Re: META: "Chinese whispers"
- On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 4:24 AM, Muke Tever <muke@...> wrote:
> Paul Kershaw <ptkershaw@...> wrote:It's possible to whisper at different pitches. It's tough to identify
>> Hence Mark's question, as I understood it: If "Chinese whispers" are so
>> called because the Chinese are strange in an interesting way (like Chinese
>> checkers), okay, that's a little bit ethnocentric but otherwise harmless; if
>> "Chinese whispers" are so called because the Chinese are easily confused
>> because their language is so much bar-bar-bar ("barbarian") with little
>> meaning, that's in the same vein as "Chinese fire drill," and worth at least
>> an introspection about
>> its usage.
> I imagine that whispered tonal languages would be slightly more difficult to
> understand than whispered non-tonal languages, what with the disuse of
> voicing removing the most overt expression of tone. I expect there's
> probably more homophony in devoiced Chinese than in devoiced English.
>  As I understand it, there's other factors that express the idea of the
> tone, as the absence or presence of aspiration suggests voicedness or
> voicelessness in English.
as a distinct pitch (because there are so many inharmonic partials),
but it's pretty easy to tell that one is higher than another, or
rising, or what have you.