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CHAT: Blandness (was: Uusisuom's influences)

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Sunday, April 1, 2001, 17:24
Raymond Brown scripsit:

> Some find Finnish bland, rather than beautiful - others, probably most, are > indifferent to it.
I haven't heard enough Finnish to comment, but this reminds me of the experience I had in a doctor's office a few months ago. I had to wait for several hours (I was being "squeezed in" to a busy appointment schedule), and for about half an hour I was an involuntary listener to a monologue in Polish, of which I understood nothing. A younger woman was speaking to an older woman at great length and with much emotion. I found myself being excruciatingly bored by this monologue, and I began to wonder why. I routinely listen to talk in other languages, and I'm usually quite intererested in picking out features even when (as is generally the case) I understand nothing. A memorable case of this was a long conversation on a cab radio, which seemed to be in French, but clearly contained much non-French phonology -- fascinating! (I afterwards found out that it was a language mixture: French and Wolof.) I finally concluded that the feature that made the monologue so boring was the unvarying rhythm. Polish has uniform penultimate stress, and (at least in this case) so-called "syllable-timed" rhythm. Spanish, of which I hear a good deal more than Polish, is likewise syllable-timed, but the location of the stress does vary considerably. -- John Cowan One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore --Douglas Hofstadter


Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Scott W. Hlad <scott@...>