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MetaFilter Poll & Research Discussion Thread
March 24, 2010 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Hi MeFites! This is the discussion thread for the MetaFilter Poll, appearing on the front page of MetaFilter, available for 5 days to logged-in site users. If you would like to take the poll, I would ask that you please do so BEFORE you read or participate in the discussion here. This is to help ensure that your responses to the poll questions are entirely your own decisions and are not influenced by the opinions of those participating in this thread. If you have already taken the poll or are not interested in taking the poll but would like to discuss it, please do so here.

If you have taken the poll already, thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to contribute to what should be a really interesting data set about the MetaFilter community. Please share any thoughts, questions and concerns here. I am happy to discuss any aspect of this study with you, and I look forward to reading all of your comments!

About the Research: This poll is part of an ongoing sociolinguistic research project involving online communities and mediums of discourse. I am conducting this particular stage of research towards my completion of a Masters degree in Linguistics, and with the full consent of the MetaFilter moderators, San Francisco State University and its Institutional Review Board (IRB). The exact purpose of this poll will be revealed after all the data have been collected and analyzed (early May, 2010).

About the Poll: The poll is open to all logged-in site members who are over 18 years of age. Please submit the poll only once, using your primary MetaFilter account (not a spare or 'sockpuppet' account). There are 16 multiple choice and 2 short fill-in questions. The first several questions will be about your participation on the site. The remaining questions will be about your demographic background. The last questions are about participation in the poll, concluding with an opportunity to share any concerns or comments directly with the researcher (me).

Participation in any part of this study is entirely voluntary and you may opt-out at any time. You may also email me directly at mefistudy@gmail.com.

I hope you’ve enjoyed being a part of this, and thank you!!
posted by iamkimiam to MetaFilter-Related at 9:12 AM (472 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

HA HA IM BREAKING THE RULES AND READING THE THREAD.....where is everyone? Damn it
posted by wheelieman at 9:18 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I took it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:21 AM on March 24, 2010


Totally "mee-feye," like "hi-fi" but with "me" instead of "hi."

MeHi!
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:22 AM on March 24, 2010 [50 favorites]


duddits!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:24 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Done. Good luck with the research project.
posted by hydatius at 9:25 AM on March 24, 2010


Until this poll I had never even considered that there might be other pronunciations. Then again, I'm provincial like that.
posted by charred husk at 9:26 AM on March 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I talk to people who use at least two other pronunciations besides the one Matt and I use. It's a fun icebreaker at many meetups.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:27 AM on March 24, 2010


MEE-FAI is of course the correct answer as all right thinking and good people know. People who think it should be MEH-FAI because of the MEH beginning sound of META are too literal and need to be sent for reeducation. Any other ideas are just deliberate contrariness or insanity.

Yes I did click the strongest possible preference for those pronunciations. Why do you ask?
posted by Babblesort at 9:27 AM on March 24, 2010 [33 favorites]




Until this poll I had never even considered that there might be other pronunciations.


People say "pop" instead of soda. People do crazy things with words.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:28 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


In discussions of the pronunciation of MeFi and MeFite, I always think I'm going to be openminded and persuadable... and online, where everything's phonetically rendered, I am.

But then I actually hear them aloud and I see that they are obviously PURE NONSENSE UTTERED BY FOOLS! FOOLS I TELL YOU!
posted by Elsa at 9:30 AM on March 24, 2010 [16 favorites]


I find that I pronounce the "t" in "often". I think it's regional, because most of the kids I grew up with seem to do the same thing.
posted by hippybear at 9:31 AM on March 24, 2010


I took it and then the link at the top of AskMe and MeTa went away. But it's still there on the top of the blue. Bug? Caching?

Also, I didn't know offhand if my email was in my profile (that status has changed several times over the years). So I had to open a new tab to my profile when that question came up.

Also also, it's Me Fight or yr a mofo.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:32 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


This was fascinating, and totally went a different direction than I expected.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:32 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always been a MEE-FAI, but I heard someone calling it Meffy, rhyming with that kid from Family Circus, and I think that's funny and charming.

But wrong.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:32 AM on March 24, 2010 [30 favorites]


I wonder if there's any correlation between people's preferences for MeFi and sci-fi*, with some people (rightly) choosing Me-Fai and sci-fai over [choose your abomination] and skiffy.

* Yes, Harlan would pronounce it "speculative fiction, you slope-browed cocksucker!". Let's agree that he's an outlier.
posted by maudlin at 9:32 AM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


WHEN ARE YOU RELEASING MORE VIDEOS?

Just kidding. Took it, loved it. It's ME-fi, bitches!

©melissa may
posted by cashman at 9:33 AM on March 24, 2010


I'duh called it a chazwozzer.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:33 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "People say "pop" instead of soda. People do crazy things with words."

I have a friend from New England who lives out here in Ohio now and she uses "soda" instead of "pop" very militantly. Since I may be moving out to the NE someday, I've been transitioning by saying "Soda Pop!" Usually, "Sodie Pop" just to piss her off.

And then I say "chi tea", "salsa con caso with cheese", "chocolate coffee mocha" and "irregardless" and she explodes. I love it.
posted by charred husk at 9:33 AM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Done.

None of those pronunciations were accurate for me. I think of it as My, not Meh.

Good luck with the research.
posted by 26.2 at 9:34 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Done. Found it a bit tricky to answer the accent question as mine is a horrible bastardisation of American and British English. No one can ever figure out where I'm from because I sound like a native speaker, but from some undiscovered colony...

I also listed the languages I speak and have studied, but would have liked to have specified my proficiency in each.

Also, please note that there is only one correct way to pronounce "MeFi". All the other options are there to name and shame the weirdos. Trust me. I'm not a native speaker so I'm unbiased.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:34 AM on March 24, 2010


You're missing a word in the first question. I can't remember what it is since I can't go back and check, but it should be obvious.
posted by desjardins at 9:34 AM on March 24, 2010


You crazy Americans don't know how to say shit, man.
posted by handee at 9:35 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


cortex is absolutely wrong on this issue.
posted by desjardins at 9:35 AM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Bug? Caching?

The header message is only on the blue. It's not there for the other sites.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:35 AM on March 24, 2010


I pronounce "Mefite" as "Dork".



lovable dorks
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 AM on March 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


MetaFilter: Meh. Fie.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:36 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


So were all of the pronunciation options for "MeFi" and "MeFite" actual things that actual people have been known to say, or were some just potential hypothetical interpretations of the given vowels, included for completion's sake but not realistically ever uttered by any sane person?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:37 AM on March 24, 2010


I found it weird that the right answer was dead last.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:37 AM on March 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


My housemate mispronounced "Mefi" and it somehow really annoyed me.

Also, he prefers Reddit, which I think says a lot.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:38 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I took the poll. But then I put it back because stealing is wrong.
posted by FishBike at 9:38 AM on March 24, 2010 [11 favorites]


I just posted it as the topic in #bunnies, fyi.
posted by Stewriffic at 9:38 AM on March 24, 2010


I like Me Fight. Sounds more Tarzanian to me. (Me fight; you not fight.)
posted by heyho at 9:38 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


The right answer for MeFi was first and the right answer for MeFites was last. Perhaps the answer order was randomized?
posted by maudlin at 9:39 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The header message is only on the blue. It's not there for the other sites.

Weird...did that change? I'm positive I clicked through to the survey from the metatalk homepage.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:39 AM on March 24, 2010


It's pronounced "me throat-warbler mangrove".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:39 AM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Pretty sure the order of the words was randomized.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:40 AM on March 24, 2010


Also, there's a notable gap between "listen regularly" and "listened to a few," in terms of possible answers, if that makes sense. Ignore me if it isn't paramount to your study.
posted by cashman at 9:40 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh...or maybe it was "recent activity" ... nevermind me.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:41 AM on March 24, 2010


with some people (rightly) choosing Me-Fai and sci-fai over [choose your abomination] and skiffy.

People... say... "skiffy"?

Yeah, I knew that. I'd just pushed it deep down inside.

Oh, it is time to knock some heads.
posted by Elsa at 9:42 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


You crazy Americans don't know how to say shit, man.

I say [ʃɪt]. How do you say it?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:44 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Winsome Parker Lewis: "27So were all of the pronunciation options for "MeFi" and "MeFite" actual things that actual people have been known to say, or were some just potential hypothetical interpretations of the given vowels, included for completion's sake but not realistically ever uttered by any sane person"

Yep, the six forms of each are actual, viable pronunciations that have been both heard in the wild and are phonotactically and grammatically possible for most dialects of English. I also cross-checked them with all possible spelling-to-sound correspondences (this is one of things I'm exploring anyway).
posted by iamkimiam at 9:44 AM on March 24, 2010


Also, there's a notable gap between "listen regularly" and "listened to a few," in terms of possible answers, if that makes sense. Ignore me if it isn't paramount to your study.

Yes, also there is a gap between once every hour and a few times a day. I visit Metafilter several times a day, but not once every hout.
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:45 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think I've ever said the word "MeFi" out loud before this poll. Is this something people say out loud? I've found that saying Metafilter is just as easy and way less dorky.
But for arguments sake I can't see any other rational way to pronounce it than the "Mee-Fai" way most seem to favour.
posted by chococat at 9:46 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


All I'm saying is that last set, they put in Cthulhu, and for the next set, they're adding Azathoth.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:46 AM on March 24, 2010


Wait, whoops. Sorry, my nerd is showing.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:47 AM on March 24, 2010


It's "meeeee feeeeeee" and "meeee fight" people. Someone close this up before people go about mucking up the survey with wrong answers.
posted by Think_Long at 9:47 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I hope I get an A.
posted by special-k at 9:47 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


iamkimiam, will you be posting the tabulated results later?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:47 AM on March 24, 2010


How to use mefi in a spoken sentence:

"YOU'VE BEEN ARGUING ON MEFI FOR TWO HOURS, COME TO BED ALREADY!"
posted by desjardins at 9:49 AM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Did anybody actually have reasons for their pronunciation? Cause I didn't. The first time I saw "MeFI" I knew how to pronounce it. There was no reasoning invovled.
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:49 AM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Did anybody actually have reasons for their pronunciation? The first time I saw "MeFI" I knew how to pronounce it.

Dude, this is MeFi. Of course some of us over thought this. I actually had a discussion with someone in this thread for over an hour.
posted by special-k at 9:51 AM on March 24, 2010


It's obvious that MeFite rhymes with Nephite. Right?
posted by Nelson at 9:52 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


How to use mefi in a spoken sentence:

"YOU'VE BEEN ARGUING ON MEFI FOR TWO HOURS, COME TO BED ALREADY!"


This presupposes the existence of a significant other.

So yeah, still waiting for that sentence...

*sadface*
posted by djgh at 9:53 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wonder how much of that MeFi music stat will be affected solely by Punch 'Em In The Dick.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:54 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's meh-fee and it's meh-fite. Nothing else makes sense. This thread can now be closed.
posted by handee at 9:55 AM on March 24, 2010 [13 favorites]


MeFi = "me" + "fi"

MeFite = "me" + "fight"
posted by ericb at 9:55 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Done. That was fun.

More please. :)
posted by zarq at 9:55 AM on March 24, 2010


And, done.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:55 AM on March 24, 2010


iamkimiam, will you be posting the tabulated results later?

Not exactly. I'm going to analyze all the data and write up all the results and analysis for two separate masters-thesis-style papers (they're called 'squibs' in linguistics; I don't quite understand why). So yes, I'll share the results, but not until after I analyze them (as fast as I can!), and I won't be posting the raw data anywhere public (other than counts and totals in the papers; with lots of shiny charts and tables).
posted by iamkimiam at 9:56 AM on March 24, 2010


Man I can't lie, got on Mefi in my own sty i with the wifi up in the sky gonna gonna gonna be sendin' me so high by the by.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


But handee, you're adding an "h" to the end of the first syllable. How does that "make sense?" Do you pronounce "me" as "meh"? Would you say "Why is TWPL picking on meh?"
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:58 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


People say "pop" instead of soda. People do crazy things with words.

Previous MeFi FPP: Pop Vs Soda.
posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on March 24, 2010


Meh-fee and Meh-fight
posted by vacapinta at 9:59 AM on March 24, 2010 [6 favorites]



I talk to people who use at least two other pronunciations besides the one Matt and I use.


So how do you and Matt say it?
posted by morganannie at 9:59 AM on March 24, 2010


Ooooohhhhh, charrrrrrts!
For ultimate enjoyment, use Chickenlady inflection when saying that.
posted by heyho at 9:59 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was sad <label>s weren't used to make clicking the options a little easier.

</huge nerd>
posted by kmz at 9:59 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going to analyze all the data and write up all the results and analysis for two separate masters-thesis-style papers (they're called 'squibs' in linguistics; I don't quite understand why).

In the field of linguistics, texts are usually rigged with a small remotely-operated explosive that spatters a sac of blood once the reader turns to the last page.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:59 AM on March 24, 2010 [24 favorites]


dammit, I forgot to write my name on my quiz.
kim: Mine's the one with all the right answers, ok?
posted by special-k at 10:00 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone knows in NYC how Houston St. is pronounced, but I recently discovered a variation on another NYC street: Vesey St. Most everyone I know pronounces it VEH-see. However, my girlfriend said it should be pronounced VEE-see. True enough, the internet seems to back her up, but I have not met a single NYer pronounce it that way.
posted by yeti at 10:01 AM on March 24, 2010


Pony request: Can I request steel blue as the color for my sliver of pie in your shiny pie chart?
posted by special-k at 10:01 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


GREG, SHHHHHHHHHH! ITS A SURPRISE!
posted by iamkimiam at 10:01 AM on March 24, 2010


In the field of linguistics, texts are usually rigged with a small remotely-operated explosive that spatters a sac of blood once the reader turns to the last page.

This is why Chomsky is so grumpy.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I talk to people who use at least two other pronunciations besides the one Matt and I use. It's a fun icebreaker at many meetups.

And a recurring argument during podcasts.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:02 AM on March 24, 2010


People say "popsoda" instead of sodapop. People do crazy things with words.

FTFY.

Since my wife and I are from different regions one of us says "pop" and the other "soda" although we've both moved towards using both. That said, in mixed company I try to avoid the issue and say "Coke" or "Mt Dew" or whatever.
posted by DU at 10:02 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pronounced "Me" + "Fie" because it's all about me, and fie on anyone who disagrees. Pronounced "Me" + "Fight" because me fight anyone who disagrees.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:03 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


People say "pop" instead of soda. People do crazy things with words.

Yep. Especially here in Massachusetts.
“Bang a u’ie”, not “turn around”

“Bizza”, not “weird”

"Book", not "flee", as in "The statee came and we booked outta there!"

"Cella", not "basement"

"Chowdahead", not "idiot"

"Frappe", not "milkshake"

“Frickin'” means “fuck” and used when in polite company

“Gravy” is “tomato sauce” and very popular in Boston’s North End

“Hang a right”, not “take a right”

“Hermit” is a molasses and raisin bar

“Jimmies”, not “sprinkles for your ice cream”

“Package Store” or “packie”, not “liquor store”

“Quayuh”, not "Queer" It means “dorky”, “stupid” and is not a synonym for "gay."

“Scrod” is a generic name for white fish – usually cod, but can be the “fish of the day”

"Soda" or "tonic", not "soft drink" or "pop"

"Wicked pissa", not "awesome"

"Wicked", not "very"

“Yah huh” and “no suh”, not “Yes” and “no.” As in -- "I saw Joey in Southie and he was with another girl." "No SUH!" "Yah huh."
posted by ericb at 10:03 AM on March 24, 2010 [17 favorites]


However, my girlfriend said it should be pronounced VEE-see.

Blasphemy. :D
posted by zarq at 10:03 AM on March 24, 2010


MeFie: A subsite for bitching about other members.
posted by The Whelk at 10:04 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, my girlfriend said it should be pronounced VEE-see.

DTMFA
posted by special-k at 10:04 AM on March 24, 2010


Interesting poll. Very "we're about to embark on a marketing campaign" ish.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:05 AM on March 24, 2010


None of those pronunciations were accurate for me. I think of it as My, not Meh.

This.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 10:05 AM on March 24, 2010


“Jimmies”, not “sprinkles for your ice cream”

Ew. In my neck of the woods, you'd ask for that and get ice cream with condoms on top. Careful where you travel with that phrase, ericb. (Unless you didn't really mean "ice cream.")
posted by heyho at 10:06 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the ethnicity bit, the only option if you're black is "African American". What if you're black but not American? Not that it applies to me - I just wondered.

"Mee-fee" and "mee-fight" are the correct pronunciations. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.
posted by idiomatika at 10:09 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I notice that the range of opinion on pronunciation listed is:

Indifferent — I (might) use other forms ---> Very Strongly — I (would) only use my chosen form

I don't think this fully covers my opinion, so go ahead and assume that my dot actually stands for:

"Holy War — I will treat all those that disagree with me to a cleansing fire that will scour the earth of all heretics and non-believers in the One True Pronunciation."
posted by quin at 10:09 AM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


“Jimmies”, not “sprinkles for your ice cream”
...
Ew. In my neck of the woods, you'd ask for that and get ice cream with condoms on top.


Well, in Boston, if you ask for "ice cream" you generally get handed a big bowl of penises.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:10 AM on March 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


Actually, you get handed a 'bucket of cocks.'
posted by ericb at 10:11 AM on March 24, 2010


My gawd, hearing all those wrong pronunciations made my brain hurt! This survey should come with a free lollipop at the end.
posted by amyms at 10:13 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mee-Fie/Mee-Fight
posted by thivaia at 10:13 AM on March 24, 2010


In the ethnicity bit, the only option if you're black is "African American". What if you're black but not American? Not that it applies to me - I just wondered.

Good point.
posted by morganannie at 10:16 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting poll, thanks.

I check Projects maybe once a month and Jobs never, but I had to use the same poll option on both (if I remember right).
posted by ODiV at 10:16 AM on March 24, 2010


Done! Fun times. Though I don't like being asked how often I check MetaFilter. I don't like to think about how much of a life I don't have.

cortex is absolutely wrong on this issue.

What! I thought I was saying it wrong until I heard Cortex say it! Now I'm all self-conscious.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:16 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


cortex: "And a recurring argument during podcasts"

Oh, now I understand the relevance of the podcast question. This is a Milgram-style study of our conformity to the mods' pronunciations.

Well, I'm going to keep saying "MEE-fye" no matter how bad the electric shocks get.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:17 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I pronounce it "Thibodeau".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:18 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


MeFi = "me" + "fi"

But does your "fi" rhyme with "fly"? (ie: is the "i" soft or hard?) That's not immediately apparent, is it? Particularly in the context of how "filter" is pronounced (soft "i")






(unless you're a fucking Eye-diot).
posted by philip-random at 10:20 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just picked ones that sounded nice. I've never used either term in speech - I tend to go for the extra syllables.

(Meh-fie. Meh, M-E-H, for boredom; fie for fie upon you. I think it sums the character of the site up.)
posted by cmyk at 10:20 AM on March 24, 2010


In the ethnicity bit, the only option if you're black is "African American". What if you're black but not American?

This is a really good point here. And these distinctions are super important, both for the research and many reasons outside of it.

I'm going to be doing quite a bit of data cleanup, based on what people write in the text boxes and/or email me. I can't change the survey as its presented at this point (IRB clearance and all), but I don't want anybody to feel like they're not represented, or that they're being forced into a category that isn't accurate for them.

Basically, if anybody writes anything in a text box or emails me to clarify anything, I will take that into consideration and create new categories or factors to consider wherever necessary. This is the nature of sociolinguistic research...there's only so far I can go with categorical data anyway. I'm looking forward to seeing all the things I've missed, or other ways to look at and organize the data. So, yes, thanks for this, and keep it comin'! :)
posted by iamkimiam at 10:21 AM on March 24, 2010


Well, in Boston, if you ask for "ice cream" you generally get handed a big bowl of penises.

Greg Nog, you seem to have a theme developing here
posted by Think_Long at 10:21 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I can't tell you how long I've been waiting to answer Gender with "Other" - so thank you for that.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:21 AM on March 24, 2010


Interesting poll. Very "we're about to embark on a marketing campaign" ish."

Yeah, I'm about to launch a giant plate of beans.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:22 AM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Only the chocolate ones are "jimmies." Rainbow are still "sprinkles."

And, in a fun demonstration of why Wikipedia is a pretend encyclopedia and not to be taken seriously:

Brigham's Ice Cream: Jimmies
Around the Boston Area the most common term used for sprinkles are jimmies. Jimmies where first developed by the Just Born Candy Company, which was founded by Samuel Born, who immigrated to the US from Russia around 1910. In 1930 Born invented a tiny-hotdog shaped chocolate sprinkles to put on desserts, calling this creation jimmies, after the man who ran the machine producing them. When they came to Boston, (circa 1947) Brigham's was the first to promote jimmies and did not charge for them. Brigham’s continues the tradition of serving jimmies free of charge on ice cream cones and dishes.
Sprinkles: Origin of the name Jimmies
Dr. Sidney Farber, known as the "father of chemotherapy", worked at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital as an Intern from Harvard Medical School, and became a specialist in children's cancer. Subsequently, he established the Sidney Farber Cancer Institute in Boston (now known as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute). While he was still at Brigham Hospital, Farber establish a charity to help raise money for children's cancer research. A poster boy was nicknamed Jimmy, and the fund was called The Jimmy Fund. Edward Brigham (nephew of the founder of what is now the Brigham and Woman's Hospital of Harvard Medical School) opened an ice cream restaurant in Newton Highlands, MA called Brigham's which eventually expanded to 200 shops at its peak. Edward Brigham decided that he would support the charity by offering chocolate sprinkles on ice cream cones at his shops and charging one extra penny, with the penny going to the Jimmy Fund. Thus, the name Jimmies. The Boston Braves baseball team of the National League (now the Atlanta Braves) adopted the Jimmy Fund as their official charity in 1948. When the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953 the Boston Red Sox made the Jimmy Fund their official charity.
posted by cribcage at 10:23 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Man, I can't keep my Greg_Nog penis stories straight.
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on March 24, 2010


I took it and I didn't even read this thread yet and in fact I still haven't read it!
posted by rtha at 10:25 AM on March 24, 2010


No need to say mefi when you can go the whole hog and say metafilter ... I'm not in a rush.
posted by thoughtless at 10:26 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not for nothing or nothin', but: I have given this some considerable thought prior to this poll, motherfuckers
posted by Jofus at 10:27 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


thought it was short for mefistofeles.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:28 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


“Jimmies”, not “sprinkles for your ice cream”

Where I come from, if you ask for that you're asking for used tampons on your ice cream.

Working as a barista in a health food store I've had out-of-staters make bizzare, bizarre requests:

Harried-looking woman: "Do you have any bikkies?". At first I thought she was asking if we had lighters, then asked if there was another word for what she was asking for. "Oh you know, BIKKIES!" she goes. Finally through miming I understand what she was asking for. "Oh, you mean COOKIES!". Gah.

A couple comes in and asks where our grinders are. "Over there", I point to the coffee grinders. They said no, do we have any GRINDERS. "What, like a portable grinder?". I had no idea what they were talking about and it took quite a while for them to establish they were looking for a sandwich. I'd never heard the term before.

Older couple comes in asking where the local package store was. I thought they were asking for the local UPS, yet again they seemed quite reluctant to say anything other than "package store", which didn't help me very much. Finally I had to ask them "What do they sell at a 'package store'" and they go "liquor, of course!". HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW

We get a huge number of urbanites every year who expect their local slang to be understood the world over. Sorry guys, it doesn't work like that. Just use the standard worldwide synonym, please.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:30 AM on March 24, 2010 [17 favorites]


Not sure if occupation is a factor. If you work in software, the CamelCase convention suggests that MeFi is two words, Me and Fi. I think I'd pronounce it differently if I thought it was a single word Mefi.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:31 AM on March 24, 2010 [14 favorites]


I must have missed something. Don't you usually find out what Star Trek character you are or your pirate name after filling out these things? All I got was a thank you message.
posted by azpenguin at 10:32 AM on March 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


“Scrod” is a generic name for white fish – usually cod, but can be the “fish of the day”

A businessman arriving in Boston for a convention found that his first evening was free, and he decided to go find a good seafood restaurant.
Getting into a taxi, he asked the cab driver, "Do you know anywhere I can get scrod?"
The driver hesitates, then answers,"Sure... but lemme tell you, it's not often I hear someone use the third-person pluperfect indicative!"
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:33 AM on March 24, 2010 [29 favorites]


Just this week I realised "hyperbole" isn't pronounced "hyperbowl", so it's fun seeing how people sound out words in their heads in so many different ways.

This time I'm sure I'm saying MeFi right. Mee-fai.
posted by hellopanda at 10:34 AM on March 24, 2010


The Winsome Parker Lewis: through analogy with the pronunciation of Metafilter. Whilst not spelt Mehtafilter, I am betting you don't call it Meatafilter.
posted by handee at 10:36 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't you usually find out what Star Trek character you are or your pirate name after filling out these things? All I got was a thank you message.

That's what this thread is for! azpenguin, you are:
Rum Scalawag Pakled
posted by Greg Nog at 10:36 AM on March 24, 2010


Don't you usually find out what Star Trek character you are or your pirate name after filling out these things? All I got was a thank you message.

Then you are Neelix. Sorry.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


I too say Metafilter in real life though I have pronunciation choices in my head.

Lucky for me, I heard somebody else say Houston Street before I had to, thereby escaping embarrassment. Not so in Chicago when I had to ask for directions to Devon Avenue and take a cab to Diversey.
posted by clavicle at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2010


In the ethnicity bit, the only option if you're black is "African American". What if you're black but not American?

I used to work with an black guy who was of Aboriginal Australian descent and, for obvious reasons, disliked others making assumptions and erroneously referring to him as African-American. He liked to mess with them and say that he would prefer "Aboriginal-Australian-African-American", and if they didn't get the joke, he simply point out that "black was fine".
posted by quin at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


None of those pronunciations were accurate for me. I think of it as My, not Meh.

I'm trying to understand how you can get "my" out of "me," but I'm coming up blank.
posted by reductiondesign at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


two cents more. I have never heard anybody pronounce mefi or mefite, and I have never pronounced either of those terms. I do not mentally say stuff when I read it. I do read stuff out loud, but not metafilter, yet.
posted by bukvich at 10:39 AM on March 24, 2010


Sorry guys, it doesn't work like that. Just use the standard worldwide synonym, please.

Except that "grinder" is an example of where there isn't necessarily a "standard worldwide synonym." I used to work a lunch counter. I've heard "sub," "grinder," "hero," "hoagie," and "Italian"; and I met people who used each of those terms but were unfamiliar with the others. It's easy to say that people should be considerate about using dialectal words, but the flip side is that part of having a good vocabulary is being familiar with those types of words.
posted by cribcage at 10:41 AM on March 24, 2010


I'm still astounded that there are people who insist on pronouncing it "MEE-FIE." Apparently people are under the impression that they're posting to a web site called "MEE-ta-FIE-lter." That only makes sense to me if I say it with a weird sort of Ukrainian accent.
posted by koeselitz at 10:42 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


nooneyouknow writes "Yes, also there is a gap between once every hour and a few times a day. I visit Metafilter several times a day, but not once every hout."

I've really got to admire the users getting up every 55 minutes during the night to load up the blue/grey/green.
posted by Mitheral at 10:44 AM on March 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Apparently people are under the impression that they're posting to a web site called "MEE-ta-FIE-lter."

That's interesting, because I had never even considered that my pronunciation of MeFi should be at all informed by my pronunciation of MetaFilter. I treat the two as different names for the same thing in my head.

Also, "Sascha" & "Alexander"
posted by OmieWise at 10:45 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I do not mentally say stuff when I read it

Then what do you do?
posted by morganannie at 10:46 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]



I've really got to admire the users getting up every 55 minutes during the night to load up the blue/grey/green.


it's good to be appreciated. .
posted by The Whelk at 10:46 AM on March 24, 2010


None of those pronunciations were accurate for me. I think of it as My, not Meh.

I totally corrected someone for this the other day and now I feel bad.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:46 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


nooneyouknow writes "Yes, also there is a gap between once every hour and a few times a day. I visit Metafilter several times a day, but not once every hout."

I've really got to admire the users getting up every 55 minutes during the night to load up the blue/grey/green.


Where was the option for "Reload every 15 seconds to see if you have any new favorites"?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:46 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Apparently people are under the impression that they're posting to a web site called "MEE-ta-FIE-lter."

Except that rational people can deduce that "MeFi" is an abbreviation with it's own, logically, face-value pronunciation which doesn't have to draw it's pronunciation from the original word.
That's how we can walk around SoHo without saying "Sow-How."
posted by chococat at 10:49 AM on March 24, 2010 [13 favorites]


quin: “I used to work with an black guy who was of Aboriginal Australian descent and, for obvious reasons, disliked others making assumptions and erroneously referring to him as African-American. He liked to mess with them and say that he would prefer ‘Aboriginal-Australian-African-American’, and if they didn't get the joke, he simply point out that ‘black was fine’.”

I read an academic article once by a fellow who was actually convinced that America was facing an impending race war because he, a dark Spaniard with some Arabic blood, was constantly being referred to as "African-American" ... and then, when he spoke up to point out (in his Castilian Spanish accent) that he was not actually African-American, and that the last ancestor he'd had who lived in Africa was over 500 years ago, he was always immediately dubbed "a Mexican-American."

I hope he wasn't right about the race war, but I imagine the whole thing was quite annoying to him.
posted by koeselitz at 10:49 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Where was the option for "Reload every 15 seconds to see if you have any new favorites"?

They'd save a lot of processing time and bandwidth if the precise favorites pages had RSS feeds available.
posted by FishBike at 10:49 AM on March 24, 2010


You say CarMEna, I say CarMYna
You say BurAHna, I say BurAYna
CarMEna, CarMYna
BurAHna, BurAYna
Let's call the whole thing Orff!
SORRY
posted by heyho at 10:50 AM on March 24, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm still astounded that there are people who insist on pronouncing it "MEE-FIE." Apparently people are under the impression that they're posting to a web site called "MEE-ta-FIE-lter." That only makes sense to me if I say it with a weird sort of Ukrainian accent.

How do you pronounce wi-fi, then? WHY-FIH?
posted by reductiondesign at 10:50 AM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Worst destination to give to a cab driver in Chicago is Goethe street. 90% of the world has no idea how to pronounce it. If you do know the correct pronunciation you always have an internal debate whether to pronounce it correctly and get a blank look or just call it goe-thee and assume that will work. Of course if you're the sort of person who knows how to pronounce Goethe then you probably find it very disconcerting to deliberately mispronounce a word.

Or maybe it's just me that has that kind of existential lexical crisis in the backs of cabs.
posted by Babblesort at 10:51 AM on March 24, 2010 [20 favorites]


I read MeFi over a why-fee connection. Or is that a whiffy connection? Oh, why fie?
posted by davemee at 10:51 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually usually just say "MetaFilter" rather than "MeFi".
posted by Karmakaze at 10:52 AM on March 24, 2010


I'm still astounded that there are people who insist on pronouncing it "MEE-FIE."

But how do you pronounce HiFi? High fih?

MeFi functions as a word of its own, and pronouncing it 'Meh fih' would make it, to my ears, a crappy sounding word. 'Mee Fie' is vastly more pleasing, both in terms of pronouncing it as sounds, and in terms of pronouncing based only on the letters, not on its etymological lineage.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:53 AM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's pronounced "shibboleth", obviously.

Isn't it interesting how people adamantly insist (even if joking or at least half joking) that their pronunciation is the right one? This is how wars and schisms start.
posted by Electric Dragon at 10:53 AM on March 24, 2010


It's Go-eee-THE when the CTA drivers call it out.
posted by Mid at 10:53 AM on March 24, 2010


Ok, so how do you pronounce "FIAMO"?
posted by albrecht at 10:54 AM on March 24, 2010


So when the poll closes you're going to give us the big reveal, right? Like why anybody cares how a bunch of internet dorks pronounce a made-up abbreviation of a made-up name?

Uh oh, wait a sec, guys - look at the timing here. I think this is the set-up for the mods' annual April Fool's prank, and iamkimiam is a willing accomplice because she's bugging out to London soon. I think we've been played!
posted by Quietgal at 10:55 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


MeFi MoFum.
posted by rlk at 10:56 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is how wars and schisms start.
Oh come now, that's overreacting.
I think someone would be much more likely to murder you in your sleep over this.
posted by chococat at 10:57 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok, so how do you pronounce "FIAMO"?

After I read this comment I started pronouncing it with flair.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:59 AM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


No need to start a war and/or schism. If you're ever confused about how to say something, just discreetly MeMail me and I'll tell you the correct pronunciation. If you disagree, no worries. Being wrong is not a crime (in most jurisdictions).
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:00 AM on March 24, 2010


chococat: “Except that rational people can deduce that ‘MeFi’ is an abbreviation with it's own, logically, face-value pronunciation which doesn't have to draw it's pronunciation from the original word. ¶ That's how we can walk around SoHo without saying ‘Sow-How.’”

Wouldn't it be "Suh-Ha" if you did it 'properly'?

Anyway, you're right, and unfortunately my theory, which makes sense to me superficially, doesn't even hold up on its own merit. I mean, I pronounce it "meh-fee" - which is distinctly not how those syllables sound in the word I'm shortening (at least for me) since I don't pronounce the name of the site "metaFEELter." (I guess certain eastern European accents might cause me to, but I'm not eastern European.)

I think part of my instinctive pronunciation of the abbreviation "mefi" comes from learning Spanish when I was a kid and growing up constantly correcting the way English-speakers pronounce Spanish words. At least that's probably where I get "fee" from, and the instinctive dislike of the pronunciation of the single vowel "i" as "aye," which is quite unique to English from what I can tell - I don't know any other languages that do that.

When you think about it, in fact, the "MEE-FIE" pronunciation (which, as far as I can tell, is the most common pronunciation - maybe this study will prove me wrong, I don't know) is quite interesting because it happens to be a collision of two first-person pronouns - "ME" and "I" - with an 'f' in the middle. It's very personal to say it, I guess, although I don't know how much I believe that people are subconsciously acting out something Freudian when they pronounce a catchphrase moniker for a website. And if I believed that, I'd have to believe that when I pronounce it "meh-fee" I'm emphasizing the fact that I paid $5 to join up. Heh.
posted by koeselitz at 11:01 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


SoHo (in New York) is short for "South Houston." Soho (in the UK) isn't short for anything. According to Wikipedia.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:02 AM on March 24, 2010


I'm still astounded that there are people who insist on pronouncing it "MEE-FIE." Apparently people are under the impression that they're posting to a web site called "MEE-ta-FIE-lter." That only makes sense to me if I say it with a weird sort of Ukrainian accent.

I saw the word MeFi before I ever said it or heard it, and in my head, it sounded like MEE-fie. It doesn't matter that MetaFilter is not pronounced MEETaFIElter. It isn't logical. It's just how it is. Other variations sound "wrong" to me in my head, and feel wrong when I say them, so I stick to MEE-fie.
posted by rtha at 11:03 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Worst destination to give to a cab driver in Chicago is Goethe street.

In Chicago, it's also ReGIna and PauLIna (not Regeena and Pauleena). I don't try to talk to cab drivers about Goethe; it's truly a no-win situation. On the one occasion I had to do so, I wrote it out beforehand and handed the driver the note.

I know I'll pay for this somehow, but my favorite regional joke:
What three street names in Chicago rhyme with vagina?
Answer: Paulina, Regina, and Lunt

posted by heyho at 11:05 AM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


See, MeFi is pronounced Mee-fie because if you stuck to the vowels as they appear in MetaFilter, then it would sound too clipped.

On the other hand, it's Me-fight because it should rhyme with Acolyte. Also Caanite and Hittite.
posted by atrazine at 11:06 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


People, people, please! It's meh-fee. Meh. Fee.

MEH. FEE.

Please, everyone, change your habits accordingly.
posted by slogger at 11:08 AM on March 24, 2010


I could not hear any of the audio samples. Not on my usual computer though. I wrote in how I say it in the comments; I hope that is OK.
posted by pointystick at 11:09 AM on March 24, 2010


People, people, please! It's meh-fee. Meh. Fee.

Only when every single post isn't that great.

Also, anyone know how jonmc feels about this poll?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:10 AM on March 24, 2010


I've got weird predilections about the whole thing, honestly; I'll confess that graphically there's something about capitalized letters in the middle of a word that doesn't look right to me at all, to the point where I've notice I actually can never get myself to type out "MeFi" and always either have to put "mefi" or just type the whole thing out "metafilter."

The Winsome Parker Lewis: “SoHo (in New York) is short for ‘South Houston.’”

Well, "Suh-hyoo," then. That's even more weird.

I was always told that SoHo in London was just short for "Some Whores." Heh.
posted by koeselitz at 11:10 AM on March 24, 2010


I wonder how much of that MeFi music stat will be affected solely by Punch 'Em In The Dick.

A non-zero portion, I can guarantee you that.
posted by nickmark at 11:11 AM on March 24, 2010


Also ... Hittite.

I remember when I was a kid, one of my friends pronounced this HIGH-TIGHT-EE. It was a long-standing inside joke for years.
posted by reductiondesign at 11:13 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


High fidelity ==> hi-fi, pronounced "high-fie".

Science fiction ==> sci-fi, pronounced -- OH FUCK IT'S HARLAN RUN!!!!
posted by maudlin at 11:15 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Glad to see this come out, iamkimiam! I wondered recently of the status of this project but didn't want to add more beans to your already full plate. Speaking of which, I propose an LSA MeFi meetup next year. Hmm, linguists, hmmm?
posted by knile at 11:21 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're all insane. IN-SHAH-NEE
posted by naju at 11:23 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think part of my instinctive pronunciation of the abbreviation "mefi" comes from learning Spanish when I was a kid and growing up constantly correcting the way English-speakers pronounce Spanish words. At least that's probably where I get "fee" from, and the instinctive dislike of the pronunciation of the single vowel "i" as "aye," which is quite unique to English from what I can tell - I don't know any other languages that do that.

I also say meh-fee. You're right in that 'aye' seems very strange and the whole 'mee-fie' thing sounds a bit like 'hee-haw' to my ears - that is the same unnecessary rollicking with uniquely English sounds. Meh comes from a preference for short vowel sounds.

mefi=meh-fee, short and sweet.
posted by vacapinta at 11:25 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


pointystick: "149I could not hear any of the audio samples. Not on my usual computer though. I wrote in how I say it in the comments; I hope that is OK"

Not a prob at all! Thanks for letting me know.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:25 AM on March 24, 2010


Worst destination to give to a cab driver in Chicago is Goethe street. 90% of the world has no idea how to pronounce it. If you do know the correct pronunciation you always have an internal debate whether to pronounce it correctly and get a blank look or just call it goe-thee and assume that will work. Of course if you're the sort of person who knows how to pronounce Goethe then you probably find it very disconcerting to deliberately mispronounce a word.

Just as Milan, OH and Versailles, KY are not pronounced like their more famous counterparts, Goethe street in Chicago is not pronounced like the author. Don't even get me started on Devon street.
posted by kmz at 11:26 AM on March 24, 2010


Just as Milan, OH and Versailles, KY are not pronounced like their more famous counterparts, Goethe street in Chicago is not pronounced like the author. Don't even get me started on Devon street.

See, now I'm wondering, "Wow, how are those things all pronounced, then?", but you left me in the dark.
posted by reductiondesign at 11:30 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe how many different pronunciations there are.

And those of you who don't say "Me-Fi" as in "me" and then "fi" like "wifi" - you're just bad and wrong. (Also: "MeFite" would be the same as "me fight" like Tarzan might say.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:32 AM on March 24, 2010


(Yes, hi, I posted before I read the thread because I have STRONG FEELINGS.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:33 AM on March 24, 2010


I've given this a lot of thought, even before discussing the topic aloud, and even though I know a lot of people disagree, my pronunciation definitely sounds best. "Meh-fee" just makes me think of something cute. Like a teddy bear! I guess that means I agree with the people who think it sounds (physically) weak, though.
posted by tantivy at 11:34 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just as Milan, OH and Versailles, KY are not pronounced like their more famous counterparts, Goethe street in Chicago is not pronounced like the author. Don't even get me started on Devon street.

See, now I'm wondering, "Wow, how are those things all pronounced, then?", but you left me in the dark.


I'm not actually sure on Goethe in Chicago. I've heard it variously as GO-eth or go-e-THEE as somebody mentioned above.

Devon is pronounced like de-VAUGHN. Which drove me absolutely bonkers. I'm not sure why. It's not like I'm from DE-ven or even the UK.
posted by kmz at 11:35 AM on March 24, 2010


In case I ever end up in Milan, OH or Versailles, KY please enlighten me! I don't want to walk into town and look a fool.

I grew up in a Charlotte that is pronounced SHAR - LOT. Not SHAR - LIT.

Crazy, no?
posted by morganannie at 11:35 AM on March 24, 2010


Those of you who want derivatively-named cities to retain the original pronunciation should visit Chili and Charlotte and Lima in upstate NY.
posted by tantivy at 11:36 AM on March 24, 2010


Or, what morganannie said. I thought I didn't have to preview in MeTa.
posted by tantivy at 11:36 AM on March 24, 2010


Well, the important thing is, at the end of the day when I'm wiping "MeFi" from my mind, I'm wiping front to back, standing up.

What?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:37 AM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


And oh, Milan, OH is pronounced MY-lin. Versailles is, Ver-SAILS. Other examples I can think of:

Cairo, IL is KAY-ro.

Manchaca Street in Austin is MAN-shack. (I don't even know.) Various Hispanic street names have naive English pronunications.
posted by kmz at 11:40 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


love sociolinguistics. can't wait to find out how iamkimiam's research goes!
posted by ifjuly at 11:43 AM on March 24, 2010


I don't see what the problem is. It's the word "me" and the word "fi" sandwiched together. It's that simple people, MOVE ON!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:43 AM on March 24, 2010


“Yah huh” and “no suh”, not “Yes” and “no.” As in -- "I saw Joey in Southie and he was with another girl." "No SUH!" "Yah huh."

One of my Top Five Rhode Island Moments was when I caught myself saying "No SUH!" in a sentence in all seriousness. I considered moving right then and there.

As for street names in Providence, just throw any conceptions you have out the window. (I live on Westminster St., but damned if anyone in this town knows that it doesn't have an extra "i" in there. Westminister, all the time. As if it was west of a minister.) Doubly so if you have to - for some reason - go to the town of Arctic. (Ahhhhhhhhhd- ick - trying to articulate that the "t" comes out kind of "d" like but the end of the word does NOT sound like "dick.")
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:45 AM on March 24, 2010


kmz, Tennessee is like that too. It made my skin crawl a little the first time I was exposed to MY-lin; now it just amuses me.

Of course, I'm from Rochester, where pretty much everything is pronounced counter to greater usage. So Charlotte becomes Shar-LOTTE and Chili becomes CHY-lye (the parts rhyme) and eee.
posted by ifjuly at 11:46 AM on March 24, 2010


Also: Boise, ID not at all pronounced like the French word "boise."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:46 AM on March 24, 2010


Manchaca Street in Austin is MAN-shack.

Another good one from Austin is the highway called MoPac, pronounced Moe Pack. But it is named after the Missouri/Pacific railway that the highway was built adjacent to. So, I guesswe should be pronouncing it, uh, Muhpuss.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:46 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


New Berlin, WI is pronounced Newburl'n because of WWII.
posted by quin at 11:47 AM on March 24, 2010


I would like to apologize now for shoehorning the term "nominal-locative" into my explanatory bit...the word "demonym" totally eluded me and I feel even more pretentious than ever.

another NYC street: Vesey St. Most everyone I know pronounces it VEH-see. However, my girlfriend said it should be pronounced VEE-see.

Worst destination to give to a cab driver in Chicago is Goethe street.


Corcoran (CORE-cran) in DC trips some up, but the best is getting people new to San Francisco to say "Gough."

It rhymes with "cough." Not "bough" or "tough" or "rough" or "through" or even "gouge," as some may think.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:50 AM on March 24, 2010


The exact purpose of this study will be revealed after all stages of data collection have been completed.
that made me uncomfortable enough to sit this one out.
posted by krautland at 11:52 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Couch St. in Portland, pronounced Cooch. Hee!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:54 AM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


After taking the survey, I just wanted to hit this thread and say how much I love you for including four options on the gender question (male, female, transgender, other). Seriously, that is way awesome, and an excellent example of How Metafilter Does It Right.
posted by ErikaB at 11:54 AM on March 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Those of you who want derivatively-named cities to retain the original pronunciation should visit Chili and Charlotte and Lima in upstate NY.

And Delhi. As in, Dell-high.

Vermont, you are very, very guilty of these offenses. (Barre / Berry; Calais / Callous, Montpelier / notgonnabother, etc.)
posted by whatzit at 11:55 AM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


ifjuly, you're from Rodchester, are you?
posted by heyho at 11:55 AM on March 24, 2010


God, I don't think I ever thought that much about the pronunciation here -- honestly, maybe once or twice in the shower, what have you -- but this is the sort of poll that I so eagerly await the results for even though I didn't know I had a need to know, you know?

MEE FEE
MEE FIGHT

It's a peculiar and unique pronunciation, and that's the best way you can describe this place!

Using "MEH" in any label == hipster snark == bad == doom == no good.

MEE FYE (fo fum) sounds like it should be in a nursery rhyme. No good word ends with FYE. Tell me otherwise!

But feet? No, it can't be FEET! So the fee turns into fye when t is attached.

See? Simple! /dusts bean jacket
posted by cavalier at 11:55 AM on March 24, 2010


I just found a list of Austin pronunciations and there's ones I didn't even know on there.
posted by kmz at 11:56 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


In Toronto:

Spadina (spa-DINE-ah) Avenue
Spadina (spa-DEEN-ah) House
posted by FishBike at 11:56 AM on March 24, 2010


Oh! Now that we're on this tangent:

Worcester, MA.

Someone explain that to me.

Also,

Reading, PA.
posted by cavalier at 11:59 AM on March 24, 2010


I was going to take it, but I really can't. When I want to pronounce "MeFi" I pronounce it "MetaFilter," even if I am reading something out loud where it is written the other way. Similarly I vocalize "MeFite" as "[x] from MetaFilter."

I've tried a few pronunciations out loud and found them all to be unpleasant to my ears, so I just take the long path, when I'm speaking.

Male native US-English speaker, age 25-30.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:00 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only Austin one that I haven't gotten over is Manor Road, pronounced MAY-nor. Still bugs me ten years on.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:04 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also in Toronto: Roncesvalles. I've actually grown to take a certain amount of pleasure in the ugly, clunky local pronunciation (no rolled R, three syllables, long A in the final syllable.) It's kind of like poking at a loose tooth when you were a kid.
posted by maudlin at 12:06 PM on March 24, 2010


Worcester, MA.

Someone explain that to me.


It's WOOSTAH.

Also see: HAHVID, OXFID, LESSTAH (Leicester), SHOOSBREE (Shrewsbury) and GAADNUH (Gardner).
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yep. Especially here in Massachusetts.

"Massachusetts" and "Boston" are not synonymous. This seems to be confusing to a lot of Bostonites, but it's true! You can tell, because nobody out here would be caught dead banging a wicked chowderhead ewie or whatever the hell you people sound like.

True story: many state grants earmarked for "western Massachusetts" are not available to businesses in Berkshire county, because we're apparently too far west to be considered part of "western MA". Not that we're bitter about it or anything.


If you do know the correct pronunciation you always have an internal debate whether to pronounce it correctly and get a blank look

Every time I want a gyro I have this problem. Mostly I end up just ordering souvlaki instead.

See also: Houston St. in NYC, pronounced "how-ston", not "hew-ston" as in TX
posted by ook at 12:08 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I remember when I was a kid, one of my friends pronounced this HIGH-TIGHT-EE. It was a long-standing inside joke for years.

At a museum with a friend of mine on a class trip in 5th grade. He looked at a map of Italy and said, "Huh. Buhlognuh."(Hard "G")

We still laugh about it. :)
posted by zarq at 12:11 PM on March 24, 2010


It's WOOSTAH.
Wista. It's like, once you've decided you aren't going to bother with that 'r' and that 'c', why not take out a couple more letters and sounds? Simmer for 300 years and here we are.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:14 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


No good word ends with FYE. Tell me otherwise!

In pronunciation? HiFi, WiFi, Sci-Fi, Semper FI, and most importantly MeFi.

Did I not mention the holy cleansing fire? Because I like a lot of you all, and I'd hate to see you burn needlessly.
posted by quin at 12:17 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The MA tangent reminds me of my dad asking a guy at a gas station where Woburn was and the guy giving him a clueless glazed-eye look and then the lightbulb going off and his face lighting up and going "Ohhhh...you mean Woe-bin!" Ha. A similar thing happened in Pittburgh with, iirc, asking for directions for Baum Blvd or something.
posted by ifjuly at 12:19 PM on March 24, 2010


Worcester, MA.

Kinda like how one pronounces 'Worcestershire sauce.'
posted by ericb at 12:21 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spokane, WA = SpoKAN, no E. That surprised me.

But not as much as the local pronunciation of Coeur d'Alene, ID. Core da layne? Seriously?

For the record: Mee fye / Mee fight. Alternatives never occurred to me until the first time this came up for discussion.
posted by emelenjr at 12:23 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a friend in high school from Glaucester. I tormented her endlessly about how she pronounced it "glossta" and insisted that it be called "gl ow sess terrrrrr."
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:24 PM on March 24, 2010


So easy: just do it like this

ME FI Fo Fum

Me Fight (Ho Hum).
posted by Lynsey at 12:25 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


ericb wrote: "MeFi = "me" + "fi"

MeFite = "me" + "fight
"

MeFee, I'm telling you, MeFee!

I was just wondering whose sexxxy voice was used for the spoken examples. ;)
posted by wierdo at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2010


People say "pop" instead of soda. People do crazy things with words.

I know, because clearly the proper pronunciation is "Coke".
posted by madajb at 12:30 PM on March 24, 2010


that made me uncomfortable enough to sit this one out.

There are a whole bunch of really disappointed guys in the MetaFilter Special Forces: Pronunciation Enforcement Unit right now.

It's all right guys, we'll find another way to track the rebels down.
posted by FishBike at 12:30 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know, because clearly the proper pronunciation is "Coke".

But... no! You're diluting the meaning of the word! Now if you want to refer to regular Coca-Cola, you've got to use more than one syllable.

I actually prefer Izze, but worry about how to pronounce that as well. Is it like "fizzy"?
posted by tantivy at 12:33 PM on March 24, 2010


See also: Houston St. in NYC, pronounced "how-ston", not "hew-ston" as in TX

Or Miami, OK.

Wikipedia says: "The spelling for the city comes from the Latin phonetic spelling for the Myaamia (also spelled Maumee) tribe, and is correctly pronounced "Me-ah-me," although it is commonly rendered "My-am-me," except in Oklahoma, where the vernacular pronunciation of "my-am-uh" is used."

I'm from Oklahoma, and the article is correct, it was always "my-am-uh".
posted by mrbill at 12:35 PM on March 24, 2010


Puyallup, WA: pyoo-AL-up
Sequim: squim
Humptulips: delightfully, just how you'd think
posted by Skot at 12:36 PM on March 24, 2010


tantivy, you're pronouncing it properly (if you want to believe the fake encyclopedia). More importantly, that's how I pronounce it. I love their blueberry soda.
posted by heyho at 12:40 PM on March 24, 2010


New Berlin, WI is pronounced Newburl'n because of WWII.

And Berlin, CT has the stress on the first syllable, not the second.
posted by smackfu at 12:41 PM on March 24, 2010


heyho, I used to live on Paulina, and the same joke flicked through my brain this morning.
posted by Elsa at 12:41 PM on March 24, 2010


I pronounce it 'May-fie' and 'May-fight'.

I will not stop.
posted by chugg at 12:42 PM on March 24, 2010


Worcester, MA.

Someone explain that to me.


Without any snark whatsoever:

The town's name (in England as well as MA) is made up as "Worce-ster", and not "Wor-cester." Understanding this is half the battle. See also "Gloucester" as "Glouce-ster."

From "Worce-ster" it's pretty clear that any glottal stop between the syllables would disappear rapidly as people stopped saying "Worce'ster" and slurred it into "Worster."

Furthermore, many English accents, including the one that became the Massachusetts accent, are non-rhotic. That means "Worce" was already being pronounced closer to "Wooce" or "Wuss." So the slurred "Worster" was being pronounced "Wooster," and there are other towns named "Wooster," like Wooster, OH. But in MA, the R is still pronounced non-rhotically, causing the trailing "R" to also be missed. Thus "WOOSTAH."
posted by explosion at 12:45 PM on March 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Re: Reading, PA: "Red-ding".

I'm pretty sure Baum Blvd is just Bawm; at least, I haven't heard it any other way in the five years I've been here, but I've been mostly around students, not natives, I admit.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 12:45 PM on March 24, 2010


I love their blueberry soda.

WAIT! Izze has a blueberry?

Watch out, the elderly, for I will trample you on my way to buy this!
posted by Skot at 12:49 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Winsome Parker Lewis: “SoHo (in New York) is short for ‘South Houston.’”

koeselitz: Well, "Suh-hyoo," then. That's even more weird.


"Suh"? Do you actually say "Suth" instead of "South"? Do you also put your food in a "muth" and live in a "huss"?

"South" and "Houston" are both pronounced with an "OW," at least in New York, but "SoHo" is pronounced to rhyme with "HoHo" or "YoHo."

MeFi: Me as in "me, I'm right in how I pronounce my words." Fi as in, "HiFi," "WiFi," etc.

With shit like this, you can't think too hard about where the syllables came from, and should only think about how the word itself looks. Another good example is also from New York: "Tribeca" is pronounced like "Try Becca," but means "Triangle Below Canal (St.)" and would be pronounced "Try Bee Ca" if not treated as its own word.
posted by explosion at 12:51 PM on March 24, 2010


Now if you want to refer to regular Coca-Cola, you've got to use more than one syllable.

Nah, it's all just "Coke".
But don't think of it as "dilution" think of it as an opportunity for more interaction with the wait staff:

"You want a drink?"
"Yeah, just a coke."
"What kind?"
"You have Sprite?"
"Nah"
"Ok, just Coke, then"
posted by madajb at 12:51 PM on March 24, 2010


"hyperbole" isn't pronounced "hyperbowl"

With a hyperbowl, you have to pour the cereal fifty feet away from the actual bowl, and have already poured the milk last Thursday.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:52 PM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Anyone who asks "what kind?" after "I'll have a Coke" is either making sure you don't want Diet Coke, or is a grossly incompetent communicator. Or both.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:57 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


MeFi: Me as in "me, I'm right in how I pronounce my words.

Then why don't you also say Tri-BEE-ca?
posted by vacapinta at 12:57 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I pronounce the first syllable "mee" as a result of seeing people abbreviate AskMetafilter as AskMe. And "Ask Me" makes vastly more sense than "Ask Mehhhhh".
posted by arianell at 12:59 PM on March 24, 2010


DuBois, PA, is of course pronounced DewBoys.
posted by not that girl at 12:59 PM on March 24, 2010


Anyone who asks "what kind?" after "I'll have a Coke" is either...

I assume you've never been to the South? Or perhaps you are making a joke?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:01 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've grown a thick skin to anglicized French names. It's the hybrids I can't stand.

There's a mall in town called Place D'Orleans. To the locals, that is neither "Plass D'Or-lay-uh" nor "Place Door-leans", but "Plass Door-leans".
It's like saying "Nouvelle Or-leans". Ugh.

Also: I am completely enchanted by the French pronunciation of Detroit. It makes it seem like a magical fairlytale kind of place.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:02 PM on March 24, 2010


I have only ever said "mefi" or "mefite" out loud, or chosen to use either term, when asked how I would pronounce them. I say "metafilter" and "person from metafilter" or "the internet" and "imaginary friend".
posted by crush-onastick at 1:03 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


In San Francisco, I'm always fumbling with the streets Gough and Junipero Serra.

Americans generally pronounce Van Gough as Van Go, but I don't know whether SF folks do that with Gough Street.

I think I know how Junipero would be pronounced in Spanish, but there's a ton of anglicized Spanish words in CA. Hard J? Emphasis on the second syllable, or the first or the third?
posted by team lowkey at 1:05 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Des Moines in Washington state: "d@ moyns" (the @ is a schwa)
Des Moines in most other locations: not like that!
posted by litlnemo at 1:06 PM on March 24, 2010


I always wish gender checkboxes gave the option for multiple answers. Many (most?) trans people ID as male AND trans or female AND trans. One way to handle this would be:

Pick all that apply:
Male
Female
Another gender identity (please elaborate)

Transgender is almost a separate question.

But I say "My-Fie", so I'm a weirdo.
posted by serazin at 1:09 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cool survey btw, can't wait to see the results.
posted by serazin at 1:10 PM on March 24, 2010


(I"m also very curious about the economic status of mefi users)
posted by serazin at 1:10 PM on March 24, 2010


Washington State pronounciations are all whack, anyway, litlnemo. I used to live on Verde Street. If you pronounced it correctly, people wouldn't know what the Hell you were talking about. "Oh, you mean Vird?" they'd ask. So I moved.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:10 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


team lowkey: “In San Francisco, I'm always fumbling with the streets Gough and Junipero Serra.”

I like learning pronunciation, and I don't have a huge problem pronouncing the names of things most places in the world, but California is perpetually a mystery to me. I am convinced that California has the most difficult-to-ken place name pronunciations in the world. Anywhere else you can learn a bit about a local dialect and start to figure it out – Boston has that old New England thing, Texas pronounces Spanish words with a drawl, etc. But California is a mess of difficulty just because of the vast diversity in place names and pronunciations – half the time I can't even tell if I'm supposed to be pronouncing a Spanish word, or a fake Spanish word which was invented by white people who wanted to make the place sound pretty, or an imported word from elsewhere that the white people came up with to make the place sound exotic, or maybe an Asian word from those communities which have been there for generations... it's just so goddamned confusing, frankly, that I always get frustrated.
posted by koeselitz at 1:12 PM on March 24, 2010


"I was just wondering whose sexxxy voice was used for the spoken examples. ;)"

Actually, it's Crystal from AT&T Labs Natural Voices Text-to-Speech Demo. She's one sexy 'bot.

Yes, I got permission from them to do this.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:14 PM on March 24, 2010


Then why don't you also say Tri-BEE-ca?

Because it's not spelled "TriBeCa," but "Tribeca." I explained this.

AskMe, MeFi. CamelCase has an important psychological effect on how one parses a word. You see the "Me," you pronounce the "Me."

I guess if you're Eric Cartman, you might honestly say "Ask Meh" though.
posted by explosion at 1:15 PM on March 24, 2010


I was partially joking about the Coke thing, but it still sounds WRONG AND BAD to me. Then again, I say Kleenex even if it's Puffs brand, so I have no room to talk. Brand names become colloquial generics all the time.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:17 PM on March 24, 2010


and "imaginary friend"

Oh, you don't want me as an imaginary friend;

The next time you say this, I want you to imagine a little three inch tall, transparent figure floating above your shoulder. The kind of thing in a movie would typically be a representation of the Good and Evil voices in your head. Only it's imaginary-quin, and it's a vulgar little bastard that makes crude sexual pelvic thrusts towards your ear canal and says suggestive things about your spouse.

Believe me, real Mefites are better than imaginary friends. I live with imaginary-quin and that little fucker never shuts up.
posted by quin at 1:19 PM on March 24, 2010


California is both wonderful and confusing. In SF, I don't know how Junipero Serra is pronounced, but based on Arguello I'm going to guess it's totally anglicized. Kearny and Geary make me more nervous- I think it's the subtle vowel distinctions.
posted by tantivy at 1:19 PM on March 24, 2010


According to every pronunciation guide I have ever seen linux is pronounced with a long "i". I hear it pronounced with a short "i" at minimum 9 times in 10. Gif is supposed to be pronounced like the peanut butter choosy mothers choose; In practice it is 50-50 jif & gif, g-soft & g-hard.
posted by bukvich at 1:21 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


rlk: "139MeFi MoFum"

MeFi MoFun

FTFM
posted by Drasher at 1:24 PM on March 24, 2010


Since other Austinite's have chimed in, I guess I'll tell the story of my first cab ride in Austin after moving here from South Texas. Hispanic cab driver; I need to go to Guadalupe. I pronounced it how I'd heard every Hispanic South Texan pronounce it my whole life. Cab driver had *NO IDEA* what I was talking about.

And while we're on the subject, I have no idea how "Koenig" is *supposed* to be pronounced, and I've heard it several ways, so I stick with "2222" (and try to never be the one to give directions).
posted by MuChao at 1:24 PM on March 24, 2010


From my profile:

I can see both sides of the argument - on the surface Mehfi(tes) may seem more stylistically consistent with the original brand, but MeeFi(tes) is how I'd pronounce those words without any context (MetaFilter). The former, stylistically consistent viewpoint becomes more problematic when you consider the popular pronunciation of the word MeFi in the Meh camp becomes more like MehFee. Maintaining rigid pronunciation of the first syllable while entertaining three variants of the second (Mehta[Fih]lter/Meh[Fie]tes/Meh[Fee]) in the different words could and perhaps should be considered irrational. I propose dropping this conformity and applying normative pronunciation rules to each case and ending the fight.
posted by empyrean at 1:24 PM on March 24, 2010


bukvich: Linus Torvalds explains how to pronounce his name, and the name of his operating system.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:26 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


bukvich don't start with the linux thing. You might as well assert that vi is the One True Text Editor, for all the outrage that will result.

I have always a million times over pronounced and heard the I pronounced like "dinner" or "linen." To rhyme with "din-ucks," if you will.

Except for ONE TIME. Once, I heard it pronounced "lee-nookz." This person went on to assert that this was indeed the correct way to pronounce it.

Sadly, that person happened to be Linus Torvalds.

BUT I DON'T CARE, IT'S PRONOUNCED LIN.
posted by ErikaB at 1:28 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jinx, Parker Lewis owes me a soda pop code BEVERAGE.
posted by ErikaB at 1:29 PM on March 24, 2010


CamelCase has an important psychological effect on how one parses a word. You see the "Me," you pronounce the "Me."

I claim the eXistenZ exception.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:32 PM on March 24, 2010


I was partially joking about the Coke thing, but it still sounds WRONG AND BAD to me.

Welcome to my world. heh.
posted by madajb at 1:33 PM on March 24, 2010


Brand names become colloquial generics all the time.

I was talking about this with some friends a few weeks ago. We were coming up with a list of these: Scotch tape, Expo markers, Sharpies, Kleenex, Q-Tips, Band Aids, Xerox...

My favorite is Dumpster, which actually used to be a proprietary name.
posted by reductiondesign at 1:35 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meh fee. It just sounds better. Mee fie sounds all wrong. I really never can understand why there is such confusion about this issue when it is so glaringly apparent that it should be meh fee. For Ask Metafilter, though, it's just Askme or possibly Askmehfie. And it's Scie Fie, rhyming with Bligh, obviously. Consistency --- > hobgoblin --- > little minds. Hobgoblin, I say!

In east Baltimore, Gough St. is Goff and Thames St. is Thaymes, not Tems, cause 'at's how you separate out 'em people what put on airs, hon. Here in Asheville if you turn off Patton onto Leicester, you'll be taking Lee-sess-ter Highway, not Lester, although I have heard Leechester before. If you stay on it long enough, you'll be in Sandy Mush, which is to say, Muhsh, but really I just like bringing up Sandy Mush.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:37 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


On further reflection, I would agree that in most spoken interaction I would use "MetaFilter" to reference the site, not MeeFee. But that's not what I was asked in the poll -- I was asked which of these 6 pronunciations would I use. Thus, MeeFee.

Also,
In pronunciation? HiFi, WiFi, Sci-Fi, Semper FI, and most importantly MeFi.

Ok, ok, ok, you got me, I totally neglected Sci Fi, and Semper Fi has that HOO AH thing going for it. The other two should burn in a pit of despair, though.
posted by cavalier at 1:37 PM on March 24, 2010


Oh, iamkimiam, I forgot to say something in my survey!

The only time I'd previously thought really hard about vowels was when I memorized some kana as an anime-obsessed kid, so "meh-fee" is probably influenced by that as well. I think that phase has also messed up other parts of my carefully cultivated American accent.
posted by tantivy at 1:37 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Expo markers

Wait, what? I could have sworn I've never heard this. Are you saying that not everyone calls them "whiteboard markers"?
posted by tantivy at 1:39 PM on March 24, 2010


Anyone who asks "what kind?" after "I'll have a Coke" is either making sure you don't want Diet Coke, or is a grossly incompetent communicator. Or both.

You have to ask.
What if they want a Pepsi?
posted by madajb at 1:40 PM on March 24, 2010


But California is a mess of difficulty just because of the vast diversity in place names and pronunciations

I ...really? With the exception of La Jolla [l' HOY-uh] and San Jose [saano-ZAY], pretty much everything I can think of is anglicized. Arguello, Vallejo (OK, the "j" is silent), Los Banos--really, the only question is "Junipero," and I think [joo-NIP-arrow] is probably how most English-speakers would attempt it.

Every time I want a gyro I have this problem.

YEAR-oh. New Yorkers pronounce it wrong and they'd probably find some other reason to tell you to go fuck yourself anyway, so I wouldn't worry what they think.

Americans generally pronounce Van Gough as Van Go, but I don't know whether SF folks do that with Gough Street.

(a) It's van Gogh and (b) see above.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:43 PM on March 24, 2010


While we're on the subject of place name pronunciations, I have to show off some towns and villages in Norfolk, England:

Happisburgh – "Hays-bruh"
Wymondham – "Win-dum"
Costessey – "Cossy"
Postwick – "Pozzick"

Partly it's the accent, partly it's the instinctive need to frustrate outsiders.
posted by him at 1:43 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


everyone chill out and look at this owl mom live on cam!!!!!!!!
posted by Juicy Avenger at 1:44 PM on March 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Durn Bronzefist: "Also: I am completely enchanted by the French pronunciation of Detroit. It makes it seem like a magical fairlytale kind of place"

Yeah and you should see some of the street names in the Detroit area:
- Gratiot pronounced "Gra-shit" (kids really like that one)
- Livernois "Li-ver-noy"
- Dequindre "Dee-QUIN-der"
- Schoenherr "Shay-ner"
posted by Drasher at 1:45 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, what? I could have sworn I've never heard this. Are you saying that not everyone calls them "whiteboard markers"?

Everyone I know calls them Expo markers. Sometimes, I'll hear "dry-erase marker," but that's rare.
posted by reductiondesign at 1:45 PM on March 24, 2010


Anyone who asks "what kind?" after "I'll have a Coke" is either making sure you don't want Diet Coke, or is a grossly incompetent communicator. Or bot

Me and my friends were joking about ordering a drink in Texas.

"Hi, I'll have a coke"
"What kind of coke?"
"Diet."
"What kind of diet?"
"Coke."
posted by qvantamon at 1:46 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


ifjuly, you're from Rodchester, are you -heyho

Indeed, rochachacha! It's pop and davenports all the way. ;)

The mention of scrod takes me back to my New England childhood summers. I'll mention all the names for whitefish to my husband (a Southern boy through and through) and he just blinks at me like I have three heads. If it ain't fried catfish he doesn't know about it. As balance, when I see the fifty kinds of leafy greens at the grocer's I need him to hold my hand, and the Coke thing never ceases to baffle me because it's downright confusing, like, it can cause mix ups.

Thanks for the memories! My love for regional dialect is sort of over the top...
posted by ifjuly at 1:49 PM on March 24, 2010


Does anyone say "Meh Fih," where the "Fih" is how you pronounce the first two letters of "filter" when you're in the process of saying the whole word? (Short i, I guess.)

If you're truncating your vocalization of "Meta" and "Filter" in order to say "MeFi," it seems like this is how you should say the "Fi"...

Even though the totally absolutely correct way to say it is based on truncation (hence, "meh"), I think the "fi" need not be based on truncation, since it's hard to say "fih."
posted by sentient at 1:50 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Baum Blvd is just Bawm; at least, I haven't heard it any other way in the five years I've been here, but I've been mostly around students, not natives, I admit -FlyingMonkey

Guy said it like the word bomb, really short n sweet with the o high and open or whatever. My dad had that h in there to soften, Bauhm.
posted by ifjuly at 1:51 PM on March 24, 2010


sentient: I would always follow "meh fih" with "stopheles".
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:53 PM on March 24, 2010


It's You-Nip-Ah-Row Sarah.
posted by serazin at 1:53 PM on March 24, 2010


I bet you brainiacs who insist on using the "truncation" justification for the "Meh" pronunciation don't pronounce this sentence "I bet you brainiacs who insist on yuse-ing the "truncation justify-cation for the "Meh" pronounce-iation doont pronounce this sentence 'I bet you brainiacs....'"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:59 PM on March 24, 2010


Holy crap. This accent determiner was totally accurate geographically (in terms of where I grew up), even though I so don't have an accent. (It's obviously all you people who have the accents.)
posted by sentient at 2:01 PM on March 24, 2010


it's Crystal from AT&T Labs Natural Voices Text-to-Speech Demo. She's one sexy 'bot. (iamkimiam)

Okay, am I the only one who's totally curious about what you typed in the text to speech box to get the pronunciations you were looking for?
posted by ocherdraco at 2:07 PM on March 24, 2010


I know you're all on the edge of your seats, so I'll go ahead and explain my preference now:

MeFi = mee-figh

The CamelCase capitalization emphasizes the word "Me" at the beginning (this is reinforced by "AskMe"), and the isolated "Fi" at the end recalls words like "hi-fi," "Wi-Fi," "sci-fi," and "Semper Fi" (great example, quin).

All the alternatives -- "meffy," "meh-figh," "meefy" -- sound silly and mocking, like "internets" or the term "skiffy" for bad science fiction. "Mee-figh," on the other hand, is not only suggested by the word but connotes both personalization and a technological sheen, which are ideas I strongly associate with the site.

MeFite = mee-fight

Same reason, just because it's a natural demonym (like Israelite or Muscovite). It also rhymes with other words that sound appropriate: "site," "acolyte," "graphite" (for writing). And again, the others sound silly. "Me Feet"?
posted by Rhaomi at 2:08 PM on March 24, 2010


oh yeah, and pet "race/ethnicity" peeves:

1) Venn diagram, yadda yadda. You know who else is African-American? Charlize Theron.
2) Brazilians are technically Latino (Latin American), but not Hispanic. Spanish (and some Filipino) people are technically Hispanic but not Latino. So I usually don't check options that just say "Hispanic", and check options that say "Hispanic, Latino, or whatever you brown people who speak funny call yourselves". Now I just found out (just in time!) that although the Census says something like that last one, Brazilians are still NOT supposed to be included there. Meh.
posted by qvantamon at 2:12 PM on March 24, 2010


Indeed, rochachacha! It's pop and davenports all the way.

You call your mom "davenports"?
posted by Greg Nog at 2:13 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


hellopanda: "Just this week I realised "hyperbole" isn't pronounced "hyperbowl", so it's fun seeing how people sound out words in their heads in so many different ways."

It reminds me of this old list of common mispronunciations I found awhile back:
* The "lived" in "short-lived" and "long-lived" rhymes with "five," not "give"

* "Lambast" is pronounced "lamb-BASED," not "lamb-bast"

* It's "spit and image," not "spitting image".

* The word "forte" (as in "math is not my forte") is pronounced "fort," not "for-TAY".

* February is pronounced "fe-BRU-ary," not "fe-BYOO-ary".

* The city of Tijuana is pronounced "tee-HWA-na," not "tee-hoo-WA-na".
Some of them have become so common that they're pretty much accepted by now.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:14 PM on March 24, 2010


Race is an increasingly outdated and useless concept. If it's absolutely necessary to keep it around (for what, I can't fathom) we should at least adopt some sort of scientific, quantifiable terminology based on DNA or something.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:15 PM on March 24, 2010


Okay, am I the only one who's totally curious about what you typed in the text to speech box to get the pronunciations you were looking for?

I used the [phoneme] tag and wrote it in IPA. But I was forced to use Crystal because the subtleties of each 'speaker's' grammar rules didn't allow me to adjust stress and syllable breaks as necessary. Also, I had to tweak things a bit with respect to ambisyllabicity, which is a factor in this pronunciation ambiguity in the first place (and a widely debated theory in linguistics). It was a fun discovery and neat to try to 'trick' the speech demo into outputting the stress assignment I wanted, by adding geminate consonants and playing with vowel length. Anyways, yeah, nerd here.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:16 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


huh. widely debated? or wildly debated?
posted by iamkimiam at 2:17 PM on March 24, 2010


It's meh-fee, meh-fite, and hoo-NIP-e-row. Anything else you want to know?

There are zillions of local pronunciations (Rheims = REEMZ, Athens = AY-thənz, Delhi = DELL-high, etc.) in these two LH threads: 1, 2. I love 'em all.
posted by languagehat at 2:17 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


You doont kaynow what yoor tallking about.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:20 PM on March 24, 2010


> Some of them have become so common that they're pretty much accepted by now.

Uh, if they're "pretty much accepted" that means they are, in fact, the current pronunciations. The "'lived' rhymes with 'five,' not 'give'" thing is particularly ridiculous. No one but wrongly informed pedants says it that way.
posted by languagehat at 2:20 PM on March 24, 2010


Ha. Good one, The Winsome Parker Lewis. At first I thought you were telling me to "stop please."

Just because the truncated version of the word, "Meta" happens to also be a word doesn't mean that it should be pronounced like the incidentally formed word. That's just insanity.

HuffPo has it easy.
posted by sentient at 2:21 PM on March 24, 2010


> No one but wrongly informed pedants says it that way.

Er, by "that way" I mean "rhymes with 'five.'"
posted by languagehat at 2:21 PM on March 24, 2010


My mother was killed by a wrongly informed pedant, you bastard! She was mispronounced dead on a rival.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:22 PM on March 24, 2010 [18 favorites]


scientific, quantifiable terminology based on DNA or something

homo sapiens sapiens
posted by bonehead at 2:25 PM on March 24, 2010


languagehat, I've always heard locals say YOUniparo instead of HOOniparo. (Not that it's "right", but it's not as wrong as how we say Vallejo and Vacaville.)
posted by serazin at 2:26 PM on March 24, 2010


languagehat: "Uh, if they're "pretty much accepted" that means they are, in fact, the current pronunciations. The "'lived' rhymes with 'five,' not 'give'" thing is particularly ridiculous. No one but wrongly informed pedants says it that way."

Oh, I'm no prescriptivist. I just thought it was interesting that many of these common words are "supposed" to be said one way, but they've been misspoken so often that they're now the new norm.

Though would you really be "wrongly-informed" to pronounce it like "five"? I'd never say it like that, but the usage note on Answers.com sez:
The pronunciation (-līvd) is etymologically correct since the compound is derived from the noun life, rather than from the verb live. But the pronunciation (-lĭvd) is by now so common that it cannot be considered an error. In the most recent survey 43 percent of the Usage Panel preferred (-lĭvd), 39 percent preferred (-līvd), and 18 percent found both pronunciations equally acceptable.
So it's technically correct, but largely abandoned by everyday speakers. (Unless I'm misinterpreting the accents; I never really grokked those.)
posted by Rhaomi at 2:27 PM on March 24, 2010


> I've always heard locals say YOUniparo instead of HOOniparo.

Locals where? I'm only familiar with SoCal usage, and even that is divided. My beloved aunt and uncle lived right near Junipero Serra Street in Long Beach, and they said "joo-." I've heard "you-" as well, but then, I've heard MEE-fie too. People! Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em!
posted by languagehat at 2:29 PM on March 24, 2010


And mefite is totally pronounciated may-fish.
posted by qvantamon at 2:30 PM on March 24, 2010


My wife and I have a running argument on the pronunciation of "crayon". I pronounce it "crayon". She pronounces it "cran". Her family sides with her. I've decided that my way is superior, if only because I put the "yo!" back in crayon.
posted by norm at 2:30 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


We're forgetting the most important thing, which is that iamkimiam is pronounced "EYE-am-KIMy'm". Similarly, Igor is pronounced EYE-gor.
posted by Electric Dragon at 2:31 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Tijuana example above reminds me of why 'Merry Christmas' in Hawaiian is 'Mele Kalikimaka'. It's completely logical, once you understand that each language has its own set of constraints and the borrowed/loan words/sounds must conform to them.

So, in Hawaiian, you only get the following letters/sounds to work with:
Aa Ee Ii Oo Uu Hh Kk Ll Mm Nn Pp Ww ʻ
/a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/ /h/ /k/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /p/ /v~w/ /ʔ/

Hawaiian also doesn't allow consonant clusters...things are relatively consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel.

So, if we re-write Merry Christmas closer to how it actually sounds in English, we get something more like this:
M-E-R-Y K-R-I-S-M-A-S

Since Hawaiian doesn't have r's, we must substitute the closest sound they do have that is acoustically similar to r, which is 'l'. So then we get:
M-E-L-Y K-L-I-S-M-A-S

Hawaiian also doesn't have s's or or y's, and so the closest matches are k and e, respectively. Now we get:
M-E-L-E K-L-I-K-M-A-K

Now about those pesky consonant clusters! Stick vowels in them!
M-E-L-E K-A-L-I-K-I-M-A-K

Lastly, can't end a word with a consonant! Add a vowel!
Mele Kalikimaka!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:32 PM on March 24, 2010 [54 favorites]


> Though would you really be "wrongly-informed" to pronounce it like "five"?

On further investigation, I withdraw the "wrongly-informed." I thought I'd read somewhere that the short vowel was historically justified, but it seems not. The OED, for example, gives only the long vowel in its pronunciation. So, just pedants then! Not that there's anything wrong with a little pedantry, judiciously deployed.
posted by languagehat at 2:32 PM on March 24, 2010


Does anyone say "Meh Fih,"

*raises hand*
posted by ODiV at 2:35 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think you'll find this a compelling argument in favor of my preferred pronounciation.
posted by lore at 2:35 PM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


In Romanian they pronounce all the vowels and each letter has more or less one pronunication. This is not a big deal and it makes learning the language pretty uncomplicated. However, when they get words borrowed from other languages, they pronounce them the local way [of course] so while they write 'email' same as anyone in English, the word they say is more like eh-mah-EEL which always makes me smile.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:37 PM on March 24, 2010


I laughed when I got to the third question about how I interact with members other than on MetaFilter. I was like, yep, yep, yep. Plus: letters, postcards, email, on the phone, text messages, candygrams, flowers. I'm a stalker.

I just looked at my phone and I have the cell numbers of at least fifty members, who I text and call often. But who knows when you might have to drunk dial Astro Zombie in the middle of the night? If I ever lose my phone, a LOT of you are going to have to change your numbers. In fact, you might want to right now.
posted by ColdChef at 2:37 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't the live/lived & five/fifth thing be remnants of long-gone case markings? In other words, you're both right, right?

(I might be confused)
posted by iamkimiam at 2:38 PM on March 24, 2010


I think of Metatalk as MeTa, mehtah, not MeeTah, but MeFi is MeeFie. Go figure.
posted by theora55 at 2:42 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


norm: Lots of people pronounce "crayon" as "crown." I really have a hard time wrapping my head around that one.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:44 PM on March 24, 2010


I think of Metatalk as MeTa, mehtah, not MeeTah, but MeFi is MeeFie. Go figure.

I'm Leicester MeTa. Rhymes with Chester Cheetah.
posted by qvantamon at 2:51 PM on March 24, 2010


I like to think of all the different pronunciations as regional accents. Just that because it's in Internet Land, your region is defined by your thought processes instead of by your physical location.


The thing is, most similar abbreviations seem to have come from natural shortening of the original phrase over time. There's no laws about how words should be shortened.
On the other hand, "Wi-Fi" appears to have been an invented brand rather than an abbreviation as I'd assumed. So that does have a "right" pronunciation.
posted by lucidium at 2:51 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


For some reason, I've never felt the need to abbreviate Metatalk. I think I always just call it Metatalk.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:53 PM on March 24, 2010


(in conversation, that is. online, it's MeTa, of course)
posted by Afroblanco at 2:53 PM on March 24, 2010


This is the only time I have ever been able to say this. LANGUAGEHAT IS WRONG.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:55 PM on March 24, 2010


I usually shorten it even more, to "MF" and "MFers."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:56 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm still astounded that there are people who insist on pronouncing it "MEE-FIE." Apparently people are under the impression that they're posting to a web site called "MEE-ta-FIE-lter." That only makes sense to me if I say it with a weird sort of Ukrainian accent.

By that logic, you should also pronounce the 'i' in 'Fi' like you pronounce it in Filter. Do you really say Meh-Fih?

(MEE FIE RULZ!!)
posted by jpdoane at 2:58 PM on March 24, 2010


> This is the only time I have ever been able to say this. LANGUAGEHAT IS WRONG.

Does this mean you hate me?
posted by languagehat at 2:59 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


they pronounce them the local way [of course] so while they write 'email' same as anyone in English, the word they say is more like eh-mah-EEL which always makes me smile (jessamyn)

Turkish is similar. When I was learning Turkish, my aunt (who lives in Ankara) told me that in Turkey, you never ask how something is spelled, you just ask for it to be pronounced more clearly. This, of course, causes problems with foreign names, which are not (according to the Turks, at least) pronounced the way they are spelled. So, for example, my name is pronounced (roughly) MARgrit muhLOHnee, but in order for it to be spelled correctly in Turkey, I have to say "mar gar et muh loh nay ee." (Which is a little bit funny, because then I am pronouncing my first name exactly as it is spelled.)
posted by ocherdraco at 2:59 PM on March 24, 2010


Also: Mele Kalikimaka is my favorite, favorite Christmas song.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:00 PM on March 24, 2010


I usually shorten it even more, to "MF" and "MFers."

My advisor and I were going back and forth for a while about what to call this set of words (MeFi/MeFite/MeFites) when referring to them as a whole, out loud, without saying something that has a bias towards a particular pronunciation. We both really enjoyed The MF, but felt it might not fly at an academic conference.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:04 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


(MeFi/MeFite/MeFites)

Clearly, that would be defined as "The MetaFiltered Set."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:08 PM on March 24, 2010


If I ever lose my phone, a LOT of you are going to have to change your numbers. In fact, you might want to right now.

So glad I got in on the investment opportunity you texted about. I paypaled a bunch of cash to C0ldch3f@aol.com. Hope you got it!
posted by special-k at 3:13 PM on March 24, 2010


Not that it's "right", but it's not as wrong as how we say Vallejo and Vacaville

I say Valley-Joe and Quackaville.
posted by special-k at 3:23 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I am on the site, I do not refer to the site.

When I am not on the site, I usually just pull out the ouija board and let the Latin gurgle out.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:24 PM on March 24, 2010


I'm from Scunneh, and I'll pronounce it Meh-Feh if I want tuh. Otherwise, you can give us back meh munneh.
posted by Sova at 3:25 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


(Seriously though, I'm angry that I can't lie about my accent for this - I usually do.)
posted by Sova at 3:26 PM on March 24, 2010


For me, wifi/hifi/scifi all take the first i sound from their first word, and the second syllable simply follows suit.

So wi(reless)fi, hi(gh)fi and sci(ence)fi all make sense, but mee(tafilter)fi absolutely fails that for me.

/meh-fee rant.
posted by politikitty at 3:30 PM on March 24, 2010


My wife and I have a running argument on the pronunciation of "crayon". I pronounce it "crayon". She pronounces it "cran". Her family sides with her. I've decided that my way is superior, if only because I put the "yo!" back in crayon.

Is your wife dooce?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:33 PM on March 24, 2010


and the second syllable simply follows suit.

You're one of those sherbert people, aren't you?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:35 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


iamkimiam: I'm not sure if you've answered this yet or not, but I'm curious: are you going to be using our useraccount information (joined date, comment total, post total, etc.) in your analysis too?
posted by Think_Long at 3:36 PM on March 24, 2010


I've been hard of hearing all my life and I wonder if it's warped how I pronounce some words. I say "moon" and "room" with a dipthong that makes it sound like "mewn" and "rewm."


Also, Meffie sounds like a cute Corgi.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 3:40 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


languagehat: "Does this mean you hate me?"

LANGUAGEHAT HATE IS WRONG.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2010


In the ethnicity bit, the only option if you're black is "African American". What if you're black but not American?

This is a really good point here. And these distinctions are super important, both for the research and many reasons outside of it.


On this point, if you are after background details then worth noting that UK MeFites, for one, will be used to the ethnicity categories used in the UK census and other government surveys, which you can find here. So for example I think of myself as white; I do not think of myself as caucasian and would not want to be defined as such, which may mean you end up with quite a few non-US MeFites in the Other box.
posted by greycap at 3:56 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, Meffie sounds like a cute Corgi -Wuggie Norple

It's a little pathetic, but that's actually how I defensively finished trying to explain why I go by "Meffie" in the survey--I always think at first, well, it's only logical per koeselitz but as others have pointed out (and is obvious with about 5 seconds of thought) I'd have to say "Meh-Fuh" for that to hold weight really. So then I was like, "oh hell, it's just cute sounding to me. Like the nickname you'd give a little girl you were doting on." Yeah. I'm probably wrong but I pronounce Effi from Effi Briest so it rhymes, if that's any indication of my state of mind...
posted by ifjuly at 3:57 PM on March 24, 2010


Hrm, I'll remember that when I'm naming my next corgi.
posted by norm at 4:02 PM on March 24, 2010


Argh...taking that survey was like pulling teeth out of my anus...

Nothing against you, of course, iamkimiam, but I had so many conflicting forces at work in my head. I only speak English, but most of my family is from Hawaii and Japan, and I grew up in a primarily Hispanic and Chinese neighborhood. I tried to answer everything reasonably, I really did!

Of course, now that I've moved to Boston, I might as well just give up all hope.
posted by Diagonalize at 4:02 PM on March 24, 2010


I pronounce it "Mxyzptlk".
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:08 PM on March 24, 2010


now that I've moved to Boston, I might as well just give up all hope

I'm pretty sure that's in the town charter.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:09 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


are you going to be using our useraccount information (joined date, comment total, post total, etc.) in your analysis too?

I will, but I will be pulling this information into categories, and everything will be completely anonymous. I am particularly (maybe overly) sensitive to proceeding carefully and as non-invasively as possible.

I am interested in this aspect because I think that community involvement and length of time with the community is likely positively correlated with A) exposure to spoken variants of MeFi/MeFite (which could influence how someone might say it today) and B) investment in the site with respect to time, identity, cooperation, etc. (people more involved are more actively shaping the site, may have bigger personal incentives to do so, and are more attuned to other people's interactions both on-site and off, as well as being more attuned to cultural norms and trends).

I'm really not sure how much those things will factor into it, especially considering a lot of the other factors that I *know* are biasing pronunciations, and may be doing so with more clout. But I want to see if this is significant; qualitative analysis of many of the opinions about the pronunciation so far would suggest so. It's all kind of neat...that so much can be weighing in (both socially and structurally) on one important variable...the pronunciation of a name.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:11 PM on March 24, 2010


norm, aaaaa, cute corgi!

ifjuly, it might be because I'm still a new user and I don't talk about MeFi to many people outside, though I admit that the way people say "WiFi" influenced how I pronounce "MeFi." (damn, I might have to start calling it meffie!)
posted by Wuggie Norple at 4:22 PM on March 24, 2010


Meffie! If I adopt a pet, I'm naming it Meffie.
posted by tantivy at 4:33 PM on March 24, 2010


now that I've moved to Boston, I might as well just give up all hope

I'm pretty sure that's in the town charter.


Yeah, I wish I could take credit for the joke, but it was Jon Stewart who commented that in Boston, they ratified the entire US Constitution except for the letter "R."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:35 PM on March 24, 2010


Does this mean you hate me?

oh languagehat, you know i HATE all equally.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:38 PM on March 24, 2010


Funny little story about place-name pronunciation that comes via David Lavender's fantastic Western history Bent's Fort:

There's a little creek in southwestern Colorado here that has had various names in the past five hundred years. Very, very early on, it was apparently the site of a grand battle between a Spanish regiment and one of the local tribes; there are several stories told about this, but in all of them of course every one of the men died except for one, who went on to be a great chief in the tribe that captured him.

Anyhow, this was all lost to the ravages of time by the mid 1600s or early 1700s, when one of the very rare expeditions from the then-new city of Santa Fe reached that shore again on an exploratory journey north. Of the ill-fated regiment, the wanderers from Santa Fe found only the weathered armor and skeletons left behind, as all flesh had long since rotted away; this was, after all, a hundred years . Facing this dismal scene, they followed the standard Spanish method; they gave the river the most dire and morbid name they could come up with, dubbing it El Rio de Las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio, or "The River of the Lost Souls in Purgatory." Cute name, and suitably grand.

When the French trappers came along, they actually wanted to spend time in that part of the world; the Spanish of course felt more at home in the arid south, which reminded them of their home, but the French were after fur, and present-day Colorado was then where fur was plentiful. The French Canadians were, of course, a bit more jaunty and wild about naming things, but they retained the name of the creek, calling it Le Purgatoire.

And when the English-speaking 'Mericans wandered along, they adopted that name for it, too. Er - sort of. Hearing "Purgatoire," which the trappers pronounced as "perr-guh-TWAH," us Yanks heard something a little different.

It's been the Picketwire river ever since.
posted by koeselitz at 4:41 PM on March 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


... a hundred years later. Argh.
posted by koeselitz at 4:42 PM on March 24, 2010


are you going to be using our useraccount information (joined date, comment total, post total, etc.) in your analysis too?

I will, but I will be pulling this information into categories, and everything will be completely anonymous. I am particularly (maybe overly) sensitive to proceeding carefully and as non-invasively as possible.


At the time that I took the survey I was thinking about the two Old Fashioneds I am planning to drink over happy hour. You may want to add that in as a covariate in your model.
posted by special-k at 5:01 PM on March 24, 2010


> oh languagehat, you know i HATE all equally.

Whew!
posted by languagehat at 5:02 PM on March 24, 2010


iamkimiam, are you planning on using comments made in this MetaTalk discussion in your study as well? As in, will the comments here be part of your data set or analyzed as data?
posted by k8lin at 5:03 PM on March 24, 2010


I shall now be alternating my pronunciation of MeFi on a regular basis to ensure parity of esteem!
posted by knapah at 5:05 PM on March 24, 2010


I'm only going to use comments here (and in other related threads) in the sense of informing my analysis. At this point, I don't have any intention of quoting anybody directly, or if I do later, it would be anonymously and with their full consent. I don't want to commit to saying "No, I will NEVER do such-and-such" because I'm still figuring out what is ok with people, especially in light of past discussions of the nature of public forums and copyrighting of comments. I'm learning a lot about this and want to be considerate of other people's privacy and comfort levels.

And if there's a way to NOT have that be an issue (ex. simply not quoting people), then I don't see a need to make things complicated.

There's plenty of ideas and suggestions here anyway. You MeFites are fantastic and the response both here and in the poll is more than I could have ever hoped for! So, thanks!!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:17 PM on March 24, 2010


At this point, I don't have any intention of quoting anybody directly, or if I do later, it would be anonymously and with their full consent.

Seems like this might be something you need to include in your IRB, if you ever do decide to quote people from comments that are available online in this thread (or elsewhere). I only say this because I'm doing a study that includes online comments, and my IRB was explicit about not quoting (or even paraphrasing) comments that could be found using a simple Google search because the risk deductive disclosure is really really high in that scenario.

You may want to (or you may have to) file an IRB revision if you decide to use comments from this thread in your reporting. That could get sticky since you don't have our consent, so you'll have to do it on a case by case basis, which could prove to be difficult. Just something to think about.

On another note, I took the survey, and I think what you're doing is really cool! I look forward to seeing more about this study and your work.
posted by k8lin at 5:23 PM on March 24, 2010


One thing that keeps coming up...I recognize that some of the question options/wordings are problematic, for various reasons. Especially the race/ethnicity one being so US-centric and one-answer-only. My apologies for some of these mistakes and methodology flaws. I wish there were a way to change things, but the cat is out of the bag and I can't change the wording or design without IRB review (not to mention that it would split my data up in a weird way to analyze). Definitely learning a lot today, and I appreciate everyone who has pointed out areas for improvement or things to consider when analyzing the data or designing future studies. Keep it comin' (and please forgive me for the blunders).

Also, I will happily change, update, or edit anybody's poll responses in any way...just send me an email and it will be done!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:25 PM on March 24, 2010


My extended family has discussions about milk vs. melk. But then again we also argue whether or not "bloody fistula" is a worthy enough insult. I mean, you can always top that, right?
posted by futz at 5:26 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nobody actually says "poe-TAH-toe", do they.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:28 PM on March 24, 2010


They used to at HAH-vahd. But not anymore, really.
posted by koeselitz at 5:29 PM on March 24, 2010


"Massachusetts" and "Boston" are not synonymous. This seems to be confusing to a lot of Bostonites, but it's true!

Pshaw. Everyone knows that Massachusetts is defined by its eastern border (the Atlantic Ocean) and its western (Rte. 128). Anything beyond is the hinterlands where hippies live.
posted by ericb at 5:31 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a strong Mee-Fie, but like Theora, I think Meh-ta -talk and Meh-ta-chat or Meh-chah. So it could be something to do with the follow sound. Fascinating. Good luck!
posted by rainbaby at 5:33 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes I took the poll.
posted by rainbaby at 5:35 PM on March 24, 2010


Rte. 128

You misspelled 495.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:39 PM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


You're all wrong, mefi is derived from mefite, that's why it's 'mee'+'fai.'
posted by rudster at 5:48 PM on March 24, 2010


Nobody actually says "poe-TAH-toe", do they.

TAH-ters.
posted by qvantamon at 6:05 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I caahn't believe this is even a question worth axing, I defini'ly pronounce it MiFai unless I'm all diz-zay from whippin' shitties.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:06 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


This seems to be confusing to a lot of Bostonites, but it's true!

The correct term is Bostonians.
posted by longsleeves at 6:24 PM on March 24, 2010


koeselitz: "perr-guh-TWAH"

The modern French pronunciation is [pyʀgatwa:ʀ], but it's likely trappers would have pronounced it [pyʀgatwe:ʀ], as "oi" was pronounced [we] rather than [wa] in New France at the time. How [pyʀga] became "picket", I do not know. But [we:ʀ] -> wire seems relatively direct.

I've seen it work the other way. I have cousins named McGuire who pronounce their name as [mεkgwa:ʀ].
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:27 PM on March 24, 2010


I'm pretty sure my grandmother played bridge with a woman named Meffie.
posted by thivaia at 6:46 PM on March 24, 2010


I have a nice city name story as well. It has nothing to do with phonetics.

This little village in Brazil was called Saint Michael of the Deer (Sao Miguel do Veado). There were lots of deer there, but since it's Portuguese (like Spaniards), they had to tack on some religious stuff instead of making it simple. As time passed, city names started losing all that tacked-on stuff, and it became only "Veado".

Later on, "veado" became almost universally a vulgar slang for gay man (roughly what "fag" is in the US). The citizens finally became tired of all the jokes about the city, and decided to change the name of the place. So, what's more macho than naming it after a general, "Siqueira Campos"?

This was still the 30s, and news of city name changes travelled slowly, so, to ensure that mail arrived and everyone knew what city people were talking about, people started to refer to the city as "Siqueira Campos, Ex-Veado" (roughly, "Siqueira Campos, formerly Gay"), which didn't really make it much better.

When a president made a law saying no two cities could share the same name, and there was already an older Siqueira Campos in another state, they took that opportunity to change names again. But there was some sort of natural disaster at that time (can't remember what, a flood maybe), and people started saying that it was because they took out the name of the saint, so there was also some pressure to change the name back to Veado.

In the end, they went with the Tupi-Guarani (Brazilian indigenous language) for deer river - "Guaçui".
posted by qvantamon at 6:54 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was able to hear the pronunciations once I opened them in a new tab, but not when I just clicked the link/play. They were useful, though.

On a side note, I was really disturbed that so many people pronounce MeFi/MeFite like I do, so from here on out, I will be calling the site Fie de Meeeeeeee and the members Fie Mes! Then I can go back to being the special snowflake I deserve to be. *preens*
posted by julen at 7:32 PM on March 24, 2010


None of the sound links worked for me, which was really annoying. So instead I just wrote in that I was 150% sure it was MeeeeFiiiiy or MeeeFight.

Did I mess the whole thing up? Also, I've never actually met any of you in the real world so this may just be the way it sounds in my brain, but I'm definitely sticking to it.
posted by ohyouknow at 8:32 PM on March 24, 2010


I am a special snowflake, apparently, because in conversation I would never call someone a MeFite. It would be a Metafite.
posted by anastasiav at 8:42 PM on March 24, 2010


I only say this because I'm doing a study that includes online comments, and my IRB was explicit about not quoting (or even paraphrasing) comments that could be found using a simple Google search because the risk deductive disclosure is really really high in that scenario.

Interesting...IANYIRB of course, but in my experience (and in reading the literature) that is by no means a widely-shared interpretation. But of course, neither my experience nor yours matters for kim, what matters is what *her* IRB thinks. And there is sometimes no predicting what IRBs will say with respect to internet research.
/methods derail

posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:04 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your favorite pronunciation sucks.
posted by bettafish at 9:23 PM on March 24, 2010


For those of you who have just submitted a survey in the last 1/2 hour or so, you probably weren't able to hear the audio files due to a server crash. So if you want to email me any concerns you have about your data responses, that'd be great! I can incorporate any changes/updates when I clean up the data.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:37 PM on March 24, 2010


Bostonaters.

Anything beyond is the hinterlands where hippies live.

Yes. Persnickety hippies. And don't you forget it.
posted by ook at 9:38 PM on March 24, 2010


I always pronounced it m̶̝̩̬̘͕̗͂̋ͬ̊̓ͮ̓ͥ͢ͅẹ̟͙͙̣͙͙̞̝̅̆͟t̜̫͇̤͉̤̲̤ͫͬͮ̽̑͆͜a̙̩͖̟̳̟͖ͮ̾ͨ̇̈͂͂̅f̡̛̮͇͇̠̜̹̠̭ͨͣ̿͌͊ͧ̀i̴͛ͧ͆͊ͬ͘͠ͅļ̱̺̱̐̇̿͞ͅt̛̬̍́ͮͯe̸̡̦̠̭̝̱̜̱͈͒̾͘r̛͛̚҉̷̖̜̟̙̟̜
posted by blue funk at 9:39 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It would never occur to me to use or pronounce either of these abbreviations - they just sound goofy. But I also have trouble pronouncing "blog" or "WiFi" without a grimace.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:43 PM on March 24, 2010


One thing that keeps coming up...I recognize that some of the question options/wordings are problematic, for various reasons. Especially the race/ethnicity one being so US-centric and one-answer-only. My apologies for some of these mistakes and methodology flaws.

Yeah, I put a point in about the gender question being kinda funky. But the ethnicity one was also a little odd. I ticked "caucasian", but the terminology in the UK is "white", and "asian" has all kinds of potential problems.

But then, without spending ages thrashing out some wonderful design, it's hard to come up with a reasonably small set of values for any question which satisfy everybody's cultural concerns and categorizations. Not least because some categories are personally very important but possibly linguistically irrelevant, while other categories are linguistically important but hard to measure: I noticed there wasn't a question about social class, which is tremendously important for accent in some places.
posted by Sova at 10:02 PM on March 24, 2010


Most net geeks live on a lonely website
Lost in the crazy of a digg-like sea
Most people long for another website
One where they know they will filter free

And Meeeeeee Faiiiiiiii may call you
any night, any day
In your heart, you'll hear it call you:
"Link away... post away."

And Meeeeeee Faiiiiiiii will whisper
from your plate, full of beans
"Here am I, your special website,
Click the blue, and the green."
posted by sarahnade at 10:07 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Couldn't open the sound files, I'll try again later.
posted by Coaticass at 10:29 PM on March 24, 2010


The sound files were a casualty of our static server problems tonight. I'll have them back up at a new location soon.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:41 PM on March 24, 2010


And they're back! You should be able to hear them now.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:53 PM on March 24, 2010


You rock pb!!!
posted by iamkimiam at 11:21 PM on March 24, 2010


You say tomato, I say......

Who really cares?
posted by Gerard Sorme at 11:29 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did anybody actually have reasons for their pronunciation? The first time I saw "MeFI" I knew how to pronounce it.

You're asking this question to a site that had the Viking discussion, are you?

In the real world, Ralph is a weak, disturbed nobody, but in sleep, he is a destroyer of worlds!
posted by Ghidorah at 12:02 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Accidentally hit the return key and it submitted my survey before I was finished. Oh well (and the if you find a survey from an American of the "Great" region, there was supposed to be Lakes after that - although it IS a great region too I suppose).
posted by p3t3 at 1:02 AM on March 25, 2010


they're called 'squibs' in linguistics

Cool. We should just call ourselves squibs.

BTW, iamkimiam, did you include a Hawaiian pronunciation? ("May pee" and "May pee tay" ?) Sounds kind of poetic.

A favorite joke here is related to the pronunciation of the highway named for the ali'i, Likelike ( "lee kay lee kay") -- which invites locals to tell newbies that the real pronunciation of the famous North Shore surf spot is "pee pay lee nay".
posted by Surfurrus at 1:33 AM on March 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why do you want people logged in with their primary accounts when they take this?
posted by delmoi at 2:30 AM on March 25, 2010


Yeah, and why is the census form asking for my name, and whether my home is rented? Is this so-called MetaFilter poll yet another one of Obama's commie plot?
posted by qvantamon at 3:19 AM on March 25, 2010


Oh lord, sarahnade, I'm in a chorus that is singing that song in all seriousness. I am now going to have trouble a) singing the real words and b) doing so without busting out laughing.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:59 AM on March 25, 2010


Another thought came to me: How many of the "Meh-fie" speakers ever go to a meetup? Because "Mee-fie mee-tup" has a sort of consonance that reinforces that pronunciation, I think.
posted by explosion at 4:50 AM on March 25, 2010


One constant I've noticed in this thread among fellow meh-fites is that they all, including languagehat of course, speak more than one language.

An "M" followed by an "E" is pronounced "meh" in many many more languages than it is pronounced "mee" and since "mefi" is not a word with a defined pronunciation, the best guess becomes a Universal best guess rather than an English-only best guess.
posted by vacapinta at 5:25 AM on March 25, 2010


my family still pronounces "misled" as "mizzle-d" (rhymes with drizzled) after my sister said it that way nearly thirty years ago.
posted by patricio at 5:33 AM on March 25, 2010


I'm reminded of this Emo Phillips joke:

So I went to a MetaFilter Meetup once, and introduced myself to another user. I asked them which part of the site they read most - MetaFilter or Ask Metafilter? They said "Ask Metafilter". "Me too!" I said, "Do you prefer complex, detailed relationship questions or brief, techincal computer questions?" "Computer questions," they said. "Me too!" I said "Do you read MetaTalk regularly or just once in while?" "I check it daily," they said. "Me too!" I said, "Who's your favourite mod, Cortex or Jessamyn?" I said. "Cortex," they said. "Me too!" I said, "Do you favourite comments because you think they're funny, or to bookmark them for later reference?" "For later reference," they said. "Me too!" I said, "Do you pronounce M-e-F-i as mee-figh or meffy?" "Meffy," they said. "FUCK YOU!" I screamed, and punched them in their stupid fucking face.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:30 AM on March 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Why do you want people logged in with their primary accounts when they take this?

My guess is to correlate pronouciations with geographic locations/genders/etc (more likely to be filled in on primary accounts).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:31 AM on March 25, 2010


I'm a monolingual meh-fite who's never been to a meetup. So there's two data points.

(Unless you count two years of high school French. Which would make for a really crappy meetup.)
posted by ook at 6:39 AM on March 25, 2010


A favorite joke here is related to the pronunciation of the highway named for the ali'i, Likelike ( "lee kay lee kay") -- which invites locals to tell newbies that the real pronunciation of the famous North Shore surf spot is "pee pay lee nay".

Ha! My dad, who was Hawaiian, and a tour guide, used to (gently!) tease his tours like this. He'd give them a brief tutorial on how to pronounce Hawaiian words and would end the tutorial with the pee-pay-lee-nay joke.
posted by rtha at 6:41 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lots of people pronounce "crayon" as "crown." I really have a hard time wrapping my head around that one.

So, that reminds me of this horrible story from my childhood!

When I was in first grade, one of my friends had a princess birthday party (pre-dating any of that Disney nonsense). The whole class (like, 20 people) was invited, boys and girls, so it was a pretty big to-do. We were all dressed up like princes and princesses. Her family went all-out with the party planning, and among other things had someone there doing face painting.

So I sit down to get my face painted, and, it being a princess party and all, I ask for (I knew there wasn't any gold paint) a yellow crown. At this point I should probably mention that I grew up in Georgia. After a minute or two, the lady doing the face paining finishes up and hands me a mirror, and I'll be damned if there wasn't a perfectly executed yellow crayon painted square in the center of my right cheek. WTF?! So get upset and start crying, and all the parents are there, and no one can figure out why I'm so sad. It really was a good crayon.

My mom took me to the bathroom to calm down, and it finally came out that I had wanted a crown, but had gotten a crayon instead. We washed the crayon off and I went back out to get the crown painted on my face, and half the people there still didn't understand what the problem had been...even after it was explained to them, they didn't get that it was within my ability to pronounce all of the relevant syllables in crayon. It really screwed up my day, and set the tone for the rest of my tenure Georgia.

Now I live in Chicago with good old Desplaines and Throop and Paulina.

Fun fact: I know several people from Rochester, NY, and every single one of them pronounces crayon as cran. Weirdos.
posted by phunniemee at 8:36 AM on March 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ha! My dad, who was Hawaiian, and a tour guide, used to (gently!) tease his tours like this. He'd give them a brief tutorial on how to pronounce Hawaiian words and would end the tutorial with the pee-pay-lee-nay joke.

My father was stationed in Hawaii when he was younger. He said he knew he had been there too long when he saw a truck with "UHAUL" written on the side and wondered what a "oo-ha-ool" was. (That's U-Haul, to us mainlanders.)
posted by Karmakaze at 9:17 AM on March 25, 2010


I went to college in Texas. I moved home afterward to Chicago and was, one Christmas, boxing up decorations, which included huge bows which were to be attached to the tops of boxes with floral wires to avoid their being crushed. I handed a box top, full of unattached bows to my mother and said "Wire these in the box."

Mom looked at me, puzzled, and said "Why're these in the box?" and I said "Yes, wire these in the box."

Mom said "I don't know", apparently thinking I was wondering whether or not these particular bows belonged in this particular box. And we went around in circles for a while, until she realized what I was saying and then told me the whole confusion could have been avoided if I had just said "Please, wire these in the box."
posted by crush-onastick at 9:19 AM on March 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


> I've always heard locals say YOUniparo instead of HOOniparo.

On my side of the bay (San Bruno/South San Francisco/Daly City), the pronunciation seems to be more hYooniparo. The h sound is very subtle, but it's definitely there.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 9:30 AM on March 25, 2010


Just wanted to mention that I'm going to elaborate more about what I'm doing with the poll data on Monday, after the poll closes. There's nothing earth-shattering to reveal here; I just don't want to be explicit about the analysis until the data collection is final (Sunday night at midnight). Many of you have touched upon some of the approaches I'm taking and factors I'm already considering, in your comments upthread. Which is awesome, and I'm both giddy and stoked, if that's possible.

It really is a study about the pronunciation of MeFi. But I'm crucially asking 'Why?' and more importantly, 'Why should anybody outside of MetaFilter even care?'
(I think I've found some really compelling reasons; not so much about MetaFilter itself, but rather, the nature of beans. Metaphorical beans.)
posted by iamkimiam at 9:58 AM on March 25, 2010


Oh, also, since many of you have mentioned it (mostly in jest), there is absolutely NO marketing bent on this whatsoever. There never will be, and the data will always remain anonymous and private.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:01 AM on March 25, 2010


Mmmm, metaphorical beans.... *drool*
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:13 AM on March 25, 2010


Did the poll - I'll be interested to see what it is you're studying. I was kind of confused by the heavy emphasis on how I pronounce "MeFi" and "MeFite", but I'm guessing based on that that it's something to do with linguistics.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:38 AM on March 25, 2010


Fun fact: I know several people from Rochester, NY, and every single one of them pronounces crayon as cran. Weirdos. -phunniemee

(dances around) cran, cran!

posted by ifjuly at 11:00 AM on March 25, 2010


Since "mefi" is not a word with a defined pronunciation, the best guess becomes a Universal best guess rather than an English-only best guess

I agree that the pronunciation guess would change if you weren't sure if these were English words, but since it's in the context of an English language website, my instinct is to go with an English-based pronunciation. If I saw the work "Mefite" on a menu or something and didn't know what language it came from, I might go with "Meh-fee-tay" or something as the pronunciation, but in this context "Mee-fight" makes more sense to me.
posted by yarrow at 11:02 AM on March 25, 2010


The first week I lived in New Orleans, I had occasion to go to Chartres St. This proved unaccountably difficult, because I kept saying "SHART-ruh" and the cab driver kept asking me to repeat myself. Finally, he said, "Oh, do you mean 'char-TREZ'?" I had to assume that I did.

This prepared me quite well for my inevitable confrontation with Tchoupitoulas St.
posted by Errant at 11:03 AM on March 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


My computer doesn't have speakers, so I couldn't listen to the samples. :(
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:11 PM on March 25, 2010


check your MeFi Mail jeffamaphone. :)
posted by iamkimiam at 12:21 PM on March 25, 2010


Holy snikies! Did you just e-mail computer speakers to jeffamaphone?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:45 PM on March 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Physical email is one of the benefits of membership in the ...,um, you know.
posted by Mitheral at 1:00 PM on March 25, 2010


With the power of WORDS, yes. Yes I did.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:10 PM on March 25, 2010


Holy snikies! Did you just e-mail computer speakers to jeffamaphone?

Just wait, in a few days time I'm posting my food-over-IP software to Projects!
posted by FishBike at 1:17 PM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pie-and-bacon-over-IP? Sign me up!
posted by rtha at 1:41 PM on March 25, 2010


This is so sad. I'll never get any pie or bacon over IP, because I don't read Projects.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:46 PM on March 25, 2010


You can't get pie over ip. The I and the P cancel out, and you just get an e.
posted by qvantamon at 1:54 PM on March 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


And that, ladies and germs, is how you "win a thread."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:56 PM on March 25, 2010


Excuse me - have I come to the right thread? I was told that there would be bacon pie.
posted by koeselitz at 2:09 PM on March 25, 2010


Although I grew up in Michigan, not far from /səˈliːn/, /ˈmajlɨn/, and (Wikipedia notwithstanding) /ˈditrɔɪt/ my favorite bizarre midwesternization of a foreign place name might be the Pittsburgh suburb 'North Versailles'.

/ˌnɔrθ vɜrˈsej.lz/.

A few years ago, the local transit system got buses that automatically announced their route and destination when the doors were opened, but for some reason, they farmed out creating the recordings to a company in New York City, and didn't tell them a lot of the regionalisms. I knew I'd lived in Pittsburgh too long when I heard one say it was going to "North Ver-sigh" and it took me a few minutes to figure out where the hell that was.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 2:30 PM on March 25, 2010


ME FI FO FUM!
Kim's about to become an English(wo)man!
posted by jasper411 at 3:23 PM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


what a neat survey. I'm in the "MEE FIGH"/"ASK MEE"/"MEH TAH" camp.

I wonder if some of this has to do with when we joined the site? I would imagine that when Metafilter first started, it wasn't nicknamed at "MeFi" right away. If you can do some sort of correlation with user number or when the person started using MeFi, that might be interesting.

(to me, at least..... but I'm not a linguist, so feel free to ignore that comment if it's totally beside the point of what you're looking for in your research :))
posted by NikitaNikita at 4:26 PM on March 25, 2010


Oddly enough, I often catch myself saying rhyming Meta with Beta. I know this to be incorrect, but somehow it got stuck in my brain.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:38 PM on March 25, 2010


meh-fih.
meh-fight.
i don't interact much. but i read a lot!
posted by apostrophe at 7:26 PM on March 25, 2010


Just took the survey:

meh-fai

meh-fight

The former syllable because of the sound of the word it's derived from, the latter syllable because the orthography looks so much like "HiFi" "WiFi", "Sci-Fi" that it confuses my brain away from replicating the original phone.

And the "-fight" pronunciation because it's a fairly regular pronunciation in American Standard English for that suffix. Though, like a bonehead, in the survey I referred to the "-ite" as a phoneme, when of course it's a morpheme. And me a trained sociolinguist!

But anyway, I don't hold very tightly to the pronunciation of the first syllable and sometimes find myself shifting into "mee-fai" and "mee-fait". I'm not much of a prescriptivist, after all. Language is a beautifully fluid thing!
posted by darkstar at 12:12 AM on March 26, 2010


Oddly enough, I often catch myself saying rhyming Meta with Beta. I know this to be incorrect, but somehow it got stuck in my brain.

Strangely, this is how I pronounce MeTa, as in MetaTalk - differently to Meta as in the first half of MetaFilter.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:23 AM on March 26, 2010


I never realized until this thread that I say MEE FIE and Ask MEE, but also MEH TA. The ability to hold such disparate ideas! I contain multitudes.
posted by OmieWise at 5:10 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The I and the P cancel out, and you just get an e.

Naturally!

The teeth-grinding local mispronunciation around here is Los Feliz. los fell-LEESE in Spanish. In Los Feliz? los FEEL-ezz. Ruins my happy.
posted by carsonb at 8:15 AM on March 26, 2010


We spent a fair portion of our time at SXSW arguing about "San Jacinto".
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:30 AM on March 26, 2010


When you win the war you get to mangle the language any damn way you want.
posted by Nelson at 8:51 AM on March 26, 2010


We spent a fair portion of our time at SXSW arguing about "San Jacinto".

"San Jack". Rhymes with Manchaca.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:33 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Came into harp on the Race/Ethnicity thing. Looks like it's already been done, but seriously???
posted by msittig at 10:00 AM on March 26, 2010


Came into harp when my great-aunt, musician with lilting skills, passed away suddenly.
posted by koeselitz at 10:09 AM on March 26, 2010


Came into harp, arrested on public indecency charges.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:13 AM on March 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Came into harp, and now I can't play music or finish that stained-glass window I was building!
posted by FishBike at 10:16 AM on March 26, 2010


Came into harp, Pitchfork called me "Joanna Newsom by way of GG Allin with a distinct Xiu Xiu sensibility", gave my album a 6.4
posted by Greg Nog at 10:20 AM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why didn't the poll ask how people pronounce MeTa and AskMe?
posted by like_neon at 10:30 AM on March 26, 2010


Kame into harp, electric piano, synth, and various cheesy pop effects.
posted by koeselitz at 10:31 AM on March 26, 2010


Why didn't the poll ask how people pronounce MeTa and AskMe?

You need to save something for next year's grant.
posted by smackfu at 10:32 AM on March 26, 2010


Came into harp, Pitchfork called me "Joanna Newsom by way of GG Allin with a distinct Xiu Xiu sensibility", gave my album a 6.4

I'd by that!
posted by OmieWise at 10:38 AM on March 26, 2010


Came into harp, left satisfied.
posted by davejay at 10:55 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Came in to snark, realized I'm probably too late.
posted by Think_Long at 11:38 AM on March 26, 2010


Came into shark, realized I'm not in the zoophilia thread.
posted by naju at 12:01 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Came in too stark, went back out, put on pants.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:29 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Came into Fark, promptly left for MetaFilter.
posted by OmieWise at 12:32 PM on March 26, 2010


Here I sit, lonely-hearted, came to snark but quickly darted.
posted by The Whelk at 12:33 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


There Whelk sits, all alone, wants to snark but just goes home.
posted by Think_Long at 12:43 PM on March 26, 2010


I was kind of hoping for an IPA alphabet thread by this point, but this'll do.
posted by 7segment at 12:53 PM on March 26, 2010


Whelk has left without a punchline, leaving me with just this slant rhyme.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:54 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Snark, this thread is not about, thus here it stands, The Whelk, without.
posted by FishBike at 12:59 PM on March 26, 2010


The Whelk is gone, not here or there, just a whiff within the air.
posted by The Whelk at 1:06 PM on March 26, 2010


"Where is Whelk" I asked with dread. Do not fear, he's just up-thread.
posted by Think_Long at 1:11 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


To ask after familial water sources was my desire;
"Is The Whelk's whelp's well well?" I inquired.
posted by koeselitz at 1:18 PM on March 26, 2010


Came in to hark. The herald angels voiced some opinions about this.
posted by quin at 1:19 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christmas caused her a fit, so angry was the tyke
"Whatever does this mean!" she shouted "Why would a fish need a bike?"

Idleness is not a vice when it comes to song
to sit and muse upon the spheres. For beauty we think long.

Around and around, she asked of him "why so many layers Branson?"
He stopped and smiled and shook his coat, "Cause it's raining, Florence Henderson!"
posted by The Whelk at 1:27 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


My rhyming skills are weak, it's true.
To The Whelk I'm no comparison.
But if it so amuses you,
I shall declare it SO ON!
posted by FishBike at 3:04 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I may
I'll join the fray
As the poet of reason

I'm so good
A lawyer should
Declare my rhymes be treason
posted by Think_Long at 3:10 PM on March 26, 2010


You are most welcome in this fray,
like all who aren't cantankerous.
And yet, myself, I fear to stray
from subjects datawankerous.
posted by FishBike at 3:17 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was kind of hoping for an IPA alphabet thread by this point, but this'll do.

That's right by the ATM machine.
posted by qvantamon at 3:17 PM on March 26, 2010


I never met a purple prose
I hope I never quill one
But I admit, I am disposed
To wheelbarrows vermilion
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:19 PM on March 26, 2010


Oh it's on.

Ahem.

/Come now metafuckers and look at me
super badass mollusk from under the sea.
Dark and wet and full of brine
Gonna gonna hit ya where the sun don't shine.

Gots a domed city where a submarine sank
built by limeys who walked the plank.
Tentacles in telecoms so I can reach out and call
call it Rapture and I'll bust your balls.

Underwater tyrant, the best I can be
You may know Ursula but you've never seen me
Gonna rock the tubes in everyway I can, only got one fear named....


Aquaman!

/
posted by The Whelk at 3:45 PM on March 26, 2010


That's right by the ATM machine.

Only if that's the machine that is used to create new ATMs. An IPA thread is much less ordinal than an IPA alphabet thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:02 PM on March 26, 2010


Whereas an IPA ale is good for what ails ya.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:08 PM on March 26, 2010


Oh it's on.

/

Hope your ready for a truth-bomb
Cause it's time I let you have some
I find your verse to be real stale
for this I've named you MetaFail

Be glad that I am not on twitter
Cause there I'd drop you like some litter
With one four zero characters
I'd tear apart your bad meters

/
posted by Think_Long at 4:25 PM on March 26, 2010


In yonder thread I see you enquired
if couplets like these are highly desired.
Despite the lack of modly endorsements,
Perhaps I could call in some reinforcements?

My writing is far from the best to be seen,
I'm surely no epic rhyming machine.
But though my effort here certainly lags,
perhaps I can score with some HTML tags.

Not only does my poetry include a link,
I know how to write it so parts of it blink.
here's blockquote, italic, and underline all.
I even know how to make parts of it small.
posted by FishBike at 4:44 PM on March 26, 2010


make me blink that aint no link nerdcore gonna make yer heart sink. Just so you nerds all can't complain, I'll take my leave on a ✈
posted by The Whelk at 4:50 PM on March 26, 2010


I clicked on your link and saw something appear,
and said, "what the fuck am I lookin' at here?"

You get on your plane while I call in my crew.
Just wait 'til we run our queries on you!
posted by FishBike at 5:01 PM on March 26, 2010


Roses are red, violets are blue
Based on the color scheme, mathowie seems to be a violet guy.
posted by qvantamon at 5:08 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


SAX AND VIOLETS.
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on March 26, 2010


An oldie but a goodie:
Roses are red,
violets are blue.
All my base
are belong to you.
posted by FishBike at 5:22 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Fish in my pants
A Fedora hat
Cycle Accidents
W. T. F MATT?
posted by The Whelk at 5:26 PM on March 26, 2010


I met a commenter from an antique site
Who wrote: Two vast and pointless threads of snark
Linger in MeTa. Near them, full of spite
Oft flagged, a shattered thesis lies, whose dark
Belabored wit, and choice of retorts trite
Tell that its poster ill those arguments read
Which yet survive, faved with eager clicks,
The troll that mocked them and the fools that fed.
And on the last post these words appear:
"My name is Moderator, bane of dicks:
Look on my works, ye Fighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The rhymes and meetup threads stretch far away.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:00 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the early 1960s, I had been employed for about three days in the then West Germany's largest market research institute, which was about to conduct a major survey with a huge sample of almost every radio/tv/appliance store in the country. The Big Boss came to me just before briefing the interviewers and asked me aggressively, as the only Brit available, if "hi-fi" wasn't really pronounced "hee-fy". Young, newly hired, insecure and shy, I almost agreed. When I think about what I might have done to the German audio industry, I shudder. Fortunately, I found enough courage to reply that one might, indeed, pronounce it thus, but "hy-fy" was probably more correct.

Just sayin'.
posted by aqsakal at 9:54 AM on March 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rhyme Of The Ancient Metafilter.
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM on March 27, 2010


I SAW THE BEST MINDS OF MY GENERATION
AND I SAID "ARE YOU SURE THIS ISN'T A DOUBLE? I KNOW I'VE HEARD THIS POEM BEFORE SOMEWHERE..."

posted by koeselitz at 10:18 AM on March 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


What light through yonder window breaks? It is a Single Link and the comments are snark.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on March 27, 2010



Hides head in shame thinking we were all mafeeties.
posted by notreally at 11:20 AM on March 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had been employed for about three days in the then West Germany's largest market research institute...The Big Boss came to me just before briefing the interviewers and asked me aggressively, as the only Brit available, if "hi-fi" wasn't really pronounced "hee-fy".

"Hello. This is the German Coast Guard. What are you thinking about?"
posted by ericb at 3:07 PM on March 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Big Boss came to me just before briefing the interviewers and asked me aggressively, as the only Brit available, if "hi-fi" wasn't really pronounced "hee-fy". Young, newly hired, insecure and shy, I almost agreed.

My mom had a Norwegian boyfriend who swore up and down it was "hee-fee", even though my mom's a native speaker. She finally got some other native speakers to back her up, but he just got mad.

He was apparently also the same guy who took the little "membership certificate" you got when you subscribed to National Geographic, framed it, and hung it on the wall. Oh, Norwegians.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:26 PM on March 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I say either "soda pop" or "sugar water". "pop" is clearly wrong and "soda" is too easily confused with "club soda" aka "soda water", which is NOT "club tonic" or "tonic water".

ps. Mee-Fye, Mee-Fyete.
posted by crysflame at 4:48 PM on March 27, 2010


Oh, Norwegians.

You rang?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:58 PM on March 27, 2010


Just glad that mefi and mefite has no h: I have a tendency to randomly add or omit that letter.
posted by francesca too at 7:40 PM on March 27, 2010


Because it has a fucking H in it.
posted by davejay at 8:51 PM on March 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Two more cents. I attended my first ever metafilter meetup. Neither I nor anybody I heard used this word "mefi". Or the word "mefite".
posted by bukvich at 6:21 AM on March 28, 2010


Speaking as an Australian, I have never been asked my race before. It seems really odd.

Though I have been asked countless times whether I am identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and whether I speak English at home.
posted by wilful at 8:15 PM on March 28, 2010


Wow MeFites! You are amazing. The poll was a much bigger success than I could have ever imagined! There were a total of 2,522 surveys submitted. You all gave great (and often hilarious) feedback, and I thank you for being patient with me during some of the mishaps and blunders (server crash, poor wording of some of the questions, etc.). As stated earlier, if you would like me to update, delete, or add to any of your poll info, please let me know and I will make the changes!

I've only taken a preliminary glance at the polls so far, so I don't have any updates to report yet, other than that the data show some expected and yet some very unexpected trends. I can already see some linguistic phenomenon going on that have some small bits to add to current linguistic theory, as well as demonstrate some of the features of internet discourse (Computer-Mediated Communication, CMC) as a distinct genre that is influencing and changing the English language (and other languages) in neat new ways. Pretty nifty.

But as promised, here is an extended explanation of some the things I'm currently researching with respect to this poll and MeFi/MeFite:

I'm writing two qualifying papers towards my masters degree. The first examines the internal linguistic structure of MeFi/MeFite, including all of the possible influences driving the 6 main pronunciations (as well as 1 outlier; Hi vowel-harmonizing MeyeFeyers!) The second paper looks at all of the sociolinguistic factors that may be driving pronunciation choices (and why we should care).

What's very cool about this particular community is that we can separate out those people who do not have any acoustic or outside influences on their pronunciation, but are part of the community and have meaningful associations with the forms. CMC environments allow for this, and phonetic variation in internet populations has never been studied before (as far as I can tell, and I've read a LOT of journal articles lately). You can replicate this sort of thing in the linguistic lab, but the words would be meaningless and decontextualized, leading to very different results than when you study this in a tightly knit social context. It's also VERY fortuitous that the terms in flux here happen to be the colloquial name for the community, as well for the name of its members (think about things like SF vs. San Fran vs. Franciscians, or the ambiguous pronunciations of place names and brand names: Iraq, Iran, Mumbai/Bombay, American/USian, Linux, Teva...this stuff is social, political, and influenced by many things, like identity, group affiliation, dialect, etc., as well as all the internal stuff, such as knowledge of grammar rules and phonotactics.)

Additionally, studying forms that are meaningful* to people, but don't have often heard phonetic instantiations out in the world (but have multiple possibilities for speakers to 'choose' from), can tell us a lot about what's going on in people's heads when they arrive at a pronunciation that works for them. Unlike children, who don't yet fully know the language code and grammar, adults reading (or speaking) out loud are resolving a whole mess of possibly conflicting rules (fully codified and ranging from internal structure and social/pragmatics). One person arriving at different pronunciation than another has prioritized things in an alternate way. What roads did they take? I want to draw those maps.

It's a pretty neat thing, since online communities are in many, many ways like any other communities. But we do what we do using a relatively new modality (CMC), using text as the primary channel for communication (unlike the modality of face-to-face interaction, which uses speech and gesture). It's also especially neat how the challenges of cross-modality interaction are dealt with, like when forms that swim happily in their home environments have to necessarily adapt to meet the constraints of the primary channels used by other modalities. In sum, MeFi and MeFite (and acronyms and usernames) present little problem in text...but they do interesting and funny things when people have to speak them out loud. What people do in these situations, their rationales and attitudes (and surprise at the unexpected but small challenge) is super interesting.

Well, to me.

Ok, this is long enough, but I'm happy to blather on to anybody who wants to hear more. Also, if you have any questions, concerns, comments that you wish to ask me privately, please use the mefistudy at that googly maily addressy thingy.

And most importantly, THANK YOU MEFITES and THANK YOU MODS!!

*Yes, I realize that some of you don't care, but relative to non-MeFites, many of you do.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:07 AM on March 29, 2010 [12 favorites]


Oh sure, that's great and all, but you hafta tell us who won dammit
posted by ook at 11:38 AM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Er, 2,521. Accidentally counted the header.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:05 PM on March 29, 2010


ook wrote: Oh sure, that's great and all, but you hafta tell us who won dammit

Yes, I am interested in having a ranking of the popularity of the various pronunciations.

While I have previously changed my pronunciation of a word when given a good reason ("lie-nucks" to "lin-ucks"), like say when the person who invented the word clearly states that there is one true pronunciation, I'm unlikely to change my pronunciation of MeFi barring some equally compelling appeal to authority.

So yeah, it would be nice to know how common my choice is. ;)
posted by wierdo at 12:08 PM on March 30, 2010


[Correction]
I've just learned that there is no street in Chicago named ReGIna; the correct street name for the joke is MelVIna. Oddly, four of my friends and I heard the joke from different sources, and we all heard the "wrong" version.

One of them recently had a conversation with a Streets & Sanitation worker who schooled him when he cracked wise upon hearing that her name is Regina. He claims she shook her head and told him that, "Everybody who lives in Chicago and thinks they know tells that joke the wrong way."

So there you have it, straight from the lips of "Chicago's very own" Regina.
posted by heyho at 12:32 PM on April 16, 2010


straight from the lips of "Chicago's very own" Regina

Please tell me that was intentional.
posted by chococat at 1:31 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


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