Field of Science

Mystery Language #01

Ok, let's start easy.

5 points to whoever can tell me what this is, and another 5 for translating the first paragraph!

Meanwhile, let me procrastinate with serious posts by pretending to study for Monday's physchem midterm... *yawn* never mind!

NOTE: "points" do not constitute valid currency anywhere outside this blog, or even inside this blog.


  1. It's one of those jokes about how the European Union was going to simplify English by dropping all those unnecessary and redundant konsonants, except that they started with Polish.

    Phonetics in England
    The board of education has lately decided to include phonetics in the regular course of training of teachers(?) of service in public elementary schools. The subject is not yet made compulsory, but questions on it are now set on all government examinations for trade-school(?) students.

  2. Correct translation, but wrong explanation -- it's not a joke! ^_~

  3. I know, but I was more interested in parsing the text than doing the wikipediaing to find the actual phonetic notation being used.

  4. It's pretty much THE phonetic notation, as far as most phonologists are concerned anyway... /hint

  5. That would be the IPA, or International Phonetic Alphabet. Actually it is an earlier incarnation than current (it gets revised every so often): thus the transliteration of "service" with an extended schwa. I would provide a translation of the first paragraph, but Joel beat me to it. In the interest of racking up some of those coveted points, though, allow me to point out that the IPA here encodes an RP ("proper British") accent: "board", "teachers", and "service" are all represented using a non-rhotic accent (a fancy way of saying that its speakers drop R's after vowels), and the levelling of unaccented syllables is also typical of that accent (which is to say that North American accents have a more even pace of syllable distribution, while British ones tend to have longer stressed syllables compared to the unstressed ones). I would provide a translation of the second paragraph, but I suspect that I have shown off enough already....

  6. Opisthokont, you're an epic GEEK... XP

    You sure you didn't also almost minor in ling by accident?

    (actually, I could still get a minor if I really wanted to...hmmmm...)

    And yeah, some of the IPA was a bit awkward -- partly because of the different dialect, partly because I learned the recent version of it. Interesting point about the stressed vs. unstressed syllable 'polarisation'!

    There's some dialects of UK English I can barely even recognise as a Germanic language, let alone understand! Was once listening in on this really bizarre language spoken by a couple white ladies, which definitely didn't sound a slightest bit Indoeuropean... after a few minutes of trying to figure out what the hell it was, I realised I kinda...speak that language. It was the strangest English dialect I've ever encountered!

  7. I thought the first paragraph was about teaching phenetics in England, a la Sokal and Sneath.

  8. I'M NOT ALONE! =D

    I also initially read that as 'phenetics'... /geek


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS