Log in

Eden (Garden Of)

Friends Only

Feel free to add me if you've seen me around.

sherlock holmes & vocal fry

Swinging through to talk about vocal fry/Sherlock. (Sherlock? Really? And what? Vocal fry? Why yes!)

Googling "vocal fry" will offer you a bunch of sensationalist articles about how vocal fry is a disturbing trend found in young American women's speech patterns -- it used to be a marker of speech disorder! Now Kim Kardashian uses it! -- as usually happens when the media get hold of something linguistic-y that they don't understand (see also: upspeak). Basically, vocal fry register (to my linguistic friends: "creaky voice") is one of the vocal registers of human voice in which the vocal chords vibrate at a very low frequency. I can guarantee every one of you has used creaky voice in your life; it sounds like this.

Not a whole lot of study has been done on vocal fry so far, not in a sociolinguistic capacity, meaning that no one's quite sure why vocal fry is used. (My sister, on the receiving end of one of my rants many weeks ago, suggested it was laziness until I slapped her wrist and made her say a sentence in creaky voice; it's not laziness, it's a completely different technique of speaking.) Preliminary research, or at least the paper that has sparked this faux-linguistic frenzy, points to teenage/university-age American women as the perpetrators, but it's really not true. To clear some things up:

1. Vocal fry is not bad for your voice; saying that having creaky voice means you have a speech disorder is like saying people who have nightmares have PTSD.
2. It's not new; Britney Spears did not invent it.
3. It's not exclusively used by women.

If you want more info about vocal fry/why the media is wrong, this Language Log article is brilliant as usual, as is this blog post. I want to talk about Sherlock now.

Part of the reason why I think vocal fry is a little harder to pick out in men (and this is speculation on my part, not having studied acoustic phonetics extensively) is because their vocal chords are vibrating at a lower frequency than women's anyway. Unless you're really listening for it, it might not be that obvious.

But oh holy shit does Benedict Cumberbatch love him some vocal fry. In this clip around the 0.15 mark, he slides completely into the vocal fry register and doesn't bother to come out. He's set up a little tent and is toasting marshmallows over a fire.

Just flitting around a couple clips on Youtube, I can see that he uses it all the time. The Sherlock example is the most extreme, but he does slide into it for the odd word here and there. (His reading of "Jabberwocky" is rife with creaky voice.) And just while we're on the subject, he's the perfect voice for Smaug -- I mean, if anyone's going to speak with creaky voice, it's going to be a dragon, am I right?

Perhaps the sensationalists would like to note that Benedict Cumberbatch is a) not a woman, b) not American, c) not a teenager, and d) just not fitting their profile. Unless maybe he's just trying to tweak his voice so he can sound more like Kim Kardashian?

I should clarify that I'm not criticizing vocal fry or Benedict Cumberbatch for using it. On the contrary, I'm actually quite fond of creaky voice; I use it with reasonable frequency and I enjoy listening to people who dip into the register. Rather, I am critical towards the media's reaction to vocal fry and their insistance that it's a fad young girls have latched onto to try to sound like pop stars. It's just going to turn into another misunderstood linguistic term that people throw around like they know what they're talking about (see also: upspeak). It's a shame.

(It probably doesn't need to be said, but naturally people wouldn't be so infatuated with his voice were it a woman using vocal fry so heavily. I know this, because women who do use it heavily are currently being ragged on. The way women's voices are viewed is another discussion for another day; if it's not vocal fry it's upspeak, and if the pitch is too high we sound too feminine but if the pitch is too low we sound too masculine. Can't win.)

team democracy '11

I'm sick again. This blows. I was feeling sick last Monday before I went on tour, and I honestly don't think I completely kicked it last time around. I'm 95% sure I'm not going on tour this week, so I'm not terribly concerned about that.

ELECTION DAY IS TOMORROW, GUYS. I am going to be glued to the news as I hope and pray that Harper does not get a majority.

If you are Canadian, check out Project Democracy to see if there is a close race in your riding. Everybody knows that the vote is split on the left side; this way, we can see if there is a representative most likely to beat out the Conservative Party and vote for them instead. There's also Vote Pair to arrange swapping votes for your preferred party with voters in other ridings if you're really hardcore.

Strategic voting? Vote swapping?



But no really. Please don't let Harper get a majority government, Canada.

polls for linguistic science!

Because everyone loves polls!

Please answer the following questions honestly, without googling anything or even thinking too hard about it. I want to know what you would actually say if you were speaking/writing these sentences, not what you can spit back up from style guides.

Also: I did not distinguish between 'among' and 'amongst', but if you would say 'amongst' instead, please check the 'among' option and tell me so in the comments.

If there are any variations etc you think I should know about, say so in the comments.

Poll #1646791 Between vs Among

Where are you from/Which dialect of English do you speak?

United States
Central/South America
United Kingdom
Europe (outside UK)
New Zealand
Other (please specify)

Which of the two would you use?

Exchanges between villages and communes are difficult.
Exchanges among villages and communes are difficult.

And now?

Exchanges between villages, communes and organisations are difficult.
Exchanges among villages, communes and organisations are difficult.

How about now?

Exchanges between them are difficult.
Exchanges among them are difficult.
Depends on context.

Do 'between' and 'among' have different meanings for you when used side-by-side in the previous questions?


Thank you for your time, you may now return to your previous activities.

one and only one answer!

I'm supposed to be studying for a French composition, but I wanted to talk about something that showed up on my RSS feed today. (You know me: I look on my feed and I see a Language Log post titled "Strictly incorrect: pompous garbage from Simon Heffer" and what -- you expect me to refuse?)

So this guy, Simon Heffer, who is apparently an editor of the UK Telegraph, decided it would be a good idea to write a book called Strictly English: The Correct Way to Write… and Why It Matters. I mean, the title should really be your first clue. Geoffrey K. Pullum, who is a regular over at Language Log and the Head of Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, and David Crystal, who has done everything ever related to linguistics and basically started the field of Internet Linguistics I just found this out he is my new favourite person ever, both reviewed the hot mess that is Heffer's book.

Cutting because this got a bit longCollapse )

While you laugh at GKP bashing Heffer, I want to talk about the paragraph about linguists. Because no one actually understands what linguistics is (seriously, try bringing it up at a party), and I never want to get into a technical discussion about morphology, I tell people it's "the study of language". The problem with saying that is that it's such a broad description that I guess most people assume linguists sit in a circle and discuss how they feel about language.

Not understanding English grammar is an accusation I've fielded before, probably because people think "linguistics" is code for "hang around and memorize grammatical rules" and then they come to me and ask me about adverb placement, like "do you say 'he ran quickly out of the room' or 'he ran out of the room quickly'?" and I'm like "either. Both. I don't care, dude" and they act as though I should know, because there's always one right answer when it comes to language, right?

I suppose this is why style guides like Heffer's are so popular: people want one answer, a set of guidelines they can follow, a yes or a no that's right that's wrong. Unfortunately, language doesn't work like that, it's not that simple -- but just try telling that to a world of scientists and mathematicians.
So I wrote fic. And I'm going to Scotland.

The two are only really connected because I recently discovered how hard it is to write things when you're supposed to be jetting off somewhere. People (ie, sisters) get these crazy ideas that you should pack more than 6 hours in advance and keep interrupting you to ask things like how many pairs of earrings do you think I'll need? under the mistaken impression that you care. It's also hard to edit in between dashing out to buy gravol and lemons and trying to figure out which shoes to pack.

But mostly I'm exaggerating, because I did managed to finish it. And it has three titles. (Three titles, you say? Why yes, three! And they are all very important, because of -- just because, okay?)

So the part where I'm going to Scotland factors in right about now, because... well, I'm going to Scotland right about now. So I'm going to leave this here, in it's three-title glory, and I won't be checking in until August. This is my way of saying "I won't respond to any comments until August, apologies in advance". Which I suppose I could have just said in the first place. Oh well.

So before I jet off to Och Aye Land on a red eye flight (dear god why), here it is:

Title: Writing Through a Perception Filter/Chicken Soup for the Dark Wizard's Soul (or: The Tenth Doctor writes self-insert Dumbledore/Grindelwald fic)
Fandom: Harry Potter/Doctor Who
Pairing: Dumbledore/Grindelwald
Word Count: ~3000
Notes: This would never have been written without everyone over at this thread over at starwhales, and special thanks to _thirty2flavors for quote-hunting and saying things like "make sure you put this in there, it gets me every time" (alternatively, you can curse her out for encouraging me).
Summary: Ten writes the final Dumbledore/Grindelwald battle how it should have happened.

This fic now lives over at Ao3 HERE for easier everything purposes.

Writing Through a Perception FilterCollapse )

The (Un)Virgin Queen

It's still the 29th of December somewhere, right?

Title: The (Un)Virgin Queen
Pairing: Ten/Elizabeth
Word Count: ~1500
Warnings: Some implications of sex, but nothing explicit. Spoilers only if you have been living under a rock and are unaware of the regeneration episodes. Featuring Ten as the Douche-tor.
Summary: To be perfectly honest, he wasn’t so much bedding the queen as he was lying on his back as she was busily destroying the buttons on his shirt, but really at this point details like that could be overlooked.

Notes: HAPPY BIRTHDAY KALI. For you I wrote Ten/Elizabeth, because you are amazing. I haven't looked or anything because I'm really lazy, but I'm going to bet not much of it exists. Come on world! People have needs here!

He hadn’t meant to marry the queen, but at the time he supposed it seemed like a good idea.Collapse )

Oh yes I did.

Look guys, I don't want to beat a dead horse with a stick, but this rampant misinformation campaign about the Canadian seal hunt has got to stop.

1. Seals are not hunted just for their fur. That would be stupid and wasteful. Their blubber gets used for oils and their meat gets eaten. (Yes, even commercially.)

2. The Inuit have been hunting seals for hundreds of years. It's not just commercialism: the seal hunt has been an integral part of survival, especially during -35 degree winters where there's not really too much in the way of other options. It's a way of life.

Aw! Look how cute it is! How could anyone kill a poor innocent fluffy little seal???


a. PETA likes to claim that whitecoats can be hunted "as soon as a single white hair sheds", but in fact the entire pelt must molt.

b. "BUT THEY'RE BAYYYYYBIES!!!" So are lambs. So are veal. And I don't hear any international condemnation for that particularly profitable industry, and unlike veal, seals get to actually move around.

4. Harp seals are not endangered. They're not even maybe a little bit. There are like 6 million seals hanging out in Canada alone; we would need way more than 9000 sealers to make them endangered.

5. We have a quota, but it's usually not even met on a year to year basis. The seals are not being over hunted.

6. "It's inhumane!" Not anymore so than the regular meet industry -- or heaven forbid -- hunting game like deer or pheasants or ducks. The only way this argument is not complete hypocrisy is if the person is a vegetarian and doesn't eat any meat.

7. Sealers are not out of work layabouts. They're typically Newfoundland fishermen who are temporarily out of work due to the fact that it's winter and boats aren't so good at navigating ice.

Canadian Seal Hunt has some gold quotes.

"Commercial sealers like to confuse the public by throwing the word aboriginals around. They are not aboriginals. They are white men that live as you do, they own houses, garages, automobiles, they watch movies, and they shop at the local mall and buy food in supermarkets."

Remember guys -- not only are those filthy Aboriginals not worthy of a proper noun, but none of them have houses, garages or cars, and they don't watch movies or shop in stores and buying food at grocery stores is completely out of the question. SAVAGES!

For the record, I am not saying there are no problems with the seal hunting business. Obviously there issues that need to be addressed, and no system is perfect. But there are a few things to keep in mind:

-this is a business. No one is going to wander around on ice floes to kill seals for fun, unlike some animals.
-seals are killed for their meat and hide. Had a steak recently? How about your leather shoes? But don't worry about them, they're not cute.

I know that not everyone is going to support seal hunting for various reasons, but I wish people knew their facts.

I don't make stuff up. That's lame. No matter what side you're on, take a look at both sides of the coin.
FAQ: The Atlantic seal hunt
True Lies about the Seal Hunt
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Seal Hunt
YouTube: Truth behind HSUS award-winning anti-sealing video (translation in sidebar)


I ended up watching Day Five of Torchwood a day or so behind its airing date, and due to my desire to not be spoiled I steered clear of spoiler cuts and other such things, as is sensible to do in that sort of scenario. When I finally did join to internet, all I found was hate hate hate with the odd sprinkling of "this is Torchwood, why would I even care?" from the more groovy people of the internet. While I did have some issues with the serial (if you smash a cake into pulp with a sledgehammer, icing won't fix it -- although it was a brave effort, Torchwood) overall I thought it was a much needed improvement and was handled well. Of course, things happened that I knew would make fandom explode just a little bit -- and I eagerly await the thousands of angry Fandom!Secrets to hit the internet -- but I honestly thought most people would find good if a little emotionally frustrating.

Obviously I should never associate with other fans because they terrify me. The amount of hate that has appeared on the internet is admirable, to be honest, albeit in a very sad sort of way. I expected a certain amount of bitching on the part of fans -- after all, "fans are clingy complaining dipshits who will never ever be grateful for any concession you make" -- but the amount of bile I keep finding has only increased. Did I miss a half price sale of haterade?

Here's the deal -- if you don't like the way canon has gone, you are perfectly within your right to bitch and moan about it until your friends stop calling you up to invite you to parties. Sure, it gets pretty boring after a while, but if you're really that convinced that JK Rowling ruined the Harry Potter series by having him marry a woman and try to live out a happy normal life just like he always wanted, then I won't stop you from ripping out the pages of the epilogue. The same thing I suppose is happening with Torchwood Children of Earth, except deleting an .avi file must not be as satisfying as tearing paper because it appears some fans have sunk to the low of insulting and/or threatening the writers of the serial.

I assume all of the writers have been receiving some deliciously worded hate mail, and just as a side note I really hope RTD has an external hard drive dedicated entirely to the angry letters he gets about ruining television, but James Moran is apparently the first to respond directly to the ridiculous threats coming his way, and I have to admit, I may have punched the air a little bit with glee.

"So here's the deal: I'm a professional writer. That's my job. I write what I write, for whatever the project might be. I have the utmost respect for you, and honestly want you to like my work, but I can't let that affect my story decisions. Everybody wants different things from a story, but this is not a democracy, you do not get to vote. You are free to say what you think of my work, even if you hate it, I honestly don't mind. But the ONLY person I need to please is myself, and the ONLY thing I need to serve is the story. Not you. I will do my work to the very best of my ability, in an attempt to give you the best show, the best movie, the best story, the best entertainment I possibly can. Even if that means that sometimes, I'll do things you won't like. I won't debate it. Either you go along with it, or you don't. None of it is done to hurt you, or to force some agenda down your throat, or anything else. It's all in service of the story.

And I will not put up with any more abusive messages, or threats, or accusations, or attempted guilt trips. So while I completely understand your pain at some of the events in the series, that does not give you the right to insult me. Talk about the *work*, all you want. But lay off the person behind the work. Because I'm simply trying to tell you good stories. In the end, that is all I can do."

So thank you, James Moran, for giving a good fuck you to all these entitled jerks who sadly make up the internet. See guys? This is why we can't have nice things.


Doctor Who fandom is basically good for two things: wank and lulz. Normally I don't care, but Fandom Secrets has turned me into an uncompromising jerk in regards to other people's feelings. So, the following is brought to you by Fandom Secrets.

Title: Handy
Pairing: Handy/Rose, post-Journey's End
Word Count: 1082
Rating: G
Summary: In which Rose and Jackie run through possible names for Handy.
Notes: This is obviously not a serious piece of anything. It was inspired by the wank of THIS SECRET HERE and draws heavily from THIS POLL HERE courtesy of _thirty2flavors.


current month

March 2015


RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lizzy Enger