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5:00 PM
Smeigh means clever or cunning.
Other interesting synonyms are apert and capax, doubtless from people reading too much French and Latin.
Also solert and callent.
@tchrist A whole DSM worth of terminology.
@CowperKettle Moron that later.
@tchrist Perhaps the origin for Smee in Barrie's Peter Pan?
@Robusto It says the smeigh for cunning < Early Middle English smēgh, related to Old English sméagan to consider, and that smee, smeeth for smooth < Old English smœ́ðe, sméðe (< smōþi-), related to *smóð smooth adj., which is rare in Old English but from c1400 has almost entirely supplanted smeeth.
But there's also the smee which was some sort of duck.
> Probably a later form of smeath n. It is not clear how either form is related to early modern Dutch smeente (Dutch smient), Low German smênt widgeon, German schmi-, schmü-, schmeiente a small wild duck.
@tchrist Smeagol?
Sorry if no diacritics.
5:08 PM
@Robusto Yes, same word.
> From Proto-Germanic *smaugijaną. Compare smēag (“penetrating, acute, subtle, effective, clever”), from Proto-Germanic *smaugaz (“slimy, slippery, slick”). Akin to Old English smūgan (“to creep, progress gradually or deliberately”), Old Norse smjúga (“to creep”) (> Danish smyge), Old English smyġel (“a burrow, place to creep into”).
For OE sméagan.
I love it when things click like that.
The duck smee is:
> A name variously assigned to the smew, widgeon, pochard, and scaup-duck.
How thoroughly English that is.
> 1668
Boscas Mergens, the Diving Widgeon; in Norfolcia, the Smee.
W. Charleton, Onomasticon Zoicon 100Citation details
The Smew, or Smee—sometimes called Nun..is the smallest member of the genus.
H. Saunders, Manual of British Birds 463Citation details
Smee—Widgeon, Smeeth Duck.
H. T. Cozens-Hardy, Broad Norfolk (Eastern Daily Press) 47Citation details
> 1.b.
smee-duck noun
A pochard.
On some parts of the coast of Norfolk I found that they are included with the Wigeon under the common name of ‘Smee-Duck’.
C. A. Johns, British Birds 516Citation details
Perhaps the duck is slippery when wet.
Verb: smēaġan
  1. consider, think about
  2. c. 992, Ælfric, "The Nativity of St. Andrew the Apostle"
  3. meditate
  4. examine, scrutinize, question
  5. Lindisfarne Gospels, Mark 8:11:
  6. Lindisfarne Gospels, Mark 9:16:
I can easily see that wearing down to just smee.
5:48 PM
Today's puzzle:
> She admired, and later became, the CEO of the company.
Is this sentence grammatically correct? Does it make any sense?
I'm uncertain.
6:18 PM
@alphabet I feel like I'd write that (especially with parens instead of commas), but I wouldn't feel great about it
I think I overuse parentheses
I might also overuse en dashes
7:17 PM
@alphabet If you believe in the transmigration of souls
7:48 PM
Gene of the day: CHRFAM7A. Only 75% of humans have it (in the active form). Non-human primates don't have it.
> The direct and inverted alleles have distinct phenotypes. Functional CHRFAM7A allele classifies the population as 25% non-carriers and 75% carriers.
> The study found that the active form of the CHRFAM7A gene activates the actin cytoskeleton, which provides structural support to cells, thus helping to make brain cells more resistant to stiffness, essentially becoming more flexible. buffalo.edu/ubnow/stories/2023/09/…
> “If you don’t have CHRFAM7A or you have less of it, you are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease because the brain is less structurally solid. But if you do have the active form of the gene, the drugs that we have now may not work as well because the Alpha 7 receptor for acetylcholine — which is what most drugs target — is altered.”
Very interesting.
India and Indian supporters on Canada India dispute are getting heavily criticized on Reddit. I wonder how the dispute going to change geopolitics. I know Ukraine conflict is not related to it at all, but now I understand why it's part of geopolitics and India will likely never abandon Russia.
8:13 PM
@alphabet It's grammatical, but it's a slight misdirect. It could be construed in such a way that it implies that she later became the actual person who was then CEO. That's what feels odd about it. And while the vast majority of people wouldn't be fazed by the misdirect, still they would have to deal with it.
9:29 PM
> And also the mad coote,
With a balde face to toote ;
The feldefare, and the snyte ;
The crowe, and the kyte ;
The rauyn, called Rolfe,
His playne songe to solfe ;
The partryche, the quayle ;
The plouer with vs to wayle ;
John Skelton in Phyllyp Sparowe, 1529
Unclear whether he's dissing old men or waterfowl there.
> mad as a March hare
mad as a hatter
mad as a bag of hammers
silly as a goose
cuckoo as a cuckoo
crazy as a cuckoo
crazy as a fox
crazy as a coot
crazy as a coon
crazy as a loon
crazy as a bedbug
crazy as a Bessie bug
crazy as a Betsy bug
crazy as a peach-orchard boar
crazy as a sprayed roach
crazy as a first calf heifer
crazier than a dog in a cathouse
crazier than an outhouse fly
crazier than an outhouse rat
nutty as a fruitcake
fruity as a nutcake
Let the vixen beware.
I've always heard the "outhouse rat" one with a "shithouse rat" substitution.
Q: What is the origin of the phrase "Crazier than a sh*thouse rat!"?

David MI can't seem to find an origin to this particular phrase. Can anyone shed some light on what makes sh*thouse rats particularly crazy? I also wonder about the origin of the similar *Bat-shit crazy". My suspicion is that someone coined them both because they sounded funny, but I was wondering if...

@Robusto That one's on George Carlin's shitlist.
@alphabet The stylistic effect is nice to my foreign ears. It looks like a "reverse flashback", like a movie scene in which we see a future event for a short time. I don't perceive any ambiguity, the chronology of events being obvious.
@alphabet Are you worried about the mix of transitivity? There's a fancy Greek term of rhetoric for what that's doing there.
@tchrist Are you thinking of prolepsis?
9:42 PM
I am not.
@tchrist Zeugma?
I'm spacing on it right now, as none of these quite seem to fit. But I have to carry in milk and frozen groceries now so can't search.
@jlliagre You think everything is zeugma. What a yoke!
scratching head
9:57 PM
@Robusto Ha, got it!
It was greek to me.
10:20 PM
Did you know? Phonetic transcriptions with lots of diacritics are called "narrow" because of their larger height-to-width ratio.
Anyway, I've been thinking about this question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/493003/…
About narrowly transcribing pronunciations of "orange"
My best attempt is [oɹ̈ˤʷ.ɪ̃nʒ̥]
But I'm not really qualified to answer
@alphabet I thought the "a" was an [ɛ]?
This way "orange" doesn't rhyme with anything.
@DannyuNDos It's certainly not the phoneme /ɛ/; in that case, it would end the same way as "Stonehenge," and I don't thing anyone pronounces it that way.
Maybe some people pronounce the /ə/ or /ɪ/ there as [ɛ] but not in General American.
For me, at least, it ends the same way as hinge. But it doesn't rhyme with hinge because the primary stress is on the first syllable, not the second.
So the stress is what matters... interesting.
@alphabet Citation? I'm more than a touch skeptical about this one.
@DannyuNDos Two words rhyme if they have the same sounds starting from the vowel in the stressed syllable.
@tchrist I make my own facts.
@DannyuNDos So "icicle" rhymes with "bicycle" and "tricycle" but not "sickle."
11:00 PM
Q: How many syllables does "orange" have, and what regional dialects show a difference in that number?

FrankIt seems whenever orange is spoken, it is spoken as one syllable. But it appears to be two. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary transcribes the pronunciation of orange as follows: \ˈär-inj, ˈär(-ə)nj; chiefly Northern & Midland ˈȯr-inj, ˈȯr(-ə)nj\ So, does this mean it could it be either...

Q: How do people actually pronounce "Orange"?

Araucaria - HimThere are questions on ELU about the phonemic transcriptions of orange in both British and American English in dictionaries. However, this being a site for linguists and all that, I thought I would indulge myself in a question about how people pronounce orange, in terms of what sounds they actua...

Their notation sucks wind but you'll get through it.
@tchrist Yeah, that's the one I was discussing; the answer gives a phonemic transcription but the question is actually asking for a narrow phonetic one
Hence my attempt [ˈoɹ̈ˤʷ.ɪ̃nʒ̥]
Part of the problem with orange is that there's a lot of secondary phonetic effects going on here, including both r-coloring and neutralization in that position. Notice we have no one-syllable rhymes with revenge.
When I am on my Unicycle I have lots of energy..
But on my bicycle I am two tired.
@tchrist I assume you think my transcription needs even more diacritics?
@alphabet Yes. It may be more of [ɲ] there, or maybe [nʲ]. The N mutates.
I have a very bunched up R there.
It's nothing like the one in rest.
11:12 PM
@tchrist I was thinking about that. I'm sure there's no non-nasalized voicing at the end of that word, but I'm not quite sure when voicing stops. I think (for me) that the final [ʒ] is fully devoiced but the [n] isn't.
I'm guessing that, if voicing persists at all after the [n], then you would end up with something like [nʲ]?
[ˈo.ˌɻɛnd͡ʒ], my pronunciation is, if not narrow enough.
The nasalization of the vowel happens in no other word in English the way it does here, I think.
@DannyuNDos You really think you have the vowel of wren there?
I can't say that you do or do not, but I do not believe I do.
@tchrist Normally the vowel before a nasal consonant is at least partly nasalized, but I think in this word it's fully nasalized.
I suppose French bain /bɛ̃/ might be like this.
I don't think you can pronounce orange correctly if you pinch closed your nostrils.
@tchrist Well, Korean borrowed the word as 오렌지, not 오린지 nor 오런지, so...
11:17 PM
@tchrist I don't think the /n/ is a palatal consonant, so not [ɲ], but I am willing to believe that it's at least partially so at the end. I think it depends on when exactly you think that voicing stops at the end of that syllable.
You have to get from N to the palatal. The nasal always mutates under regressive assimilation.
The same thing happens in many, many world languages to nasals.
Not in all, but in many.
@tchrist Yeah, but by the end the consonant cluster is voiceless, so does it make sense to mark that palatalization on the [n] itself?
I'm pretty sure it undergoes the usual devoicing unless it's followed by another voiced sound.
Notice every N before a consonant in Spanish gets its own narrow transcription for what happens to it there.
It happens in English, too: think of rank.
Grr why did I learn about ejectives. Now I hear all the clicking and popping sounds I tend to make at the ends of words (including rank, apparently).
Knock knock, Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Oranja glad I didn't say banana?
11:25 PM
Basically the story goes like this: A politics professor in South Korea drew her episode about the English language, and said like this:
When I was in the US and I asked for an [o.ɾen.d͜ʑi], no one understood me. So I re-asked for an [o.ɾyn.d͜ʑi], then they said "Ah, orange." and brought an orange.
I think everyone here would think she had no idea how English phonology works?
@DannyuNDos Were you online when we were discussing this very misguided lesson: youtube.com/watch?v=BzkwB2knvz4
That is not, in fact, the correct pronunciation of "Coke"
And don't trust an English teacher who uses "Please give me cigarette" as an example sentence
I know; it's /koʊk/ not /kɔk/.
I do wonder why she misheard that and managed to repeat it so confidently.
11:33 PM
Well, [kʰok] at least. They are some with an [ow] there but I am certainly not one of them. I have a simple monophthong.
I have [ow] in coarticulation though. You have to.
Phonemically /koʊk/ is how a dictionary would list it
Just to piss me off.
Argh you made me say a word with a /k/ at the end of it again and I ended up saying it as [kʼ].
The Brits have a /w/ there, and they think people from Wisconsin like me are weird that we do not.
Apparently this whole English ejective thing started in Britain and has now spread to the US
And I do it quite a lot
And now I keep noticing it
11:37 PM
Wait, English has ejectives now!?
Not [kʰok̚]?
Yes, some of us have ejectives now, most commonly with word-final /k/.
I don't. I'm not subject to trends like that. :)
I can feel that weird thing where my throat moves upward to squeeze the air together
And then it makes that loud popping sound
And now I notice that I do this constantly, much more than most AmE speakers, and probably more than most BrE speakers
I do have trouble doing that thing Lindsey demonstrates, where he keeps making [kʼ]s over and over while holding his breath. It's hard for me to hold the glottal stop after the [kʼ] for some reason.
11:46 PM
Dang. I wish Korean tense stops were ejectives. They appear only as onsets tho.
@alphabet The primary reason I despise that they write /oʊ/ is because /ʊ/ is the vowel from put, could, book, and absolutely nobody has that there. The secondary reason I hate it is because it should be a glide not a vowel. The tertiary reason I abhor it is because it disavows the authenticity of us many monophthongal speakers. It's just fake and misleading in all ways.
@tchrist The other problem is that [ʊ] can't occur at the ends of words (mumble mumble phonotactics), whereas [oʊ] can
Err... "shih tzu"?
That's right, you can't have an unchecked vowel there.
11:50 PM
@DannyuNDos That's usually pronounced with an [uː] (or rather a [uw]) at the end, not an [ʊ]. At least in English.
@CowperKettle Et qu’est-ce que c’est que ça si ce n’est pas quelque sorte de panneau de contrôle d’avion, tu sais ?
As a small kid, I used my dad's stereo system exactly for that, playing an airplane pilot.
That's hillariously apropos.
My dad's looked like these, the same layout.
This kind of Soviet hi-fi was made in the Baltic states and was the best you could get.
A wonder to behold.
Reminds me of a sound mixer.
11:59 PM
In Siberia, I could not catch anything on that radio.
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