Miscellaneous language questions

For the discussion of language mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, trends, and other such linguistic topics, in english and other languages.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:13 pm UTC

I rhyme "crayon" with "man." I'm not sure it's the same thing, though. The two syllable "cray-on" pronunciations dominate in the U.S. as elsewhere, but that's not the case with "Bayer," at least I don't think it is. Judging by its commercials, the monosyllabic pronunciation took over maybe 30 years ago. Of course, that's a German name, so it won't necessarily follow any rules. (The German pronunciation is not even close.)

It's hard to get information on similar words, which is why I'm asking.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:43 pm UTC

For me, it's bear/lair/pair to rhyme with "air" (if 'add a consonant to the beginning' can be called rhyming, rather than repetition) with one syllable, all the others are "(x)ae+uh" disyllabic constructions, give or take.

Hearing "bear", etc, with such a mid-digraph vowel transition makes me think of various distinctive US and UK accents, i.e. it's not unknown to me, but they are far from my own mode of speech.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby flicky1991 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:24 pm UTC

I pronounce "crayon" the same as "crown" unless I'm intentionally trying to distinguish them.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby ThirdParty » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:45 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Do you guys rhyme "Bayer" with "bear"? How about Layer/lair and payer/pear? For me, "Bayer" and "bear" are both /bɛɚ/, while "payer" and "pear" are quite different: /ˈpeɪ.ɚ/ and /pɛɚ/. For "layer" and "lair," they sound a little bit different, but I'm not sure how to characterize it. "Layer" is definitely /ˈleɪ.ɚ/, but "lair" isn't quite /lɛɚ/, but sort of halfway between that and /ˈleɪ.ɚ/, like a 1.5 syllable word.
I pronounce them all the same way you do, except I'm not sure that "Bayer" and "bear" are quite homophones. My best guess is that "lair" has the vowel from "Mary", "Bayer" has the vowel from "marry", and "pear" has the vowel from "merry". It's just a guess, though, because those three are awfully smushed together in my dialect.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:55 pm UTC

There is definitely some Mary/marry stuff going on.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby chridd » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:19 am UTC

I've never heard of the word "Bayer" before, but based on the spelling I'd probably pronounce it two syllables. Layer and payer are two syllables for me; "bear", "lair", "pear" are one.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:45 pm UTC

chridd wrote:I've never heard of the word "Bayer" before,
Based on the capitalisation, I'm assuming it's the name Bayer, as in the German firm called Bayer Pharmaceuticals (or various other variations upon the name, over time). Which means we're probably pronouncing it wrongly, anyway. (Indeed, Wiki helpfully starts off with "Bayer AG (/ˈbeɪər/ or /ˈbaɪər/); German pronunciation: [ˈbaɪ̯ɐ]" in their article, which then goes on to identify one of the co-founders of the original company as having set his own surname upon the business.

But I've always made the same assumption to (Anglicised) pronunciation as you. So no surprise it matches the other 'standard' -ayer words being discussed, from which I essentially take my cue.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby ThirdParty » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:43 am UTC

chridd wrote:I've never heard of the word "Bayer" before
They're a corporation. You'd probably recognize the names of some of their products:

Image

Soupspoon wrote:But I've always made the same assumption to (Anglicised) pronunciation as you.
I'm a big fan of pronouncing words the way they're spelled, but if you listen to a Bayer commercial (here's one), it really sounds a lot more like "bear" than like "bay-er".

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:43 am UTC

ThirdParty wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:But I've always made the same assumption to (Anglicised) pronunciation as you.
I'm a big fan of pronouncing words the way they're spelled, but if you listen to a Bayer commercial (here's one), it really sounds a lot more like "bear" than like "bay-er".
In an old job, colleagues of mine (though not me, directly) did work for various pharma companies, and consensus tended firmly against slurring that into a single vowel. One sort of presumed that the ones that dealt with Bayer (or Pfizer, or Glaxo1, or whoever) had an inkling what the firm's own people liked to pronounce its name as.

Mind you, quite a lot of third-parties (delivery drivers, etc, not quite so much the pharma people we were dealing with) couldn't say our company name correctly (if reading it out) or spell our company name correctly (when told it) without hints. It being a slightly highfalutin construction taking liberties with word stubs, so a worse conundrum to the unfamiliar than any given (mis)treatment of Bayer.

1 The original Glaxo merged with Burroughs Wellcome to be Glaxo Wellcome. GW then merged with SmithKline Beecham (Beecham's having merged with Smith, Kline & Co., previously) to become GlaxoSmithKline. Which would be a messy name if they hadn't kept capitalisation whilst removing all other word-boundaries. But I digress.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:58 pm UTC

It's better than Glaxo, Burroughs, Wellcome, Smith, Kline, Beecham, & Co.

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:32 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:It's better than Glaxo, Burroughs, Wellcome, Smith, Kline, Beecham, & Co.

Indeed it is. For that Oxford Comma alone!

*shudder*

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Derek » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:58 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:It's better than Glaxo, Burroughs, Wellcome, Smith, Kline, Beecham, & Co.

Indeed it is. For that Oxford Comma alone!

*shudder*

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Peaceful Whale » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:12 am UTC

Where does “against the wall” come from. I remember a paragraph from Hitch Hiker’s guide to the galaxy used it...
Also: what does it mean? I get the negative connotation, but that’s it.
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby poxic » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:32 am UTC

In this context, it implies a firing line (standing in front of a squad of gunfolk). I've seen other uses that are closer to "we've got nowhere to run", I think, e.g. "we're up against a wall here".
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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:54 pm UTC

There's also "backs to(/against) the wall, lads!", the homophobic shout out when one of 'them' comes into the room, obviously incapable of not sodomising any fellow man not conveniently obscuring the relevant entry-point. Yet, confusingly, most often used against the openly-camp-gay who is also overwhelmingly presumed to be receiver in their relationships, or at least rather keen on giving head, at the drop of a fly-zip. (And everyone now supposed to be arrayed in manner of a candy shop for the insatiable pervert to lick their lips for.) That's a very much deprecated usage of "against the wall", that marks the speaker out as very much 'unreformed' in sexuality issues - or perhaps so deep in the closet that he's actually having erotic thoughts about Mr Tumnus and Mr Beaver frolicking in the snow, none of which he wants to admit to the rest of his rugger club, whether or not they're at the point whip-cracking wet towel-tips in the changing rooms in a manly manner. YGWIM.


(But H2G2 is using the firing squad thing, as said. Round up your enemies (old regime, old allies who aren't good enough revolutionaries for your liking, old allies who are too revolutionary for your liking (they'd do it to you), random people that you hope to spin as enemies pour discoureger les autre, etc) stand them up against a wall and then get your armed guys to shoot them. Watch out for ricochets (one of the things a good firing-squad organiser understands and accounts for in the choice of wall, weapons and 'volunteers) and then for your own safety (sometimes, though, you might intend the execution unit to not last too much longer, as a witness to your measures) as what revolutions around often goes around again for another spin or two before finally landing on somebody's jackpot segment, and it might not be one that you'd like.)

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Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:31 pm UTC

There may be a variety of expressions that include the phrase "against the/a wall", but I think "first against the wall" is pretty clearly the firing squad metaphor.
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