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Re: Metrical meanderings

From:Dan Sulani <dansulani@...>
Date:Friday, July 7, 2006, 6:44
On 5 July, Mark J. Reed wrote:

> I'm guessing this shuffling around of syllable boundaries in the > vicinity of consonant clusters happens quite regularly and just > usually goes unnoticed. I was wondering if any languages had phonemic > distinctions based on such boundaries, where, say, "ka-ching" and > "catching" and "cat shing" would all mean different things, and the > distinction would lie not in the emphasis or vowel quality but in the > location of the syllable boundary...
It's the basis for a lot of humor. Most of the jokes I remember (in English) involve a misunderstanding between a sound-stream which is not divided versus the same stream of sound which is divided. For example, in the July edition of Reader's Digest, there's this one: " What's the difference between a duck with one wing and a duck with two wings? Why, that's a matter of a pinion." The play, of course is on the sound stream: [@pIny@n] which, if not divided up is understood as "opinion" and if divided up, "a pinion" (Of course this only works in dialects where the first vowel in "opinion" is not [o]. ) This kind of humor also exists in Hebrew. I remember one sketch on TV where they showed a newsroom and there were problems with the broadcasting. When this happens for real, they put out an apology along the lines of "Please excuse the (broadcasting) failure". The sketch showed a woman dressed up as a bride running amok in the studio smashing up everything. The announcer calmly advised the viewers to please excuse [takala]. That stream can be understood as either (undivided) |takala| = "error, failure" or (divided) | (e)t-(h)a-kala | = "the bride". Dan Sulani ---------------------------------------- likehsna rtem zuv tikuhnuh auag inuvuz vaka'a. A word is an awesome thing.