Wednesday, October 29, 2003

the world is deaf 

WARNING: you are entering the "I am right, the rest of the world is wrong" Zone. No dissention will be tolerated.

My mom's maiden name (oh dear, here goes all my security down the drain) is Mary Barry. She has told me about how numerous co-workers of hers thought that her name rhymed. I always found this idea insanely humorous, since anyone could hear the difference in the two vowel sounds -- Mary has a bit of a "Y" sound in there (think of it as "mare" [like the horse] + "eeeee" [like the high pitched girly scream]), whereas the "a" in Barry is completely flat (think of it as "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" [like the Home Alone scream]).

and then I met Joellyn, my best friend & college roomie, who either hates me with an undying passion, or really can't hear the difference between those two sounds.

and now I find that over 50% of the country thinks that "Mary", "merry", and "marry" all sound the same. Not even 18% fall into my category of "right-thinking people who can clearly hear that these are three distinct vowel sounds". (for "merry", think "meh" [like the disparaging tone you use for people incapable of understanding your simple logic]) (and yes, Barry sounds like marry in my world.)

I suppose this is analogous to my inability to distinguish the 4 tones in Chinese, but it just makes me wave my hands in the air and scream "What is wrong with these people?"

(via LanguageHat)


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