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Re: languages in reverse

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Saturday, June 16, 2007, 16:58
Stevo wrote:
> Has anyone worked with reverse English (which when recorded and played > backwards, is heard as normal English)?
Do I understand this correctly: 1. record a text, play it backwards 2. learn the backwards text, and record it 3. play that recording backwards (outcome should be normal language). It can certainly be done, and has been. The result has a certain breathy and slightly "wrong" quality, but is understandable, yes. Back in the 50s, there was an LP put out by a (pseudonymous?)(European?) group called Elsa Popping and Her Pixieland Jazz Band, that did several songs with that method. There were also instrumentals using the same technique. All thoroughly weird :-)))) I owned that record, but lost it when I went overseas. OMG. I just googled it..........copies are still available!!!!! Speaking backwards is another matter; you need to work from a rather broad phonetic rendering (include aspiration and offglides, but more detail is unnecessary, so "tame" should = [mjeht] but it won't sound anything like English (or whatever language); intonation is hard to reproduce; and of course the airstream will be wrong, you can't speak coherently while inhaling :-). Aspiration/preaspiration will either be too prominent (breathy) of missing (not Engl.).... In grad school a group of us had a little session-- Prof. John Lawler did a very fluent Humpty Dumpty (years of practice), I produced the opening of Don Quixote ([aSt'namal ed 'raGulnu ne] En un lugar de la Mancha...) and a girl produced Hindi ([im'im 'ma:n @r'em] Mera naam Mimi). Great fun. There was backwards-speaking in one of the early episodes (dream sequence) of "Twin Peaks" back in the 90s. Long ago we had a tape recorder whose intro tape had somehow got rewound backwards. I listened to it in total puzzlement many times-- sounded like Russian (lots of palatalization because of -y offglides), spoken with a Swedish accent (lots of ups and downs in the intonation). [ojI'r\its] stereo (the tape's, not my, pronunciation) ['njan @bmVn] Number nine (non-rhotic)