xkcd 2022-08-10

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John W Kennedy

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Aug 10, 2022, 6:05:22 PMAug 10
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https://xkcd.com/2657/

My tongue hurts, and my saliva tastes of thiotimoline!

--
John W. Kennedy
Algernon Burbage, Lord Roderick, Father Martin, Bishop Baldwin,
King Pellinore, Captain Bailey, Merlin -- A Kingdom for a Stage!

Ted Nolan <tednolan>

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Aug 10, 2022, 6:37:23 PMAug 10
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In article <zuudnV1wSbbntmn_...@giganews.com>,
John W Kennedy <john.w....@gmail.com> wrote:
>https://xkcd.com/2657/
>
>My tongue hurts, and my saliva tastes of thiotimoline!
>

Mine doesn't, but it will yesterday!
--
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..

Lynn McGuire

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Aug 10, 2022, 7:16:20 PMAug 10
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On 8/10/2022 5:05 PM, John W Kennedy wrote:
> https://xkcd.com/2657/
>
> My tongue hurts, and my saliva tastes of thiotimoline!

We need Dorothy to explain this !

The alternative is not much better at
https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2657:_Complex_Vowels

Lynn

Dorothy J Heydt

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Aug 10, 2022, 9:30:50 PMAug 10
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In article <td1e82$1uuuu$1...@dont-email.me>,
Lynn McGuire <lynnmc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>On 8/10/2022 5:05 PM, John W Kennedy wrote:
>> https://xkcd.com/2657/
>>
>> My tongue hurts, and my saliva tastes of thiotimoline!
>
>We need Dorothy to explain this !

(Hal Heydt)
I regret very much that she isn't available to do so.

Lynn McGuire

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Aug 11, 2022, 1:11:11 PMAug 11
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Me too. She tried to teach us language development over the years but
not much it stuck. Pretty complicated stuff for me.

Thanks,
Lynn

Christian Weisgerber

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Aug 11, 2022, 3:30:06 PMAug 11
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On 2022-08-10, Lynn McGuire <lynnmc...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> https://xkcd.com/2657/
>
> We need Dorothy to explain this !

You called?

The starting point is the standard vowel quadrilateral that describes
two main characteristics of vowel sounds: closeness (height) and
backness.

The doctor tells you to say "aaahhh" when they want to look into
your mouth. That's because when you pronounce the vowel in PALM,
your mouth is fully open. So this is an open vowel. By contrast,
when you say FLEECE, your mouth is mostly closed. This defines one
axis of the vowel diagram: from close at the top to open at the
bottom.

The other axis describes the position of your tongue. When you say
FLEECE, your tongue is towards the front of your mouth. When you
say GOOSE, it is further back. Front vowels are to the left, back
vowels to the right.

When you look at, say, Wikipedia articles about the phonology of
major languages, you'll frequently see such a vowel diagram, with
dots marking the position of the vowels of the language in question.

The vowel space is contiguous. Different languages distinguish an
arbitrary number of vowels in that space. The International Phonetic
Alphabet has predefined a number of points in the vowel space and
assigned symbols to those vowels. Those symbols are then used to
refer to the nearest vowels a particular language distinguishes.

See the diagram at the start of this article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vowel

Now, besides closeness and backness, languages may distinguish
vowels according to additional characteristics that could be modeled
as additional dimensions. The standard IPA vowel diagram already
has _two_ symbols for each position, effectively adding a third
dimension: roundedness. When you say FLEECE, your lips are unrounded.
When you say GOOSE, they are rounded. English does not have a pair
of vowels that are differentiated only by rounding, but for instance
the vowels in French "si" and "lu" are both close front vowels, but
the former is unrounded and the latter is rounded.

Another potential dimension is nasalization. A nasal(ized) vowel
is one where part of the air escapes through the nose. Well-known
Western languages that distinguish oral and nasal vowels are French
and Portuguese. You can also find such things as murmured vowels
and devoiced vowels in the world's languages.

Various languages can distinguish vowels along several of those
axes. In xkcd #2657, Randall combines the basic vowel quadrilateral
with complex numbers to suggest adding an "imaginary" dimension to
the vowel space.

--
Christian "naddy" Weisgerber na...@mips.inka.de

John W Kennedy

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Aug 11, 2022, 4:53:49 PMAug 11
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But if you have to move your tongue in an imaginary direction—well, the
human tongue isn’t meant to bend that way.

“Thiotimoline” is an imaginary chemical created in the 1940s by Isaac
Asimov for a number of legendary spoofs. It is noted for its surprising
characteristic of dissolving a second and a fraction /before/ water is
added. The eventual explanation is that the central carbon atom is so
crowded and its bonds are so twisted that the molecule extends into the
time dimension, and time, of course, is only imaginary space.

The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline (1948)
The Micropsychiatric Applications of Thiotimoline (1952)
Thiotimoline and the Space Age (1959)
Thiotimoline to the Stars (1973)

Christian Weisgerber

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Aug 11, 2022, 8:30:06 PMAug 11
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On 2022-08-11, Christian Weisgerber <na...@mips.inka.de> wrote:

> In xkcd #2657, Randall combines the basic vowel quadrilateral
> with complex numbers to suggest adding an "imaginary" dimension to
> the vowel space.

Also, the comic is presumably a reference to H.P. Lovecraft's
"The Color Out of Space" where an alien meteorite brings a strange
color unlike any on Earth that causes insanity and mutates plants
and animals.

Lynn McGuire

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Aug 11, 2022, 11:05:46 PMAug 11
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Ah, the Anticipatory Factor. Funny, I have never seen this factor in
any of my chemical journals or molecule lists of properties. Of course,
the NIST database is a little lacking and is missing a lot of chemical
information.

Lynn




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