Friday, July 11, 2008

Another reason for universal linguistics education

To the phonetician, nothing is more amusing that seeing a band that has decided to bring umlauts into its name. It makes sense. Linguistics is such an understudied field that the very name of the field is (at least on one occasion in my own experience) confused with a type of pasta. To the layperson, umlauts, accents, and other diacritics are merely decorations. Sure, they know that in some arcane science they have some meaning, but nothing that they need to pay attention to. I think we should all go around pronouncing these ridiculous band names as they should be pronounced according to the orthography. It might turn some heads to pronounce Mötley Crüe as møtli kɹy (or perhaps as møtɬi crye), or Mötörhead as møɾøɹhɛd or møtørhead.


Alex said...

Or Blue Öyster Cult. But how does one pronounce the n in Spinal Tap?

literalminded said...

Here's a post from Language Log on "heavy metal umlaut." It's short, but has good links to other stuff.