australian or something). It looks like either I misunderstood what they were telling me somewhere down the line, or they were just wrong.
at 21:45 on 21-05-2012, Dan H
So for example, I generally speak Standard English with a mild Wirralian accent, whereas Kyra speaks it with a mild South Shields accent and Dan with... probably a mild somewhere-in-London accent but I'm really bad with Southern accents.

I think I speak relatively BBC English actually, because my Mum was very big on "correct" pronunciation, so people at school insisted I sounded "posh" but most of my family was at least slightly cockney so I kind of wound up talking like Bertie Wooster in a Guy Ritchie movie.

Side note, part of me really wants to release a concept album called "Near-open front unrounded vowel" so that Wikipedia will have to have a page entitled "Near-open front unrounded vowel (disambiguation)".
at 21:41 on 21-05-2012, Shim
Oh come on Daily Mash is this the best you can do? Clearly made up.

Any fule no there are no balrogs in Warhams.