Saturday Morning Oys – July 10th, 2021

From Andréa:
Andréa otra vez

Do they have something backwards, tho?

And it’s an Andréa hat trick. She also remarks on this one: “HOWEVER, there is NO SUCH THING as a ‘pita pan’, altho there ARE restaurants named such.”

Hmm, the status as an OY may be slightly dubious, but it’s worth it.


  1. (OT) Liking your new avatar, Zbicyclist! Is it from the Maximum Fun entertainment organization, or just something else you found?

  2. “IDU the “something backwards” comment. The castle is pregnant, so it bulges outward. What am I missing?”

    I think the comment is referring to how the castle becomes pregnant. If it’s impregnable, it can’t be broken into by invading armies. And if it can’t be broken into by invading armies it can’t become pregnant.

    This assumes …. well, it assumes… but if the castle can’t be broken into by invading armies yet is pregnant, that raises the question how the heck does a castle get pregnant and what the heck does that mean.

  3. I found it when I ordered 200, then another 200, then another 200 of these buttons when a good friend of mine — who’d worn this button on bike rides for years — was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He didn’t make it. Some younger people (including my daughter) got tattoos of this on their shoulders as a remembrance. We used to organize annual bike tours together. When others on the tour were being difficult in some way, he’d move the indicator to the blue area as a subtle sign that he was becoming irritated (or, I’d move it for him). I still miss Mark a lot.

  4. What I had in mind in calling the “impregnable” joke sort of backwards, was from taking “impregnable” to be related directly to “impregnate” — that is, not seeing the “im-” as a negation prefix. So that you might expect his line to be “I thought you said the fortress was non-impregnable” or “… was un-impregnable” where his dubiety is because it pretty clearly has been impregnated. Of course, that wouldn’t be funny.

  5. There’s a pretty bad old joke based on mistaking the “im-” of “impregnate” for some kind of negative prefix. There’s AFAIK no version that isn’t rather problematic, but this one (from is only a little offensive toward women without children, at the cost of extending the offense to ESL learners:

    Lost in Translation
    Three men were still learning English, when one started telling the others about his difficulty in starting a family.
    “I think my wife must be impregnable,” he said.
    “That’s not the right word,” said the second man. “She is inconceivable.”
    To which the third replied, “You are both wrong. She is unbearable.”

  6. I have long had a policy of never assuming a woman is pregnant until she says she is. This has led to circumstances such as a coworker being obviously pregnant and others discussing it but I made no reference to it. Then she went away and came back some time lady with a baby to show off. But, I think it is a good rule in general. Asking people personal questions about their family status is not cool, to my mind. It’s such a casual topic of small talk that “Do you have children?” is acceptable to my mind, but to follow up by asking “Why not?” when I answer in the negative is going much too far. There are a lot of reasons a couple may not have children and none of them are the business of strangers.

    I’m not sure why the chefs had to be drawn as stereotypical Italian chefs. “Pita” isn’t a particularly Italian mispronunciation of Peter. But, with a deadline looming, I suppose you take what you can get.

    Wouldn’t saying “my roommate ate my assignment” be just as good as saying your “dawg” ate it? I get the joke but–Oy! 🙂

  7. @SingaporeBill:

    I’m not sure why the chefs had to be drawn as stereotypical Italian chefs. “Pita” isn’t a particularly Italian mispronunciation of Peter.

    Because Pinocchio is a story about an Italian woodcarver?

  8. They’re referencing “Peter Pan,” which is about English children.

    That reminds me of a story told by sociolinguist Peter Trudgill, who grew up in Norwich and usually has an r-less pronunciation. During his first academic speaking tour* of the US Midwest and Lower Canada, sometimes when he would introduce himself, he would get asked “Your name is really Pizza??” 🙂

    *Crucial detail under his theory of Linguistic Accommodation. If he had been over here longer, or had been in one place for a whole semester with a visiting appointment, he would have developed the ability to accommodate to the local accent when speaking with locals. (Though perhaps not for special vocabulary like his own name.)

  9. “I’m not sure why the chefs had to be drawn as stereotypical Italian chefs. “Pita” isn’t a particularly Italian mispronunciation of Peter.”

    I didn’t see that there was so drawn so much as simply chefs. But… on second look maybe you are right

  10. Pedantic confusion requires clarification. Lower Canada was abolished in 1841 when it was merged with Upper Canada into the Province of Canada (we’ll leave out the subdivision of said province into Canada East and Canada West). So I understand that you are speaking figuratively, but I am confused. Did his tour take him to Quebec or Ontario? Quebec (previously Lower Canada) is not adjacent to the USA Midwest. Ontario is, but this area was previously Upper Canada. Or did he speak in both Quebec and Ontario? I could see him visiting Montreal, maybe Ottawa, Toronto, and perhaps Kingston and Hamilton. I could not easily find reference to this tour. Also, could not find recording/video of him saying his name to see if it really sounds like pizza.

  11. SingBill, you’re missing the point. Sorry about getting Canadian geography terminology wrong. Just read it as “Anglophone North America – but not the regions where they are used to r-less dialects”. The only reason I mentioned Canada is because that is how he told the story.

    Yes, there is an additional phonological factor besides the treatment of the final r, and that is a certain amount of friction on the t.

    Combine those and, yes, when he says Peter it does sound (to general North American ears) a lot like Pizza!

  12. Wasn’t missing the point. Totally got it. A fine point, well made. I was asking about the stuff that remained unanswered. I really do want to know where he went! The whole Upper Canada/Lower Canada thing has been confusing Canadian schoolchildren for generations. It is entirely forgivable.

    I can imagine the pizza thing as involving a glottal stop and friction on the release. And it needed sound perfectly like “pizza” for us NAms to hear it that way. Hearing a “foreign” sound as something more familiar is something I’ve experienced as both a student and teacher of a foreign language. Such as my Japanese students giggling happily when I said “show you” because it sounds like the Japanese word for soy sauce.

  13. Okay, sorry for misunderstanding your focus! The “Lower Canada” was just me, but mentioning Midwest US and nearby areas of Canada was something he said. I’m remembering this from a couple of times he gave talks at Chicago Linguistics Society meetings, probably in the mid 1980s, when he was already a very big name in sociolinguistics. I have the feeling this joking bit was something he liked to drop into his talks anytime. But the setting of the anecdote was from earlier, when he was starting out. I hope I’m not being misleading in talking of a “tour”. It’s not something that makes the news like a rock band tour, but a not infrequent phenomenon of academic life, when someone gets an invitation from a distant institution, they parlay it into several clustered stops.

    Here is a link for a lecture from Trudgill. The boys introducing him say “Peter” quite as many an American might, with a distinct /r/. (No they aren’t American, and the venue is Cambridge. I’m just saying, the /r/ was not dropped or turned into a vowel.)

    (But when he begins his talk, he offers a correction on their pronunciation of Norwich! Which reminds me about our recent discussion of local pronunciations of geographic names, and whether they need to be respected in general speech.).

  14. I can almost feel the “pizza” but it’d be hard for me to add in enough “S” to whatever extrenous Peter may have added to really get it. But Peter to Pita is very easy to get.

  15. Mitch4: Yes, I found that video in my searching for PIzza Pete saying his name. The question of local pronunciation is an interesting one. I think one should try to be close to the “standard” English pronunciation. So, calling Norwich “Nor-witch”, well, that’s just wrong. But expecting non-residents to say “Norrige” is not reasonable. And as an outsider, I’d probably choose not to use it, even if I knew it. Looking at local examples in Toronto, I wouldn’t expect outsiders to pronounce the city’s name as “Trawna”, which is close to the local pronunciation (though that could be less common now than in my generation) and I wouldn’t correct them if they said “toe’-ron-toe”. However, if they pronounced Spadina Avenue as “spa-dee-na” rather than “spa-dye-na”, I would correct them (politely), as being able to properly pronounce street names is useful for getting around town.

    woozy: If you do a glottal stop on the “t” in Peter and hold the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth while doing so, then release the glottal stop while exhaling and releasing the tongue, you get an aspirated Z.

  16. m5rammy – Must be a new item at Ikea.

    In normal times we ate dinner in Ikea on most Sunday nights (and went to their 4 smorgasbords annually) in addition to buying a few pieces of furniture and other assorted other items from them. We have not been there since the pandemic started and have never seen the chocolate moose so it must have come out since February 2020.

    Why dinner there? Dinner for two – main course, beverage, and soup plus sales tax – less than US$20 for two people.

  17. “woozy: If you do a glottal stop on the “t” in Peter and hold the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth while doing so, then release the glottal stop while exhaling and releasing the tongue, you get an aspirated Z.”

    I didn’t say I couldn’t. I said it was really hard for me to. I can get what you are saying but it doesn’t feel right for me. It’s not enough for too little and comes as not natural or reasonable for me.

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