The HANGAR | Gallery & Arts Initiative

Welcome to the official blog and media hub for The HANGAR | Gallery & Arts Initiative. Located in the Wynwood Arts District, The Hangar is dedicated to the collective movement of creative exhibition and seeks to open the lines of communication between artist, patron and community. www.hangargallery.com

You said what?

By Jeffrey Bustos

I love words. I love them in phrases, quick a U-turn, sharp left and run all the red lights! Catch me if you can syntax. Sentence: I don’t want love; I want a lifelong infatuation that ends tomorrow-when the sun ceases to rise. Violation: Syntax Ambiguity. Find that toothsome word that truly understands your Friday nights: quaffing. These concoctions began to palate my passion for Linguistics, with the side dish of wanting to teach English abroad and travel. Nonetheless this was but an appetizer to the main course.

Let me get this straight, you are telling me that Linguists have their own alphabet of universal symbols for each individual sound AND it shares the same acronym as my favorite type of beer, IPA. IPA (not Indian Pale Ale, but rather International Phonetic Alphabet) allows you transcribe any word in any language to its symbolic pronunciation. The awesomeness: You can exploit IPA to engineer an Indian Call-center accent or excusez-moi a French accent for those Friday nights. May the IPA be with you.

Writer at the HANGAR Gallery

Yours Truly: Jeffrey Bustos

I am Colombian, but ever since I can remember I have been in bilingual schools where English was always the primary language so you won’t be able to detect an accent unless the necessity of me telling you about a soldier with a wounded shoulder noshing on salmon and shrimp. Nonetheless the idea of being able to bop, twist, pull, flick and spin your accent has begun to enthrall me.  Being that we are in Miami I will use the word culture. First we must transcribe to word: IPA I choose you! Culture just evolved into kəltʃər: the “k” is a voiceless velar stop. It is a Velar since the back of the tongue articulates the velum. It is a stop since there is complete closure of articulation causing a total blockage of airflow. Confused? Just say the word kite so you can grasp the pronunciation of K in a familiar one syllable word. We then repeat this process until we have grasped the pronunciation for every symbol for the word kəltʃər.

englishAs an aspiring writer syntax has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Yet I never knew that the rules to our English Language were so specifically simple. Phrase Structure trees is a branch in Linguistics that shows that skeleton a language’s syntax by cutting a sentence into its constituents parts of phrasal categories and lexical categories. This becomes vital in the ambiguous sentence “Terry loves his wife and so do I” could very well be the plot for a broken marriage or two happily married couples all being dependent on how you divide your phrase structure tree. So think twice and cut once.

Semantics. Where it all began for me. Weird. Definition (archaic): concerned with or controlling fate or destiny. To its current devolved definition of just something bizarre. Words change over time and we give them new meanings depending on their sense or reference. In the world of semantics antonyms are pied into complementary pairs, gradable pairs and relational opposite. I have but only tasted the main course of Linguistics, and given you but an appetizer of what Linguistics entails. Nonetheless question your language, listen to it (did you mean tweny or twenTy), and learn all its rules just so you can break them.

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One comment on “You said what?

  1. TooFullToWrite
    December 18, 2012

    Great blog post – I like how densely packed it is, very well written and engaging, intellectual yet playful too. Trying to make the message as clear as possible to the reader, it can be a little laborious at times but incredibly fun when you are attempting to become an unreliable narrator!

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This entry was posted on November 14, 2012 by in What's Cooking? and tagged , , , , , , , .
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