How do *you* pronounce 'MeFi'? April 3, 2015 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Hi MeFites. After many years of overthinking a plate of beans, I made a thing! I'm pleased to share my PhD dissertation about MetaFilter with you all. A simple question of how we pronounce our own nickname has unfolded into many years of research. This time spent would not have been as enriching or meaningful to me and to the field of sociolinguistics without the support and enthusiasm of my fellow MeFites. I say I made a thing, but really, you made this. Thank you.

Originally inspired by posts from heatherann, insomnyuk, and caveday, as well as many hilarious conversations with MeFites at meetups all over the US, the pronunciation of 'MeFi' and 'MeFite' led to my Masters thesis on the topic, and eventually moving to England to finish my PhD. I posted a few MeTa's previously, collecting data and conversing with you all. It's been a wonderful and hilarious journey. Thanks again and please enjoy this 250+ page beast.
posted by iamkimiam to MetaFilter-Related at 10:49 AM (185 comments total) 180 users marked this as a favorite

Nice work, doc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:51 AM on April 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


YAY!!!!! And congratulations!
posted by annsunny at 10:54 AM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations on making a thing, Dr. Iamkimiam!
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:02 AM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Felicitations! And thank you for sharing with us.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:09 AM on April 3, 2015


Hi Dr iamkimiam! Congrats on the thing.
(Is it too late for me to add Me as in Me and Fi as in Hi?)
posted by billiebee at 11:10 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


You made a thing! Congrats!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:11 AM on April 3, 2015


I believed it's pronounced "albatross"
posted by philip-random at 11:13 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks for conclusively proving that I pronounce MeFi correctly!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:16 AM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Is it too late for me to add Me as in Me and Fi as in Hi?"

Heck no! Let the debate begin. :D
posted by iamkimiam at 11:17 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yay! Congratulations!
posted by ocherdraco at 11:19 AM on April 3, 2015


It's pronouced the opposite of however cortex says it is
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on April 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


*glances at abstract* Sociowhat? (looks up)... enregisterment..CMC = "computer mediated communication"?..'netologisms' ha! nice portemanteau, if I am correct in assuming it is one.

Neato! Congratulations. Oh I'm downloading this one... may take a while to read as I look up definitions, but why change the habit of a lifetime?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:26 AM on April 3, 2015


This is awesome. I am going to read the whole thing.
posted by spitefulcrow at 11:28 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think you should re-write the abstract using non-linguistic terms for the layman/layperson. Yes. This would be a challenging writing task, funneling sophisticated ideas into less technical and more crude but more easily comprehensible terms. And then memail it to me.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:28 AM on April 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Congratulations!
posted by slmorri at 11:29 AM on April 3, 2015


Yay you!
posted by padraigin at 11:31 AM on April 3, 2015


I believed it's pronounced "albatross"

No, it's spelled "albatross" but it's pronounced Throatwarbler Mangrove.
posted by The Bellman at 11:32 AM on April 3, 2015 [26 favorites]


MEFFY and MEE FIGHTS.

I will kick anyone who disagrees with me.
posted by duffell at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think you should re-write the abstract using non-linguistic terms for the layman/layperson.

"How do people who hang out on the internet decide how to pronounce community-specific made-up words that they only ever see written down, especially when the spelling of those words don't have a clear and unambiguous relationship to existing words in the common language? They wing it and then there's some complicated tango of repetition, reinforcement, and group consensus. Let's take a look at Metafilter's userbase arguing with each other about it for fifteen goddam years."
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:37 AM on April 3, 2015 [169 favorites]


YAY!!!! Congratulationsssss!!!
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:37 AM on April 3, 2015


Great work, iamkimiam!

The Whelk: "It's pronouced the opposite of however cortex says it is"

Cortex is a fine fellow, but his odd pronunciations are the tipoff that he is actually from a nearby timestream.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


"I think you should re-write the abstract using non-linguistic terms for the layman/layperson. Yes."

Oh gosh, I totally agree! I'm not gonna lie, this read is a bit of a tough slog. I was laughing at it yesterday, as I came across a line I wrote which made no sense and really should have been at least three separate sentences. I don't know what to say, other than sorry and that perhaps this is just the world's most boring mini-game?
posted by iamkimiam at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


May fee.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


congratulations, doc!
posted by dismas at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2015


Or what cortex said.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:40 AM on April 3, 2015


cortex, please start a "cortex rewrites your abstracts" blog, it would be a thing of beauty
posted by capricorn at 11:40 AM on April 3, 2015 [45 favorites]


And of course, congrats to Dr. iamkimiam, and hooray for more CMC research! I wrote a paper for a discourse analysis class about negotiating conversation topics in online communities and if I were still in academia I would definitely want to continue the noble pursuit of beanplating about how people yell at each other on the internet.
posted by capricorn at 11:42 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


*\o/* *\o/* *\o/* Congratulations! *\o/* *\o/* *\o/*

(you get a cheering squad complete with pom-poms)
posted by immlass at 11:46 AM on April 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Congrats on getting it done and submitted!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:46 AM on April 3, 2015


You gotta fight for your right to MeFite.
posted by fings at 11:49 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congratulations, Dr. iamkimiam!
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:49 AM on April 3, 2015


Congrats!
posted by Pronoiac at 11:51 AM on April 3, 2015


Oh and cortex says it wrong
posted by Pronoiac at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


urdrkimur!
posted by misteraitch at 11:54 AM on April 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


So this proves me right, right?
posted by yeti at 11:58 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congratulations, and it's meh-fee and meh-fight!
posted by languagehat at 11:59 AM on April 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


I command-F'd for "Nog" but all i found was a bunch of instances of the word "ethnography". did you spell my name with a zero instead of an O or something
posted by Greg Nog at 12:01 PM on April 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


I also searched for "cod" and thankfully found no instances that weren't just those three letters as part of a real word.
posted by COD at 12:05 PM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations! Inspiration to turn off this window and go back to my own chapters!
posted by ChuraChura at 12:07 PM on April 3, 2015


I always forget about this podcast excerpt, and I always bust up again when I remember it:
cortex: [mɛfaɪts] I dunno, it rolls off the tongue
mathowie: yeah, like a turd
jessamyn: (--laughter--)
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:08 PM on April 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


Congratulations!

and it's obviously meffy and meffite and that's the end of it

come at me bro
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:09 PM on April 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


MEFFY FOREVER
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:12 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also gif as in giraffe
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:12 PM on April 3, 2015


Is it too late for me to add Me as in Me and Fi as in Hi?

I believe I had you covered there.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:14 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hey Congratulations!

(Me Fye and Hard G for life.)
posted by pb (staff) at 12:16 PM on April 3, 2015 [24 favorites]


This is the beaniest plate that ever was.

Congratulations and well done, iamkimiam.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:16 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nice work, iamdrkimiam.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:20 PM on April 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


A lot of "Me" and "I" with a burgeoning "fffffffffffff..." in between. The essential sound of MeFi.

(Holy shit this is SO GODDAMN COOL. Congrats, Kim!)
posted by rorgy at 12:22 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


A lot of "Me" and "I" with a burgeoning "fffffffffffff..." in between.

When it comes to being MeFi, it's just Me-(myself 'n')-Fi.
posted by The Bellman at 12:29 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Me Fye and Hard G for life.)

Yeah I love MeataFylter
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:30 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congrats! Glad to have you as a mee-fight.
posted by radioamy at 12:31 PM on April 3, 2015


no see that's why it's wrong! me-fight? no! we're not supposed to do that here

it's: meh, fight?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:32 PM on April 3, 2015


How do *you* pronounce 'MeFi'?

Correctly.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:32 PM on April 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


I don't
posted by thelonius at 12:37 PM on April 3, 2015


MEFFY FOREVER

Yeah, I love MetaFeelter?
posted by nobody at 12:39 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sure, but how is "IRL" pronounced?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:39 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


AFK
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:40 PM on April 3, 2015




So fun to finally read this. Congratulations, iamkimiam!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:48 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm so happy for you!
posted by rtha at 12:48 PM on April 3, 2015


Of all the things you people who I agree with 98% of the time but are wrong about 2% of the time, this is still always the one that surprises me when I find a new wrong person. Everytime.

Congratulations, iamkimiam.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:52 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, someone actually has a PhD in Metafilter!
posted by mudpuppie at 12:54 PM on April 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Welcome to the "I got my Ph.D. on MetaFilter" Club! Keep an eye out for the annual notice about club dues.
posted by lewistate at 1:01 PM on April 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm so delighted to see the finished product of this delightful journey, and not to mention proud as hell for you! Congratulations Dr. iamkimiam!
posted by mostlymartha at 1:02 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


i pronounce it "meffy" because apparently people find it incredibly annoying.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:11 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Part-way through, and it's all awesome so far. Congratulations!!
posted by DiscourseMarker at 1:18 PM on April 3, 2015


Yay you did it! Huge congratulations Kim!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:20 PM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations Kim!
posted by A dead Quaker at 1:24 PM on April 3, 2015


oooh, I should be like that creator of the GIF guy that tells everyone to pronounce it wrong by saying once and for all I always intended people to pronounce MeFi as May-Fay and watch the battles that follow.

Congrats, Dr iamkimiam! As a PhD, you get to do two things: you probably get a really goofy robe with a floppy hat and a sash for graduation while Masters and Bachelors get less fancy stuff, and you can put Dr. on your checks which tends to freak people out when they get a check from you.
posted by mathowie (retired) at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


All roads lead from Pacifica. Congratulations.
posted by ambient2 at 1:48 PM on April 3, 2015


Congrats, I was glad to help out. I haven' t gone through the process myself, but my wife was working on her PhD for the vast majority of our relationship, so I can sympathize with the struggle. Hopefully, being a regular at Meeeefai gave you some preparatory experience in receiving criticism from people who haven't even read what you've provided to them.
posted by LionIndex at 1:51 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congrats! Though I will never, never accept the conclusion. Meffy and MehFite forever!
posted by bearwife at 1:54 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, bearwife, the conclusion is that everyone is wrong, and they probably say "draygun" and "liberry".
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:56 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Congratulations!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:56 PM on April 3, 2015


Hooray! How exciting!

I look forward to reading it over dinner, which literally is a plate of beans (with some other minor culinary elements scattered on the plate).
posted by julen at 2:01 PM on April 3, 2015


Amazing! Congratulations, Dr. iamkimiam!
posted by tickingclock at 2:02 PM on April 3, 2015


This is great, because now when my family ask what I've been doing all day, I can say "Participating in a community of practice" instead of "Farting around on MetaFilter."
posted by Rock Steady at 2:17 PM on April 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


Congratulation!

If you're looking to rewrite the abstract, consider submitting a haiku to Dissertation Haiku
posted by aniola at 2:20 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congratulations!!
posted by Room 641-A at 2:33 PM on April 3, 2015


On MetaFilter
MeFites argue about MeFi
It is so MeTa
posted by iamkimiam at 2:48 PM on April 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


Congratulations, Dr. I on your grand achievement in proving the worthlessness of academic titles.

I stand by my assertion (denied by Matt) that the name "MetaFilter" was selected specifically because of its similarity to "MotherFucker" and the existence of the shortened form "MeFi" exists solely because of the intentional confusion caused by referring to it as "MF". The most common pronunciation of "MeFi" was heavily influenced by the emergence of "MeFite" as a term for members, since "-ite" has a generally accepted pronunciation, and pushed further by stavrosthewonderchicken's gamey spin-off site MeFightClub...

Also I just like to say I access MeFi via WiFi (in HiFi!!!)
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:53 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Congratulations! I skimmed the results section (to see if I pronounce MeFi like everyone else, natch, guess not, boo), and it looks like an awesome dissertation. Thanks for letting us know about it!
posted by leahwrenn at 3:06 PM on April 3, 2015


Huzzah! Congrats, iamkimiam!

Mee fie and mee fight here; hi-fi, WiFi and semper fi are definite influences, and I'm glad to see I'm not alone on that.

I was also thinking about how mathowie/cortex/jessamyn ask guests on the podcast how they pronounce "MeFi" -- it made me smile to see the excerpt of the podcast transcript where they talk about this being a core question.

(Speaking of podcasts: in case it hasn't been done recently, I would like to nominate iamkimiam as a future podcast guest.)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 3:13 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's a shame that all this brilliant hard work has been invalidated so rapidly by the founder's recent retirement and the advent of Cortexism.
posted by ardgedee at 3:26 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Finally proof that the lurkers support me in email!

And since when we covered this for the MeFi Mag kim refused to tell us how she said it out of fear of biasing the data, I gotta ask: Can we get a .wav/mp3 of you saying it now, kim?
posted by klangklangston at 3:31 PM on April 3, 2015


Hooray! Grad school is a slog, but you come out with two invaluable things:

1) A fancy-pants diploma

2) The ability to say "That's Doctor iamkimiam to you"

Oh, and I guess job prospects, the respect of your peers etc, yadda yadda - but the above covers the important stuff
posted by chrisamiller at 3:36 PM on April 3, 2015


"Can we get a .wav/mp3 of you saying it now, kim?"

How I pronounce MeFi now.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:37 PM on April 3, 2015 [41 favorites]


Hey, well done!
posted by benito.strauss at 3:48 PM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations iamdrkimiam!
posted by motty at 3:56 PM on April 3, 2015


Remember that it's frowned on to come forward, on what is actually just a technicality, when someone on your flight collapses and they ask if there's a doctor on board.

Congratulations!
posted by busted_crayons at 4:13 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes! I'm quoted on page 195.

IMMORTALITY, FUCKERS.

CITE THAT PAGE. CITE THAT PAGE AND I WILL LIVE ON FOR ETERNITY.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:26 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Felicidades!
posted by Stewriffic at 4:31 PM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations Dr. Kim!

Can can you please have a look at this rash?
posted by arcticseal at 4:33 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


CITE THAT PAGE. CITE THAT PAGE AND I WILL LIVE ON FOR ETERNITY.

That would be such a bad example, though. 8(

Congrats Dr. iamkimiam! You have to win Beanplater of the Year after this!!
posted by Deoridhe at 4:58 PM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations, Dr. Iamkimiam!
posted by Quietgal at 5:08 PM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations on making a thing, Dr. Iamkimiam!

I heartily concur with the sentiment, but I feel the correct entitled username should be "dr. iamkimiam dr." Just for the look of the thing.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:15 PM on April 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Owing to the text-based medium

It wasn't always text based. ಠ_ಠ
posted by bonje at 6:03 PM on April 3, 2015


Great job!
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:30 PM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations, Doctor!

(That is some friggin nice typesetting-of-thesis, also)
posted by en forme de poire at 6:32 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yay! Congrats Dr. Kim!
posted by gingerbeer at 6:52 PM on April 3, 2015


Yes! I'm quoted on page 195.

Congrats. I'm already quoted pseudonymously in a nerdy PhD dissertation, so I guess it was just greedy to hope for a second.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:03 PM on April 3, 2015


I saw this (the title) on twitter and thought oh gawd, not again!?

Nice job, doc :)
posted by wallabear at 7:32 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congratulations! For next year's April Fool, the mods will change the background to match your regalia colors.
posted by mogget at 8:05 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Congratulations, Dr. Kim!

I loved the initial surveys you posted here. They got me thinking about linguistics in a way I hadn't since I was in college. Great work in turning it into a successful dissertation.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 8:08 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congratulations Fräulein Doktor Doktor Kim! Just one question: twenty-three people pronounce "MeFite" as "maɪfaɪt"? Seriously? MY FIGHT?! What downmarket Cockney-Aussie LARPers pub did they crawl out of?


Cortexism

More like Cortex Schism, amirite?

meh fai mai ass
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:19 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


How I pronounce MeFi now.
posted by iamkimiam


Long vowels. That settles it.
posted by wallabear at 8:26 PM on April 3, 2015


Yay, very best wishes! What great work!

Normally a search for "pter" just finds "Pterodactyl" so I was like "WOW I am mentioned like twenty times! I am so important!" but no, it's just the word "chapter". Still, even without explicit reference to flying prehistoric lizards this is an excellent piece of scholarship. Congratulations!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:44 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Excellent!! Very proud of "mee fyyy's" own! Can't wait to read!
posted by pearlybob at 8:54 PM on April 3, 2015


Congratulations!

But hold on... most people pronounce Mefi as mee-fye? Um, it has to be me-fee as in the first syllable of Metafilter and... I don't know. It sounds better.

Also, it's mef-ite*. Which, now that I think about it, is somewhat inconsistent with how I pronounce the second syllable of Mefi.

Wow, this is like how over the years I've realized I was horribly mispronouncing a bunch of words because most of my vocabulary was picked up from reading books.

Whatever, it's always going to be mefee and mef-ite to me. Oh, and I'm never switching over to that fancy-schmancy modern theme. Classic all the way!

*Rhymes with acolyte, unless I've been mispronouncing that all along, too.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:30 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


acolyte: a COL eet
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:49 PM on April 3, 2015


I love everything about this. Fantastic work!
posted by odinsdream at 9:57 PM on April 3, 2015


BS Bullshit
MS More shit
PhD Piled Higher and Deeper


congrats from a fellow graduate swimming in it.

ffs don't go into academia: what do being an assistant professor and a mushroom have in common? You're kept in the dark and every so often someone opens the door and throws a pile of shit on you
posted by lalochezia at 10:07 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


*puts it on Metafitler's fridge*
posted by NoraReed at 11:08 PM on April 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


So, you've got a doctorate in Metafilter... That makes you Dr. Metafilter, right? Do you get a cape? Do you promise to use your powers for good? And, uh, what powers did you get?

Congrats.

Mee Figh for life. Like in "Me Figh(t) people who use ungood pronunciation."
posted by Ghidorah at 1:09 AM on April 4, 2015


Amazing to have finally read your dissertation, congratulations! Found it fascinating when you mentioned this in a London meetup; certainly, the missus was extremely amused by the [+] card you gave us.

Any case, I'm fairly certain I'm one of them outliers in the two maps on page 138. That makes me happy.
posted by the cydonian at 1:44 AM on April 4, 2015


Congrats, Kim!

Congratulations, and it's meh-fee and meh-fight!
posted by languagehat at 8:59 PM on April 3 [1 favorite +] [!]


Finally, the voice of reason.
posted by ersatz at 4:13 AM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Congrats, doc!
posted by From Bklyn at 4:22 AM on April 4, 2015


Congratulations o. Finishing your PHD.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:38 AM on April 4, 2015


Manymany congratulations, and also I love that your final version is the April Fool's version! Well done!
posted by you must supply a verb at 5:35 AM on April 4, 2015


Me
Fi
Lol
Bum
I smell the blood
Of an English muffin
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:52 AM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


languagehat: "Congratulations, and it's meh-fee and meh-fight!"

MeeFi and MeeFight. How can you get this so horribly wrong? You're a linguist ffs.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:21 AM on April 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


you can put Dr. on your checks which tends to freak people out when they get a check from you.

I have to admit this hadn't occurred to me, but now I'm going to get German checks that call me Mister Professor Doctor Xenophobe.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:22 AM on April 4, 2015


Congratulations! I enjoyed watching the project unfold. I also really appreciate the pragmatic perspective you've discussed from time to time regarding the function of favorites.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:57 AM on April 4, 2015


Woohoo, I'm Example 16! I've never been quoted in a Ph.D. dissertation before! Er, that is, to my knowledge. I shudder to think how I may have been quoted in the ones I'm not aware of.

Anyway, congratulations!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:09 AM on April 4, 2015


Oh my... how time flies!

congratulations Dr iamkimiam!

may fy ... like may fly but without the L sound
posted by infini at 7:42 AM on April 4, 2015


> How can you get this so horribly wrong? You're a linguist ffs.

A linguist and an editor. I cannot possibly be wrong. Bow before my impeccable usage!
posted by languagehat at 8:08 AM on April 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


No usage is impeccable if you have a big enough usage-pecker.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:00 AM on April 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


That was quite an engaging read! (Wish I could say that of more dissertations. . .)

BTW, as my daughter informed me dismissively when she was ten, PhD stands for Phoney Doctor.
posted by DrMew at 9:35 AM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


That makes you Dr. Metafilter, right?

"No, I don't do cancer. I'm a doctor of mefiology."

I wonder how people pronounce "mefiologist"
posted by flabdablet at 9:42 AM on April 4, 2015


Bow before my impeccable usage!

The inner prescriptivist cannot be suppressed indefinitely.
posted by flabdablet at 9:44 AM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wi-Fi uses long vowels, so I suppose it was easy for me to apply this same rule to MeFi.

So, Me as in me, and Fi as in Wi-Fi.

Sort of like a caveperson saying it's theirs: MeFi.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congratulations on your PhD, iamkimiam!

I say "meh-fee" and "meh-fight." And I'm getting more set in my ways every year.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:20 AM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I believed it's pronounced "albatross"

I believe it's pronounced "Giant Steaming Plate of Beans, Ph.D."

And turning your bean-plating tendencies into a Ph.D. is such a very MeFi thing to do . . .
posted by flug at 10:46 AM on April 4, 2015


Fund-raising idea: $5 to vote on the "official" pronunciation, vote as often as desired.

Congratulations, Dr. W. Hope being so close to the subject for so long doesn't mean you need a MeFi break.
posted by ctmf at 10:56 AM on April 4, 2015


Fund-raising idea: $5 to vote on the "official" pronunciation, vote as often as desired.

This would make so much money it might qualify as a pyramid scheme.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:25 AM on April 4, 2015


The inner prescriptivist cannot be suppressed indefinitely.

No, he's just describing the wrong usage.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:36 PM on April 4, 2015


Congrats!!

P.S. I just added the "solved" tag to my original thread.
posted by heatherann at 12:37 PM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Doctor! Doctor!

It hurts when I pronounce MeFi.

What should I do?
posted by Frayed Knot at 1:07 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not ask-meh, it's ask - mee

It's mee- fye.

Congrats Dr. Kim!
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:11 PM on April 4, 2015


Congrats Kim, welcome to the cabal club.
posted by spitbull at 1:22 PM on April 4, 2015


Congratulations, and thanks for sharing it with us!
The pronoun ‘me’ appears in ‘MeFi’ and has a natural semantic connection to ‘MeFi’ for many MeFites who feel that the site is about them and their interests. . .

This justification for ‘MeFi’ pronunciation was categorically preferred by the 1 – [mi-] pronunciation groups and was mentioned in 22% of 2010 surveys with rationales and 29% of 2012 surveys with rationales.
A quarter of us mentioned the word "me" unprompted? Wow. That's really surprising, at least to me. Despite being a member of that group and a native English speaker, I would have had to fill hundreds of pages with increasingly unlikely explanations before that justification would have occurred to me.

Brains sure are neat!

This leads me to wonder whether some of the people in the world who claim to enjoy puns may in fact be telling the truth.
posted by eotvos at 1:34 PM on April 4, 2015


Congratulations, iamkimiam! And thanks for introducing this non-academic MeFite to Lave and Wegner and communities of practice.
posted by nangar at 2:55 PM on April 4, 2015


Attention. Attention.

The ethnolinguist has left the building. Please return to saying it however you were saying it before.

That is all.
posted by dhartung at 3:01 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, she introduced me to communities of practice too!
posted by infini at 3:02 PM on April 4, 2015


I am amused by all the people still arguing about how it's pronounced in this thread. The Doctor has spoken! It is not for us to question her decrees!

... Or was that for God-Emperors? I always mix those two up.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:12 PM on April 4, 2015


What a great achievement! Congratulations iamkimiam! Most of the dissertation goes way over my head, but the bits I can understand (basically, some of the contents page ;-)) are interesting, particularly the data on shifts over time and comparing why people choose to pronounce things a certain way.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

languagehat: "Congratulations, and it's meh-fee and meh-fight!"
Of course it is. It occurs to me that I have a strong opinion on pronunciation of a word that I have never once spoken out loud nor heard spoken. It also occurs to me that I'm quite OK with that.
posted by dg at 3:28 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


This sort of reminds me of a dialog in DeLillo's White Noise.

(from memory so rough . . .)

Academic #1: I love what you have done with the Hitler Studies thing.

Academic #2: Thanks.

Academic #1: I plan to do a similar thing with Elvis.

The Hitler Studies guy is one of the novel's two main characters.
posted by bukvich at 4:27 PM on April 4, 2015


Hey, it looks like Figures 16 and 17 (on p 113) mistakenly duplicate the data from figures 14 and 15?

(I only caught this because 16 and 17 are supposed to represent results from only the 769 "panel" participants, but the numbers above the 1b bars are 1,518 and 1,239.)
posted by nobody at 5:53 PM on April 4, 2015


I have trouble figuring out the International Phonetic Alphabet* and so I would like a recording of someone enumerating all the pronunciations in the table on page 80.

*that's my pretext and I'm sticking to it
posted by NMcCoy at 8:23 PM on April 4, 2015


Oh wow, congratulations! It's done! And thanks for sharing this.
posted by Secretariat at 8:48 PM on April 4, 2015


"Hey, it looks like Figures 16 and 17 (on p 113) mistakenly duplicate the data from figures 14 and 15?"

AAAAAAGGGHHHHHHH. It does. I don't know know what happened there. (Shit, why couldn't it have been any other two charts to go awry?)

I think (hope) it's incorrectly updated links in InDesign. Will look into now. Thanks for catching that. There was bound to be something amiss.

The blessing and curse of having lots of people look at your dissertation *after* you submit it.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:17 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I looked into that chart error and fortunately it's only the numbers I input at the tops of the bars that is incorrect (and not the height of the bars themselves, whew). And the chart styling too. I officially submitted this on Thursday, so I'm hoping that I can swap it out somehow before they have a final look on Tuesday; will update my website with the new PDF soon too.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:10 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thanks and congrats, Doctor!
posted by clavdivs at 12:13 PM on April 5, 2015


Cool! I wrote my master's thesis on communities of practice in the L2 university classroom and how students use code-switching for pragmatic purposes. I was so pissed off when, after the thesis was 75% written, one of my advisors insisted that I learn all about communities of practice and read Lave and Wenger and rewrite my thesis. But it turned out to be a really interesting perspective! So cool to learn that it's still A Thing out there in academia-land!
posted by bluebelle at 1:12 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


MegaCongrats! (Or MeCons!)

I am reading your opus and so far I have learned two new words: QUILTBAG and CamelCase.
posted by beagle at 3:07 PM on April 5, 2015


I wonder how people pronounce "mefiologist"

Rhymes with "bartender."
posted by nickmark at 11:18 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


QUILTBAG and CamelCase.

“From the makers of the OtterBox and Pelican Case come two exciting new products...”
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:17 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hooray! I've enjoyed what I've read so far (although I must respectfully disagree with your generally positive characterization of The Family Circus)and look forward to finishing your dissertation. Congratulations!

The first rule of MeFite club is you don't talk about MeFite Club.
posted by carmicha at 3:40 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The first rule of MeFite club is you don't talk about MeFite Club.

Which was the joke that drove my decision way back when to call MefightClub MefightClub. (I was pleased to see a few mentions of MFC in the dissertation -- congrats iamkimiam!)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:13 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you had asked me something like, list all possible reasonable pronunciations of the word "MeFi" I would have come up with something like this, in order:

[mɛfi] - this is how I would naturally pronounce a word spelled 'mefi' by comparison with other similarly spelled words like 'neti' or "kelli/kelly". (This is my preferred variant.)

[mɛfaɪ] - same as above, but long 'i' on the end is a somewhat reasonable interpretation of the 'i' on the end

[meɪfɪ] - reasonable because it uses the actual vowel sounds in the words "MEta" and "FIlter" (at least, as I pronounce them). If pressed, this is the one I would have assumed the vast majority of normal humans would use.

[mɛfɪ] - reasonable because it uses some approximation of the vowel sound in "MEta" and the vowel sound in "FIlter"

All other possibilities are just straight-up making up random shit. Like, you could pronounce it moofay or mufoo or mowfow or whatever--but, why?

My point in going through all of this is I came up with:

* 1 possibility used by less than 20% of users
* 1 used by less than 10% of users
* 2 used by, apparently, nobody at all--including the one I thought would be used by almost everybody

I never in a million billion trillion years of thinking would EVER have come up with the pronunciation "mifaɪ" which in my mind is just as nonsensical as moofay or mufoo or mowfow and yet, it seems according to very well documented scholarly research, that this is the one that pretty much all of you use.

In conclusion, WFT? Apparently I lack a common brain connection shared by the vast majority of members of the MeFuman species.

I'll just retire to my own lonely little corner of the MeFuniverse here, and have a bit of a cry . . .
posted by flug at 8:05 PM on April 6, 2015


In conclusion, WFT?

Um, most of us also say that in a different order. Sorry, dude.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:54 PM on April 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


MeFuniverse

Pronounced "muffooniverse," of course. Rhymes with "bassoon-averse."
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:36 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


many congratulations, Dr. iamkimiam!!
posted by Bwithh at 11:44 PM on April 6, 2015


used by, apparently, nobody at all--including the one I thought would be used by almost everybody

It seems worth pointing out that it looks like you're pronouncing the website name itself differently than the majority, too, rhyming Meta with Beta? ("Standard" pronunciation there is m[ɛ]tafilter.)
posted by nobody at 4:56 AM on April 7, 2015


flug: "In conclusion, WFT?"

What Fuh Thuck?
posted by Rock Steady at 5:27 AM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


It seems worth pointing out that it looks like you're pronouncing the website name itself differently than the majority, too, rhyming Meta with Beta? ("Standard" pronunciation there is m[ɛ]tafilter.)

>In conclusion, WFT?
Um, most of us also say that in a different order. Sorry, dude.


Yes, indeed, I have my own idiosyncratic dialect, complete with idiosyncratic pronunciation and spelling, spoken by only one person, even though it actually never *is* spoken aloud, but only typed.

And, in conclusion, I'm going to spend the remainder of my time here at MeFi plumping for everyone to switch to WFT instead of WTF (my version contains a nice reference to QFT, doubling its semantic value), to pronounce the site name correctly as M-ay-tefilter (as a proper English gentleman would), and to replace the execrable and confrontational "MeFite" with the far more refined and inclusive "MeFuman" (oh, the MeFumanity . . . )
posted by flug at 7:04 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, well, well...Dr. iamkimiam! Hey doc, I have this rash, could you take a look at it? ;)

Also, it's MyFy. Everyone knows that. Well, all the right thinking people in the world, anyway.
posted by dejah420 at 7:06 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


MeFite UFite WeAllFite Unite!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:12 PM on April 7, 2015


We're Fine Trucks
posted by Pronoiac at 4:36 PM on April 7, 2015


Oh! We're Fire Trucks! Duh!
posted by Pronoiac at 4:38 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


very w00t-worthy. Yay for you Dr. Iamkimiam.
posted by theora55 at 7:41 AM on April 8, 2015


PostDoc grant application:

"How do they say 'redditor'?"
posted by oceanjesse at 10:25 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


In order to 'pronounce' MeFi or Mefite you'd have to interact with actual people, like, in person, in the same space, not through a computer.

Why would you ever do that?

Unless you're recording a podcast, but still, real-life-cooties, eewww.
posted by signal at 3:22 PM on April 8, 2015


It seems worth pointing out that it looks like you're pronouncing the website name itself differently than the majority, too, rhyming Meta with Beta?

Interestingly, as long as I'm just internally pronouncing it (ie, when reading silently, as one does 99.9999% of the time when interacting with MeFi) it tends strongly towards [eɪ], ie meta rhymes with beta.

But as soon as I open my mouth to actually speak, it very clearly moves to [ɛ]--not only for MetaFilter but for most other meta- words like metaphysics, metalinguistics, etc.

All of which lines me up perfectly to spend the next 10 years of my life researching a doctoral dissertation on the difference between internal/imagined pronunciation and actual pronunciation.
posted by flug at 5:34 PM on April 9, 2015


Tangentially, I remember when I worked in Australia way back when (I'm Canadian), and it took some getting used to when all the Aussies (at my company at least) pronounced beta as 'beeta' (unlike my own pronunciation, 'bayta').

These things is slippery.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:52 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't get how your dissertation was accepted when the final sentence of the abstract is not, "Therefore, the correct pronunciation is Meh Fee."
posted by straight at 7:27 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hooray! Grad school is a slog, but you come out with two invaluable things:
1) A fancy-pants diploma
2) The ability to say "That's Doctor iamkimiam to you"
Oh, and I guess job prospects, the respect of your peers etc, yadda yadda - but the above covers the important stuff


Job prospects? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHA
posted by maryr at 2:11 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean, congratulations!
posted by maryr at 2:11 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well done, Doctor!
posted by MissySedai at 2:14 PM on April 10, 2015


Some advice for your defense: part 1, part 2.
posted by el io at 9:52 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


That second link… WHERE WERE YOU!?! (nobody told me about the snakes)
posted by iamkimiam at 1:52 AM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


i am pleased to know i am in with the M-Set crowd.

it's like marmosets but digital.

seriously... this is soooo cool. i already bore everyone by talking about how awesome this place is and referring to it all the time. NOW I can bore by them by saying someone wrote a dissertation on how we pronounce our own made up words!

M-set 4 life!
posted by sio42 at 2:56 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


favorite [+]

Well done Kim!

I still have one of your favourites. I take it to meetups.
posted by asok at 7:26 AM on April 16, 2015


Me Fi Fo Fum ....

what, nobody mentioned that pronunciation yet??
posted by hank at 1:47 PM on April 21, 2015


... So you read this for the pronunciations?
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:12 PM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


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