1383: Magic Words

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Magic Words
'And then whisper 'anapest' in my ear as you hold me?'
Title text: 'And then whisper 'anapest' in my ear as you hold me?'

[edit] Explanation

Typically the term "foot fetish" refers to a sexual attraction to people's feet. Here, though, Megan is a linguist, so for her the term "foot" refers not to the body part but to the term's meaning in prosody. In this context, "foot" means, per Wikipedia, "the basic metrical unit that generates a line of verse in most Western traditions of poetry," and thus "foot fetish" means an attraction to words that follow such a format.

Common types of feet (which are all referenced in this comic) include:

  • trochee – a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable (demonstrated in the first set of words: "sto-ry", "wa-ter", "pa-per", "door-way") (see also 856: Trochee Fixation).
  • iamb – an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (as seen in the second set: "dis-arm", "A-dele's", "gi-raffe", "gre-nade") (perhaps the best-known foot, due to its use by William Shakespeare) (see also 79: Iambic Pentameter).
  • dactyl – a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables (used in the third set: "straw-ber-ry", "scor-pi-on", "po-et-ry").
  • anapest – (referenced in the title text) two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable; it is thus the reverse of a dactyl (see the discussion section). Note that the word anapest, pronounced "ANN-a-pest,"[1][2][3] is itself a dactyl, not an anapest, because the stress is on the first syllable. So it is an instance of a heterological word.

Megan thus wishes that Cueball first use a trochee during foreplay, then switch to an iamb during her main stimulation phase (intercourse or some other type that still enables Cueball to speak freely), and finally switch to a dactyl as she orgasms. According to the title text, after sex she wishes for him to hold her while he whispers the word "anapest" in her ear. But for a linguist like Megan, this is just four different types of "foot" stimulation - thus she can be called a woman with a foot fetish.

[edit] Transcript

[Cueball and Megan are in a bed.]
Megan: Can you repeat "Story Water Paper Doorway" at the start, then switch to "Disarm Adele's Giraffe Grenade" as we get going, and finally "Strawberry Scorpion Poetry" as I finish?
[Below the frame.]
Linguist with a foot fetish

[edit] References

  1. according to dictionary.com: [an-uh-pest], /ˈæn əˌpɛst/
  2. American pronunciation at Merriam-Webster: \ˈa-nə-ˌpest\
  3. British pronunciation at Oxford Dictionaries: /ˈanəpiːst, -pɛst/
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Discussion

In this comic, Mr. Munroe makes a joke. As of yet, it is unclear what this joke IS, specifically, but it can be assumed that it's a funny one. ‎108.162.215.120 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

In the comment above, a user makes some statements about a web-comic. 141.101.104.37 14:12, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Yo dawg, I heard you like jokes in comments about web-comics... Orazor (talk) 09:28, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

the clue was in "anapest"... for those more ambitious to explain and understand [1] 108.162.221.83 04:13, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Each sequence has four words with the same stress pattern, which makes them the same type of poetic foot (the first group is all iambs, the second is all trochees, the third is bacchius). Basically it's a pun. 173.245.54.185 04:25, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Is Cueball really as much of a cunning linguist as Megan makes him out to be? If not, she is going to be extremely unsatisfied in bed. 108.162.208.25 08:36, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Ha! Cunning linguist! *snicker* 108.162.254.157 08:42, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I found this just as funny as the comic itself. (Maybe I am 13 years old at heart) Rfd (talk) 18:17, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Before the explanation, I was wondering where "correct horse battery staple" was... 141.101.98.219 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Hmmm - surely there is some role the choice of words plays in this, beyond having a particular meter. Any ideas? Nealmcb (talk) 12:19, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

What about Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? =8o) Jarod997 (talk) 12:44, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I did not initially state that "a-na-pest is an anapest. But now I have tripple checked amongst other with a school teacher and the dictionary that I link to in the link. I have thus correct this back again. Please do not change it back! Kynde (talk) 15:01, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

There seem to be some disagreement about the pronunciation of the word anapest - or at least what it means to stress a syllable. I'm no expert, but had two other hear the word from the link to the pronunciation given in the explain. There is now two different people who have written that anapest is an anapest (I'm one of them) and two others who have changed it back to being a dactyl, without commenting down here... The last who did it wrote that I had misread how the stress was in the dictionary. But I cannot see where this is defined? I just listened to the word. If someone can post a link to how the word is pronounced, and can explain to me how to read it, (so it can be made clear what is correct instead of starting an editing war...) that would be great. In case it is the first syllable that is stressed then the two definitions on Wikipedia for what an anapest is will give two different conclusions for the word. This I have now included in the anapest explanation. Kynde (talk) 09:18, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
The primary stress is marked with an apostrophe BEFORE the stressed syllable. Secondary stress, which isn't important here, is marked with an inverted apostrophe (ie, at the bottom of the line) before the stressed syllable. You almost certainly don't pronounce it with the last syllable stressed, because it would sound very clearly and definitely like "er-ner-pest". 141.101.99.12 19:28, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
'Anapest' is definitely an anapest, by BOTH definitions, when I pronounce it. What's more, when I intentionally try to pronounce it as a dactyl, it is very difficult for me to do so--it feels unnatural. California-raised with a Master's in English from an Ivy League school, if anyone cares. Anyway, my experience in both the world and the classroom lead me to believe that 'anapest' is an anapest for American English. If it can also be a dactyl, I'd say that's a British pronunciation. I'm pretty sure whatever any of us think, Randall thinks 'anapest' is an anapest... 173.245.48.196 14:34, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the input. From this I have rephrased the anapest discussion an moved it into a trivia section. Kynde (talk) 20:14, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
'Anapest' is a dactyl because the stress is on the first syllable, according to Dictionary.com (in bold), Merriam-Webster, and Oxford Dictionaries (notice the accent mark at the beginning of the word). The inflection of the pronunciation also indicates stress on the first syllable. For example, compare the way you say "anapest" to "an apple", and how your voice rises at the beginning of the former but the middle of the latter. I haven't seen any examples showing the stress on the last syllable, so unless someone has one, I'm going to revert back to the correct explanation. Prometheusmmiv (talk) 00:39, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
As an addenda to the above; if anapest were an anapest, the first syllable would be reduced to schwa in most english-speaking accents and you'd get uh-nuh-pest - specifically, the first "a" would sound like the second "a" does. If you pronounce it with an audible, clear "aaaa", you're stressing the first syllable. 141.101.99.12 19:25, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Also, note that all these phrases are grammatically correct, but semantically nonsensical, Chomsky-style: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorless_green_ideas_sleep_furiously 141.101.104.13 09:17, 21 June 2014 (UTC) Georgy

I don't think "story water paper doorway" is gramatically correct. Whether you take water or paper to be the verb, both the noun and the object would need to be plural and they're not.

Also, there's nothing nonsensical about "strawberry scorpion poetry"

The strawberry scorpion's sweet
Though juicy you never should eat-
In case you get stung
Just call 911
And try your best to stay upbeat
[[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]]) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

If you try hard enough, you can give meaning to Chomsky's example as well: "It can only be the thought of verdure to come, which prompts us in the autumn to buy these dormant white lumps of vegetable matter covered by a brown papery skin, and lovingly to plant them and care for them. It is a marvel to me that under this cover they are labouring unseen at such a rate within to give us the sudden awesome beauty of spring flowering bulbs. While winter reigns the earth reposes but these colourless green ideas sleep furiously." 141.101.104.13 09:17, 21 June 2014 (UTC) Georgy


Since it's in all caps, we can't tell if "story" and "paper doorway" are proper names; if they are, a single comma would make that string grammatically correct - an imperative instructing Story to water Paper Doorway. 141.101.99.12 19:25, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
To me, it looks grammatically correct even without that comma. Suppose there is such a thing called Story Water™, which can be potentially used for producing paper. A "story water paper doorway" is then simply a doorway made of paper that is made from story water. A bit clumsy, though perfectly correct. Also, much less clumsy than "U.S. Air Force aircraft fuel systems equipment mechanics course". The article is missing, but that should be okay for titles. Also, we may assume that the word "doorway" has an additional meaning for which it becomes an uncountable noun. 141.101.104.13 09:17, 21 June 2014 (UTC) Georgy


Does anyone else think these words were chosen because they have whispering qualities would produce an 'autonomous sensory meridian response'? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_sensory_meridian_response 199.27.128.207 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

This is certainly contro-verse-ial. 108.162.216.6 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

As a linguist who dreams word-play, this comic is fantastic on so many levels. Thanks, Randall! Clumsy (talk) 21:34, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Holy crap, I had no freaking idea what was going on in this one. The cool thing is it's funny enough to still give me a chuckle after reading the explanation. Most jokes die a painful death if they have to be explained. Also, I have no idea how to properly sign my posts so I'm ignorantly copying others, likely incorrectly. jakeepooh

I read the comic and the explanation, and I still have no clue. Guess no poetic foot fetish action for me. 108.162.216.34 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I agree with the opinion that anapest is an anapest, and I've seen no comments to the contrary so unless there's other evidence to support it being a dactyl, it should remain anapest. Also, apparently the last person to change it didn't even read the entire sentence, because they left it as an autological word and not a heterological word. 108.162.216.60 19:46, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Though almost nobody in America has heard the word "anapest" spoken aloud in our entire lives, I think most of us would assume, since words like "analog" and "Everest" are both dactyls, that "anapest" is obviously a dactyl unless there is some special cited reason that it's not. 199.27.128.90 00:51, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

"Anapest" has been in my usage vocabulary since high school (about fifty years), and it's always been a dactyl for me. Merriam-Webster agrees: Their written pronunciation, \ˈa-nə-ˌpest\, has primary stress on the first syllable and secondary stress on the third, which is just how I pronounce it. Thnidu (talk) 06:03, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Interesting side note: the Wikipedia link to "foot fetishism" is blocked on my current Mobile Internet connection (pending an Adult Verification-type process that I'm not too bothered about engaging with, despite being very much elegible). Considering the things that aren't blocked (on Wikipedia and elsewhere), I thought this would amuse some of you, at least. ;) 141.101.99.57 15:25, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Rhythm Method: Trochee starts things rolling, then Iambe's humor rouses Demeter, the goddess of fertility. Nathan Hillery (talk) 14:47, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
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