Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'd Be Obliged To A Sniper Right Now

Yeah, yeah, neglecting updates, boo hoo. Here are some links to all the ZPs and XPs I haven't mentioned yet.

Machine of Death is now available! It got all the way to the top of the Amazon book charts by simple expedient of getting everyone to buy it on the same day. Why didn't I think of that? Anyway, it's too late to contribute to the sordid Amazon chart manipulation but you should still pick up a copy 'cos it's dead good. And my story's in it.

Speaking of my stories, Mogworld has now officially sold out of its first printing. This is good news for me. Probably less if you're still waiting for a copy, but the second printing should be underway even as I type this. I have spoken to the Dark Horse bods about a digital version and an audiobook, but while lacking any dates I can definitely say they're in the works.

And after an unfortunate bout of illness, and Yug rather obstinately wanting to stay on some mysterious regular schedule known to him alone, Yahtzee's Trivia Night is returning to the Mana Bar next Tuesday (November 2nd) after a solid month of absence. Can't say it hasn't been nice having my weekends free, not having to make a quiz and all, but it's always nice to shout people down from a position of authority, so do show up to join the fun. As always team registration is at 6:30 with kick-off at 7. But you should definitely try to be there as soon after opening time (5pm) as possible, because my musky animal magnetism always seems to fill the place up.

Finally, I asked this on Twitter but no-one seemed to know what I was talking about, so I'm posting it here because it's driving me mad. There's this thing that really good improvisational comedians and actors can do where they appear to be speaking in a specific foreign language but are in fact making up complete gibberish on the spot. The Swedish Chef arguably does it with Swedish. John Cleese does it with German while pretending to be a ranting Hitler in the 'North Minehead by-election' sketch from Monty Python. Danny Kaye's character in The Court Jester does it several times with several languages in a fairly early scene to show off his repertoire. There was a game in Whose Line Is It Anyway called Foreign Film Dub where the cast would speak gibberish that sounded like a particular audience-suggested language. Hopefully this creates a clear image of what I'm talking about that the Twitter character limit prevented.

The thing is, I know there's a special term for this ability but I can't for the life of me remember what it is. It's not pidgin - that's a blend of two languages. It's not glossolalia or xenoglossy, that's just plain old regular gibberish that isn't intended to resemble a particular foreign language. If you know what the term (it might be a two-word term) for this is, please post it in the comments before I eat my own face.

33 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Surely it would be pseudo- something.
    There's a long discussion on this topic at http://boingboing.net/2009/12/17/gibberish-rock-song.html

    The answer might be there.

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  3. Well, Jean Stapleton once referred to herself as speaking "Mock-Swedish" during a sketch with the Swedish Chef...

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  4. Ugh, I'm painfully aware of what you're talking about and now you have me eating my face over if I remember the term. I was just talking about something like this with my brother a few months ago.

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  5. On a related, but unrelated note:

    I was once curious about what it would sound like when speakers of other languages mock English in the way we mock, say, German (for lack of a better example).

    There was a meta version of this in Allo Allo, where the English were represented by English actors portraying French characters speaking "English", which consisted of "Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa" spoken tunefully.

    I ended up watching a Hungarian comedy film (Mel Brooks style, I suppose) called Magyar Vándor (Hungarian Wanderer), which has a scene involving the Hungarian characters playing football with the English. The entire movie is in Hungarian, so seeing the Hungarian "English" characters speaking heavily accented Hungarian with interjections of "old chap" and "tally ho"-type cliches was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

    Anyhow. No idea what Cleese-ist language parody is actually called. If it comes to mind, I'll respond. (Again.)

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  6. The believe the term is 'pseudophonology' though both glossolalia and the simple gibberish seem to fit the bill if you squint really hard.

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  7. Hey Yahtzee

    we're extremely inerested in translating your awesome creations to russian

    i'd apreciate a message to weaselchuck (at) gmail.com if you're cool with that

    Thanks,
    Andrew

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  8. I remember it once being referred to as "blacktalk", but googleing it turned up anything but that.

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  9. Here in the US it is called "speaking in tongues" and considered a sign that you've bee touched by the Almighty.

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  10. No one tell him, i want him to eat his face.

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  11. Double-talk? At least that's what TV Tropes says Danny Kaye was good at.

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  12. In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all.

    In cognitive psychology, a nonsense syllable is a word-like string of letters that is not intended to have any established meaning; it is a special case of a non-lexical vocable.

    Non-lexical vocables, which may be mixed with meaningful text, are a form of nonsense syllable used in a wide variety of music. A common English example would be "la la la".

    Caramba was a Swedish music group. It released one self-titled album in 1981. The album is chiefly notable because it is recorded entirely in nonsense language. Songs which imitate certain regional styles of music generally imitate the phonemic structure of languages from the appropriate regions.

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  13. Grammelot, maybe?

    This term was made quite known in Italy by dramatist and actor Dario Fo, I don't know if it is used as widely in other countries.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammelot
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCm9IApf1rA

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  14. Yahtzee, this web page is being reported to me as an attack site.

    Could you check on that to see if there's something wrong, or if my anti-virus is just full of shit?

    Thanks.

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  15. Italians can do it to english:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcUi6UEQh00

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  16. Man, those Italians do make a funky tune...

    I can't think of it. Question is, is there a reason you need to know or is it just a brain itch?

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  17. ...also, hope you're feeling better. Illnesses suck

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  18. Yeah, when Sid Caesar did it it was called double-talk.

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  19. Yep, barabba said it right. Or at least Grammelot is the only word I know that is used to describe such a thing. Possibly because I watched Fo's "Mistero Buffo". And I watched it possibly because I'm italian. Go figure.

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  20. I've heard what you're describing in the Charlie Chaplin film "The Great Dictator." Wikipedia describes Chaplin's German gibberish as a "macaronic parody" of the German language.

    Tvtropes.org is more direct and to the point and simply has this listed as "As Long As It Sounds Foreign"

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  21. i thought it would be gobbledygook but then i remembered that it is in fact a language of its own using mixed english...bugger my chance to show my intelligence will never come.

    also, i needed google to get here, the redirect has turned into a blocked site

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  22. 7 days a Skeptic is really cool. Let's have a Blaaaack Celebration. Thank you very much!

    ReplyDelete
  23. http://boingboing.net/2009/12/17/gibberish-rock-song.html

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  24. It's called Onomatopoeia.

    You're welcome, mister Croshaw.

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  25. It's not that at all, you bag of rancid farts.

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  26. Whatever it is I'm sure Charlie Brown's teacher has it.

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  27. Simlish works pretty good. I have heard that the language is actually a mock of Swedish (Or some other European language I don't speak).

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  28. more examples: :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9LmYhyV10g (IT Crowd)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKbw9YMHUiI (a very early video by a German comedian)

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