All posts tagged language

Do you creak?

From Slate’s Lexicon Valley, an episode about a vocal affection in young, “upwardly mobile” American women. It’s called creaky voice, and it describes a speaker using staccato bursts in the back of the throat. It’s raspy, deep and quite familiar.

The “creaking” sound grates on the ears of NPR veteran, Bob Garfield. But when played to American college women, it conveys professionalism, urbanism and a woman whose career is on the rise.

Listen to this example from a Deutsche Bank interview series, especially the first speaker, a managing director named Jane. Nearly all the women in this video creak.

(via CNBC)

The explanation given in Lexicon Valley is that the creaky affection lowers the voice’s pitch, making it sound deeper. And a deeper voice can be beneficial, especially in the workplace.

Take for example Marget Thatcher. Her high notes were “dangerous to passing sparrows”. Upon the recommendation of her advisers, she lowered her pitch and moved up the ranks to eventually become prime minister.

Soooooo maaaaaybe there is something to aaaaaall this creaking?

If wishes were zorses

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Peter is reading Game of Thrones, and the constant mention of “zorses” piqued our curiosity. And what do you know, a zorse is the offspring of a male zebra and a female horse.

Turns out there is lots to zebroid nomenclature. Depending on the species of the sire and dame, you’ll either get a zonkey, a zorse, a zony and so on.

On the search for more remix animals, imagine my excitement upon discovering the honest-to-God existence of Napoleon Dynamite’s famed creature, the liger.

Bred for its skills in magic:

More animal portmanteaus.

Images: “Zeedonk” by sannse / CC BY SA 3.0 Unported and “Ligertrainer” by Andy Carvin / CC BY SA 2.5 Generic via Wikimedia Commons.

In Unicode


Card-carrying members of Working Together For Interrobangs (WTF‽), the talented and launched a few months back. I’m slow to share the news, but it’s a really handy site.

Until I get a dedicated interrobang key, I can go straight to my bookmarked inverted and upright interros. If your font library is missing some funny characters (like