March 30th, 2010

IPA on Nietzsche

 Okay so I have a few questions. The first is in regards to where in the world (wide web) can I find a system that allows me to type, fluently, in the IPA? I have one site now ( but it doesn't allow me to add nasalizations to vowels or other diacritics that I find necessary to producing a true transcription. I would prefer a website and not a program that I would have to buy (college kid, here).

Question two: If there isn't a system available for free, then could someone please transcribe the following passage for me? I would like it in severely narrow phonetics but without any particular accent. I guess I would ask for it in "Standard" English if there were to be such a thing. It's from Nietzsche's book Beyond Good and Evil. It's wicked long, I know, but even if you could do a line or two for me would be amazing! I have transcribed many versions and I'm just not satisfied.. maybe you Linguaphiles can throw something in there that I'm missing. Thank you! Tack! Gracias! Merci!

You want to live according to nature? O you noble Stoics, what fraudulent words! Think of a being such as nature is, prodigal beyond measure, indifferent beyond measure, without aims or intentions, without mercy or justice, at once fruitful and barren and uncertain; think of indifference itself as a power - how could you live according to such indifference? To live - is that not precisely wanting to be other than this nature? Is living not valuating, preferring, being unjust, being limited, wanting to be different? And even if your imperative 'live according to nature' meant at bottom the same thing as 'live according to life' - how could you not do that? Why make a principle of what you yourselves are and must be?

How different people hear AAVE.

Here is an interesting question: how did the man in this video know the callers on C-SPAN were black? (In the video, a caller complains that there are too many Black people calling in to the show.) It was probably because of the way that they spoke. I doubt that any of the callers were speaking full on AAVE (African American Vernacular English) on a radio show (most black people today, speak a subdued version, and tone it down or "switch" when talking to people outside of the community.) But, most of us can still be identified as black by voice due to an accent. There are some who hide it better than others. We surprise people when we show up in person "Oh didn't know you were black!" But, for me at least, totally hiding my race when I speak takes conscious effort. I can do it, but, more and more, I don't want to do it. As long as I'm speaking the grammar of standard English I don't think it should matter. **
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a little clueless
  • wottie

(no subject)


For all you linguistics people: is there a word for combinations of words/phrases that are just inherently funny? Are there any studies or articles out there about what sort of combinations are inherently funny? I swear I've read something similar to this before, but it's a bit hard to google for.

(This post brought to you by the phrases "robot unicorn attack" and "artifical cave maze", the latter of which brought an entire group of people to fits of giggles without anyone being able to explain why.)
you can't kill kim jong il!

Can anyone shed some light on a peculiar use of the English word "due" (or maybe it's do)?

This isn't actually my question, but a question someone posted over at reddit.

My mother likes to use the word "due" (it may be do, I'm not really sure what word it is, I just know the pronunciation) to mean "or else" as in, "Don't take anything away from him due he'll bite you". I don't know that I've ever heard anyone except for her and her family use it like that. Does anyone know anything about this construction?

Personally I've never heard of that usage before, and it seems that no one else on reddit has either, so I offered to post it at good ol' linguaphiles. Anyone have any ideas?
[hugh laurie] :|

Translation question - German

For a story I'm working on, I need a word or short phrase in German that would roughly approximate to something like "let go" or "hands off". I'm asking here instead of going to a dictionary because it's important that it would be something very natural for a German speaker to use - i.e. something that you might say instinctively if you were startled.

The setting is a vaguely '20s era steampunk mishmash, so while it's not all that important to be period-accurate I'd prefer something not too slangy or modern. The meaning isn't very important; I'd like it to be closer to the connotations of the above, but anything related to the idea of "stop touching me" works. The important thing is to get a word/phrase that's short and sounds natural, as it's probably going to show up in a couple of places.

Any help is appreciated, thank you!

Schoolboy error

I was looking up "schoolboy error" on to find out how old the expression was, and I was really surprised to find no entry for the phrase at all, and a small entry on Urban Dictionary. Basically the meaning is a really elementary stupid mistake, made by someone who should know better and is being mocked for the mistake. Your friends might say it to you if they see you doing something really stupid. Is it really that uncommon a phrase? I've heard it all the time growing up in SE England.