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October 5th, 2003


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06:14 pm - Polysyllabic
Today I have had definite reason to count the number of syllables appearing in each of 284 not-randomly-selected LJ usernames. There is a reason for this which hopefully I will be able to explain later; while I do do some pretty strange things for fun, this is not one of them. The way I pronounced the names (assuming silent underscores) the results are as follows:

1 syllable: 4
2 syllables: 33
3 syllables: 93
4 syllables: 100
5 syllables: 36
6 syllables: 16
7 syllables: 2
(mean 4.0105 X3.658 SHOW YOUR WORKING NEXT TIME, median 4, mode 4)

...and I thought jiggery_pokery was a bit of a mouthful.

The question this rises is: do you know anyone who habitually uses a LJ username with more than 7 syllables, with the condition that it must be naturally pronounced as a name rather than as a collection of initials? Names which include single-letter syllables are fine, so long as you wouldn't naturally introduce pauses between them - for instance, I would argue that owlman is clearly pronounced s (pause) j (pause) branford but that leiabelle is clearly pronounced lei a belle. (lnr is the exception in having a collection of initials which is pronounced as a name, but that's deliberate.)

I suppose that wwwwwwwwwwwwwww would have either fifteen or forty-five syllables and that 777777777777777 would have either thirty syllables if you pronounce each digit separately, sixty-one if you pronounce the number the British way or fifty-six if you pronounce it the American way without "and"s. I dare say you could beat it easily by finding a digit with three syllables when pronounced in some other language, too. I'm looking for real-world examples of polysyllabic LJ usernames, though.
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: ahhh, that would be telling

(23 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tunglov
Date:October 5th, 2003 12:53 pm (UTC)
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interesting.
[User Picture]
From:amuzulo
Date:October 5th, 2003 01:02 pm (UTC)

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People in lj_nifty might be interested in this too...
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 5th, 2003 01:34 pm (UTC)
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I shall take that as a compliment - thank you! - though I don't think it really hangs with some of the niftier stuff I've seen there in the years.
From:songmonk
Date:October 5th, 2003 01:25 pm (UTC)
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What is the British way of saying "7", and what is the American way without the "and"s?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 5th, 2003 01:32 pm (UTC)
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My belief is that the US would pronounce 777 777 777 777 777 as

Sev en hun dred sev en ty sev en tril li on,
Sev en hun dred sev en ty sev en bill li on,
Sev en hun dred sev en ty sev en mill li on,
Sev en hun dred sev en ty sev en thou sand,
Sev en hun dred sev en ty sev en

in fifty-six syllables, whereas in the UK, we would pronounce it

Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en tril li on,
Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en bill li on,
Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en mill li on,
Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en thou sand,
Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en

in sixty-one syllables. I could well be wrong, though. (It even makes no difference if you do the old-fashioned million/milliard/billion, but I doubt anyone has done for forty-five years.)
[User Picture]
From:lambertman
Date:October 5th, 2003 02:21 pm (UTC)
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I think it is more likely that those in the US would say tril yun instead of tril li on, and so on for the others.

Ya know.
[User Picture]
From:flourish
Date:October 5th, 2003 02:25 pm (UTC)
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Yep, I say tril yun, not tril li on, bil yun for bil li on, and mil yun for mil li on. :)
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:October 6th, 2003 06:27 am (UTC)
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whereas in the UK, we would pronounce it

Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en bill li on,
Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en thou sand
 sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en mil li on,
Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en thou sand,
Sev en hun dred and sev en ty sev en.

See, it does make a difference. (You may be right that few people have used the word `milliard' seriously within the last forty-five years, but the deflation of a billion is something that has happened much more recently than that.)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 5th, 2003 03:34 pm (UTC)

Now It Can Be Told

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An explanation.

Today is dancingrain's birthday. Hooray! She likes Tom Lehrer very much and introduced me to this animated version of Tom Lehrer's The Elements. Accordingly, for her birthday, I made her a new version of it, which features not chemical elements but some of the 284 names on her Friends list. (Hence the investigation - to try to work out which Friend should replace which element for maximum filkiscitudinousnesserosity.) Thankfully, she liked it.

"There's vanityfair, acadine, altricial, selene_rain,
And hermorrine and unanon and nmalfoy and fick_l_rine
And sarahtales, milenalupin, morganmuffle, psychobarfly,
And ina, amberavalon, slytherincesss, tobymalfoy,
sincelastjuly, ryokoblue, littlealex, anatsuno
And leiabelle and osanna and astolat and ari_o
And folk and psychodelica and cowlishaw and courteney
And iscaris and effervescent and keiyuki and kissaki.

"There's yasmina, t00baria, titanic_days, mark356
And black_dog, olympia_m, nefeleo, debellatrix
And chinawolf and crimson_stained and cohort and coffeesama,
And bauglir, blythely, littletort, anya_writer and alyeska.

"Isn't she popular?
I know she is.
I hope you're all taking notes, because we're gonna do the Friends-of next period.

"There's aegeus and andrewb and angiej and vinagrette
And salazaar and slytherlynx and sparkyred and think_secret
And thamiris and tradescant, samenashi, tancaliel,
dezzikitty and scribbulus and jlh and kcl
And news, machiavellian, and muffinbutt, markizafey,
maggie_malfoy, maybethemoon, mizzy2k, mawaridi,
and taradiane, the_letter_box, tolarian, trigaria,
And ask_hedwig and ashkitty and aome and arwena.

"There's kazzik, dracopottamus and dinahrae, kokopoko
And also thegraybook, emeraldsword, expetesso
And pegkerr, pylite, megd, raget, zorac, hirsch and lasultrix
And schanyl, shaylllla, slightlights, somesay, tall_man, kissed_ and potterstinks.

"These are some of the Friends of Erica who lives near Harvard,
We wish her Happy Birthday and we hope she knows she's lo-ved."


You can even listen to me singing it badly myself - which, even with the trickery, still isn't as quick as Tom Lehrer can do his version.
From:themightyuser
Date:October 5th, 2003 05:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA


That. Is the funniest. Wav file. I have ever heard. Ever.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah Chris Rocks!
[User Picture]
From:dancingrain
Date:October 5th, 2003 06:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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Isn't it the best? I thought it was pretty damn fantabulous myself, and not only that, Chris managed to time its arrival to exactly when I needed a pick-me-up.
:D
From:themightyuser
Date:October 5th, 2003 06:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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Hahahaha. Yes. It is. =)

Happy birthday to you, by the way, even though we don't know each other =)

Also, OMFG. That icon is pure hilarity!
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 5th, 2003 06:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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Some people are very easily pleased.

Being one of them myself, I think it is an entirely good thing.

Wheeeeeeeee!
[User Picture]
From:dancingrain
Date:October 5th, 2003 08:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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:D Thank you.
Icon is courtesy of goats.com, specifically their t-shirts page. Which I am too lazy to link right now, but is easy to find. Be sure to also read the associate comic which is linked on the page with the shirt!
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:October 6th, 2003 07:03 am (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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That is absolutely appalling - well done. :-)

However, I wonder if you considered the stress patterns as well as the number of syllables. For example, vanityfair should probably be pronounced `VAN-i-ty FAIR' while the first word in the Elements song is pronounced `AN-ti-MO-ny', so the substitution doesn't quite fit.

Oh, and I always imagined hermorrine to have four syllables as it's clearly a play on Hermione* - was I wrong?
* which I would like to pronounce `HER-mi-own', but I would be wrong
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 6th, 2003 08:55 am (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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Thank 'ee! *doffs cap*

Other considerations and letter-pattern similarities made me pick vanityfair to go first.

Syllable patterns: there were some where I may well have erred in my pron[o]unciation (which you may have heard): for instance, I suspect selene_rain might actually be pronounced with the selene as in Celine Dion, rather than see-lee-nee.

Hadn't considered four syllables for hermorrine in the past, but now you come to mention it, you could well be right. Vicki, how do you pronounce your username?
[User Picture]
From:dancingrain
Date:October 7th, 2003 07:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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I have pronounced Hermorrine that way too, her-MOR-uh-NEE essentially.
Since the song is really too fast to be picky though I've no complaints :D

My brother pronounced Hermione "her-mi-own" for ages, until GoF in fact, where he experienced an utter pronunciation paradigm shift :D. Plus a bunch of "I told you so"s.
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:October 6th, 2003 08:33 am (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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Oh yes, and somewhat tangentially:

A couple of years or so ago I started writing a little proggy that would allow me to multitrack myself (the main thing here is being able to play one sound file while recording another, and I'm not sure if there is anything available that can do this) - with added trickery to help me with the soprano lines! However, it went the way of all my programming projects: I didn't have enough free time, so I didn't get round to finishing it. And then I stopped being single, and this is something that I will in no way do with anyone else in the house. ;-)

Looking at it just now, I'm glad I wrote the usage message listing all the options (that I haven't implemented yet - in fact, no part of it is functional at all) because by now I would surely have forgotten what things I intended to put in it.
From:schanyl
Date:October 7th, 2003 12:33 am (UTC)

Re: Now It Can Be Told

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That is seriously one of the cutest and funniest things I have heard in a LONG while.

:D!!
[User Picture]
From:tromboneborges
Date:October 8th, 2003 06:32 am (UTC)
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Sir,

You are the very model of a genius fandom principal,
You know how to say usernames with diction unimpeachable
In short, in matters Durendal, Peg Kerr, and Epicyclical
You are the very model of a genius fandom principal.




The "rene" in tartpants, however, is pronounced "Reh-NAY" (where really that's a schwa instead of "eh," but you know, eh). Just for the record. :D
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 8th, 2003 02:20 pm (UTC)
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Those low-pitched noises you hear are Gilbert & Sullivan spinning in their graves, due to both of us.

On top of that, I appear to have transmuted tartpants into fick_l_rine somewhere along the way, presumably to help with the pronunciation. We had a character in a famous but not-actually-funny sitcom called René (the character, not the sitcom), so I should know, really. Perhaps I've been taking enough liberties already.
[User Picture]
From:tromboneborges
Date:October 8th, 2003 03:05 pm (UTC)
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I suspect Tom Lehrer would be spinning in his grave, but he's not actually dead. Perhaps he is spinning at the dinner table, to the utter puzzlement of his wife and family.

Well, to make matters more complicated Rene actually is Rene, and not Renee, the feminine version of the name, despite being a girl. That might have helped.

Ah, don't worry about it, though. She is so fick_l, after all.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 8th, 2003 05:29 pm (UTC)
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*waves white flag*

Incidentally, it has taken me worryingly long to realise that the letters g and q are (almost?) indistinguisable when underlined in Verdana at the standard size most people will see on their interests lists. Accordingly, someone who purports to have an interest in fags may well actually have an interest in faqs and vice versa.

Imagine my embarrassment!

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