Hey, it’s that punchline again!

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Discussion (60)¬

  1. Markywarky says:

    “grounds of” in frame two 🙂

    Love it. They are SO hard done by 🙁

  2. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Remember the good old days
    Maybe not so much for the gays
    When dispensed belief
    Caused nothing but grief
    It’s better now, everyone says

  3. John3932 says:

    I think what we are hoping for today is freedom FROM religion.

  4. Kevin Colquitt says:

    Was that Tragically Hip reference Marky?

    So Hard Done By

    Interesting and sophisticated
    Refusing to be celebrated
    It’s a monumental big screen kiss
    It’s so deep it’s meaningless

    One day you’ll just up and quit
    Yeah and that’ll be it
    Just then the stripper stopped in a coughing fit
    She said sorry I can’t go on with this

    Yeah that’s awful close
    But that’s not why
    I’m so hard done by

    It was true cinema a clef
    You should see it before there’s nothing left
    In an epic too small to be tragic
    You’ll have to wait a minute
    ‘Cause it’s an Instamatic

  5. Matt says:

    That is lovely. I plan to use that when pointing out the utter stupidity of cultural relativism.

  6. This one is you at the peak of your powers, Author. Wonderful. That punch line is your best yet.
    And Nassar, this is also one of your best, despite the fact that one must distort the pronunciation of “says” to make the rhyme work. I don’t mean to presume but could you replace “It’s better now, everyone says.” with “It’s better now, oh happy days.” or “It’s now better in so many ways.”

  7. Grumpy says:

    GOP policy meeting ?

  8. Michael says:

    Ah well, nostalgia isn’t like it used to be.

  9. Son of Glenner says:

    DW, leave Nassar alone! I don’t know about in Canada, but “says” rhymes perfectly well to me, in Scotland! But I agree with you, it’s one of Nassar’s best so far.

    (No doubt this will lead to a heated debate about pronunciation, if I know the C&B regulars!)

    The strip is also one of Author’s finest, although i agree with John3932 that we want freedom FROM religion.

  10. Jazzlet says:

    Darwin much as it pains me there are quite a lot of people who do rhyme says with gays rather than saying ‘sez’.

  11. hotrats says:

    Sez you. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  12. Okay, okay. I should have expected that from this crowd. Nassar’s verse is just fine the way it is. It doesn’t need to rhyme anywhere but in Scotland.
    I have a natural reluctance to make suggestions to any poet. Don’t know why I didn’t resist the urge in this case. Pure vanity on my part, thinking my lines might be an improvement.
    Funny thing though. I didn’t object when a certain scarecrow rhymed “riddle” with “individdle”. That was just cute. Go figger, eh.

  13. dr John de Wipper says:

    “not anywhere but in Scotland”?
    In as far as the average Dutch version of English is concerned, we agree with the Schots (and yes, that “h” is deliberate, creating a sound the Dutch and Schots have in common, but the English can hardly discern, let alone pronounce)

  14. dr John de Wipper says:

    In case you wonder about “ch”, consider the English “th”, and the way most continental Europeans handle it.
    We often recognise the sound, but quite often a try to produce it results in “f”; “t”; or “d”. Learning “th” at a later age requires quite a lot of effort.
    Similarly, East-Asians have a sound in between “L” and “R”. And they do not distinguise a difference, so an attempt at eigther results in their in-between, which is “heard” by Europeans as though they mix them up.
    East-Asian children the grow up in Europe (or the America’s) in a (partly) rast-asian community easily use all three sounds perfectly.

  15. Son of Glenner says:

    Dr John: I remember the fun of learning to pronounce “Scheveningen” to the satisfaction of a native Dutch speaker!

  16. dr John de Wipper says:

    Well, a true Schot will get it right at first or second try! “(and IF he has trouble, it will probably not be over “sch”, but over another one, “ng”)

  17. Someone says:

    I wonder if our heroes would be just as nostalgic for the days when people were sacrificed, butchered, raided, raped and enslaved by those who followed Ra, Odin, or other such pagan/polytheistic gods and belief systems.

    I suppose they would say no but make exceptions for where their faiths did the same.

  18. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I have to agree with Darwin about this strip; Author at his pithy best. I’ll defend Nassar’s rhyming of gays and says (and I’m not even Scottish) though in fairness I do hear ‘sez’ as much as ‘says’.
    Dr. John, something I rarely hear from native English speakers is the pronunciation of the aitch in words such as where, what, and why, produced by a light exhalation on the ‘w’ sound. Regarding the Scottish / Dutch ‘sch’, to my ears this tends to sound like ‘sh’; eg. a Shcottish shcandal, but isn’t limited to the ‘sc’ words. Think Shteve Maclaren shpeaking like thish after being in Holland for about 5 minutes, or S(h)ean Connery saying ‘The name’sh Bond, Jamesh Bond’.

  19. dr John de Wipper says:

    Find a Schotsman and let him judge your “ch” in “Loch Ness”. Only when you get that to his satisfaction, then start with “sch”. It is definitely nowhere near your “shj”. It is not even close to German “sch”.
    And when you pass the “ch” test, THEN start at the Dutch “g” sound. It is about the same as “ch”, but more back in the throat. To Dutch ears, “g” in languages like English, German, scandinavian or roman languages sounds more like our “k”, which is pretty much the same as that in “kind” in English.

    There IS a reason Dutch is considered one of the more difficult languages!

  20. How could I guess I would trigger such an interesting discussion of pronunciation.

    I have a pet peeve about my part of the word. The nearest big city is named Vancouver. That’s van couver. But more and more I hear radio announcers calling it vangcouver. As in vang couver. Apparently this is because the n is pronounced at the front of the mouth and the c is pronounced at the back. So lazy speakers put an ng in there to put the n closer to the c. I bring this up only because I am surprised that verbal gymnastics required to make sch or ch sounds seem strangely persistent in light of the laziness of most speakers. I’m surprised that these pronunciation habits survive. Maybe saying lock is actually harder than saying loch, as the Scots would do it.

  21. dr John de Wipper says:

    Ehh. Established by Dutch emigrants from the city of Coevorden. Originally named Van Coevorden (= from Coevorden). The rest is historic slip of spoken words….

  22. UncoBob says:

    Unfortunately, it seems like Trump’s USA is bringing the ‘good old days’ back. Just ask the ‘hosts’ seeking an abortion in Oklahoma.

  23. two cents' worth says:

    [I thought I had submitted this comment earlier, but it looks like I didn’t.]

    Acolyte of Sagan, in a conversation I once had with a group of friends, one of them teased me for how I pronounce white. He said it should be pronounced wite, and mimicked me, exaggerating the aspirated h and implying that I was being pretentious. Fortunately, my friend the linguist was in the group. She opined that I simply have a “conservative wh“.

    When I was a child, one of the first oddities of English orthography struck me when I was learning to read the sight words who, what, when, where, and why. Surely, I thought, they should begin with hw, not wh. And why, I wondered, do most of the people I know pronounce most of them as if they begin with w, while all of them (and I myself) pronounce who as if it begins with h? Many years later, another friend told me that he had learned that, in some French words, it’s OK to pronounce the h (even though most native French speakers don’t, if you pronounce it, you’ll still be understood), but it’s not OK to pronounce the h in some other French words. It seems that his experience with h in French was something like mine in having a conservative wh in English.

    Your point about the Scottish sh brought to mind the fun I had in Linguistics class in college, trying to pronounce the various phonemes. One of my favorites is the Welsh ll, which sounds kind of like hl. I live in an area that has many Welsh place names, so I have fun practicing my ll from time to time.

    Now that your comment has brought all this to my mind, I have the urge to phone my linguist friend and ask her about this.

    But, getting back on topic, I think that one of the things that happened to “freedom of religion” is that most societies became more democratic over time (so there are fewer supreme authorities, who tend to enforce the principle of cuius regio eius religio). Also, the amount of trade among various groups of people and the level of intermingling of different kinds of people in cities have gotten to the point where religious tolerance is necessary so the money keeps flowing and there is (relative) peace on the streets.

  24. HaggisForBrains says:

    AoS (and everyone else) – I have always pronounced “says” as “sez”, but have noticed a tendency in recent years to pronounce it “says”. I can’t really argue with that, since that is how it is spelled. Most Scots in my experience still pronounce the “h” that follows a “w” (but I think it is dying out under the influence of TV). For that reason I find it mildly annoying when people seem to think that Wales and whales are puns. It also leads to people thinking that the expression “to whet (ie sharpen) your appetite” is “to wet your appetite”!

    POTWA rant over.

  25. Michael says:

    Dr John,

    Vancouver, British Columbia is named after the British explorer George Vancouver. His 1791-95 expedition explored and charted the coasts of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

  26. dr John de Wipper says:

    I stand corrected.
    Wikipedia agrees with you.
    Funny; during the 2010 winter Olympics, the origin of the name as stemming from Coevorden settlers was repeated on Dutch TV annoyingly often.

    Perhaps a demonstration of patriotic lore once made up and then repeated without checking until firmly established

  27. Son of Glenner says:

    Michael + Dr John: If you dig a little deeper into Wikipedia, the fount of all knowledge (+ a lot of rubbish!), you will find that George Vancouver’s family name is thought to derive from “Van Coeverden” as described by Dr John, just a few centuries before Canada was discovered by Europeans (of course First Nation peoples discovered it much earlier!) and Vancouver by George Vancouver. So, in a way, you are both right.

  28. Son of Glenner says:

    Before I get chastised, I should of course have written “and Vancouver Island (discovered) by George Vancouver.

  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Dr John, we had our wires crossed over the ‘ch’. You were talking about the harsh sound similar to the German ‘ich’, or the Arabic as in ‘Achmed’ (spelled, according to Jeff Dunham’s dead terrorist puppet ‘a…c…phlegm…), and not disimilar to the sound made simultaneously with ‘l’ in Welsh ‘ll’ words as in two cents’ worth’s example.
    In a nutshell, they are all variations of a similar sound, possibly testament to a shared origin of the languages.

    Two cents’ worth, I always thought of the ‘w’ and the aspirated sound as being made together, rather than one before the other.

  30. dr John de Wipper says:

    Mostly agreed.
    German ch and welsh ll are pretty much similar to Dutch ch, and at least as the ch in Achmed, as it is promounced by Dutch Moroccans.
    The Dutch “g” I have no knowledge of in other languages.
    A vowel sound in Dutch is also interesting. “ui”. (all on its own it is the Dutch word for onion).
    It is the sound that in ancient Greek is transliterated as “eu”, as in Zeus or Euclidos etc. They DO sound weird, and mutually different, when spoken by German, French, English, and American speakers.
    I remember geing in California with a collegue with the sound in his name. All week we heard all kind of bastardisations of his name, until we enlisted for a small session. The guy taking our reservations said it correct the first time! So we got in a discussion about it. The guy immediately told us we had to be Dutch, because that was the only language that shared the sound with his Czech mother tongue.

  31. me not says:

    Dr John

    I think the Dutch g sounds like the Spanish g/j or Arabic kh (as in Khartoum)

    Spanish seems to be the only roman language that has that sound but lacks the sh sound.

    It is quite interesting how these things evolve, and even very close languages end up with such differences.

  32. dr John de Wipper says:

    me not:
    even very close languages end up with such differences.
    How true. Even for dialects of the same language. In NL, the dialects of Brabant and Limburg (southern provinces) are called “met de zachte g” ie, “with the soft g”.
    Spanish j is closer to g than ch, but not even half way so. Khartoum AFAIK is pronounced with about Dutch ch (I could be wrong there)

  33. me not says:

    Dr John

    Arabic pronunciation is quite varied depending on the dialect. Algerian pronunciation of the guttural kh and q is quite harsh, I would say even harsher than the Dutch g. However Arab speakers from the Arabian peninsula pronounce kh softer, while Sudanese pronounce q softer but kh still quite harsh. This is a personal observation from hearing people from those areas speak, I don’t speak Arabic myself.

    As a physicist I find those variations quite intriguing. What would the mechanism for such changes be?

  34. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oddly, there is one English regional dialect that has a sound similar to the Scottish ‘ch’ on the ‘k’ and hard ‘c’ sounds. A virtual prize of your choice for the first miscreant to identify it.

    Haggis mentioned the tv as being responsible for the loss of certain sounds in the Scottish dialects. I remember watching a programme a while ago that took the idea further by crediting the tv as the main cause of the general loss of regional accents across the UK as well as a creeping Americanisation of the English language. I wonder if the tv has also had an effect on religion, and if the internet has accelerated the general turning away from organised religion. This could answer Mo’s plaintive cry in the final panel.
    Us Meanderthals always get back to the subject at hand 🙂

  35. me not says:

    Acolyte, is that scouser?

  36. Welshman says:

    The Welsh have the “ll”, which is like an L that you just blow through – your tongue is in an L position.
    We also have a “ch”, which is a blown-through C and sounds like the German (or phlegm) one.

  37. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    me not, go to the top of the class and have the virtual prize of your choice.
    For those not familiar with scouser, it’s a native of Liverpool.

    Welshman, is it true that in the Welsh language an ironing board is the very literal-sounding boardio smoothio?

  38. dr John de Wipper says:

    I have seen and heard John Parrot often in BBC interviews.
    His English is (to me and my relatives) quite hard to follow. We also have been convinced he is a Liverpudlian, speaking the local dialect.
    Maybe they have different dialects, maybe he goes out of his way trying at the queens English, but I certainly never ever trapped him using a proper “g” sound.

  39. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Dr John, it’s the hard ‘c’ sounds, such as ‘can of coca cola’ where it becomes apparent. John Parrot’s accent isn’t very strong, so if you find him hard to understand then a proper scouse accent will in all likelyhood be unintelligible to you.

  40. me not says:

    Dave Lister in Red Dwarf is also a good example of scouser accent, though toned down, for intelligibility s sake.

    More on topic. It really gets me the orwellian use of “freedom of religion” when what they really mean is freedom to force religion on everyone else.

  41. oldebabe says:

    Ah, finally, more on topic, yes. Isn’t `freedom of/from religion’ still the topic here? as per the cartoon provided? or is it a forum for some smarties to talk about anything they might wish – how one may or not PRONOUNCE things? for pete’s sake, guys…

  42. Son of Glenner says:

    oldebabe: Would that be SAINT Pete?

  43. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oldebabe, think of the comments section here as believing in freedom from strictly staying on topic 🙂

  44. dr John de Wipper says:

    me not:
    what they really mean is freedom to force religion on everyone else.
    More exact: freedom to force THEIR OWN religion on everyone else.

  45. HaggisForBrains says:

    oldbabe, The Cock and Bull is a virtual pub, and as in any good pub, the conversation flows freely back and forth, on and off topic, as AoS has neatly put it. It’s not the school debating society. Check the Author’s “NOTE”. Relax and enjoy.

  46. martin_z says:

    Just a little comment about “what” – I always pronounced it as wot when I was very young, as did everyone else. Then I heard Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music” singing “I have confidence” – and clearly singing, at the beginning of the song “hwot will this day be like…hwot will my future bring…hwot’s the matter with me?” A light went on – I suddenly understood why the “h” was there, and how it should be pronounced.

    But then, she does enunciate beautifully!

  47. jb says:

    The historian David Hacked Fischer wrote a very influential book, Albion’s Seed, on the origin of American folkways. Here is a brief excerpt where he talks about the Puritan idea of religious freedom:

    New England Puritans also used the word “liberty” in a third meaning, which became urgently important to the founders of Massachusetts. This was the idea of “soul liberty,” or “Christian liberty,” an idea of high complexity. Soul liberty was freedom to serve God in the world. It was freedom to order one’s own acts in a godly way—but not in any other. It made Christian freedom into a form of obligation.

    The founding generation in Massachusetts often wrote of “soul liberty,” “Christian liberty” or “liberty of conscience.” Many moved to the New World primarily in hopes of attaining it. What they meant was not a world of religious freedom in the modern sense, or even of religious toleration, but rather of freedom for the true faith. In their minds, this idea of religious liberty was thought to be consistent with the persecution of Quakers, Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans and indeed virtually everyone except those within a very narrow spectrum of Calvinist orthodoxy. Soul liberty also was thought to be consistent with compulsory church attendance and rigorous Sabbath laws. Even the Indians were compelled to keep the Puritan Sabbath in Massachusetts. To the founders of that colony, soul freedom meant that they were free to persecute others in their own way.

  48. Smee says:

    What’s ironic is that Trump may be a nutcase but everyone who voted against him supports those who hold the same views as Jesus and Mo!; And no I don’t understand their thinking either?

  49. Son of Glenner says:

    Smee: surely it is those who voted FOR Trump that hold the same views as J & M?

  50. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Son of Glenner, you haven’t met Smee before, I take it?

  51. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Anybody else see Trump’s arrival in Florida for his ‘I need to be adored’ rally? If so, did his choice of music accompanying his exit from Air Force One seem a little…….odd?
    First, as the aide opened the door the band struck up Ride of the Valkries; Wagner, for fuck’s sake!
    Then, once the steps were in place, the Orange One emerged and began his descent to a choir singing Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Coming Of The Lord! I shit you not. On top of having Melania direct her recital of The Lords Prayer in his fucking direction a couple of days ago, methinks his megalomania is running wild.
    For the first time, I feel Mo’s regret in frame one.

  52. HaggisForBrains says:

    AoS – I just watched this video of Air Force One arriving, and can’t hear the music you heard. Were you perhaps watching a spoof site?

  53. Acolyte of Sagan says:
    The music is at approx 29mins and 34mins.

    This is Poe’s law in action. When a person is as ridiculous as Trump, it becomes almost impossible to tell what is real and what is spoof.

  54. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    To add to my last post, a little digging suggests that the video I linked to was a live-stream produced by the Trump election campaign*, so the music wasn’t being played on the tarmac, as it were, but was rather an added soundtrack as part of a professionally (sic) produced piece of Trump propaganda.

    *These Trump rallies, rather than being honestly labelled as one man’s desperate need for adulation, are instead billed as part of Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
    Totally unpresidented**, as the orange one would say.

    **yes, fellow pedants, I did mean to spell it that way.

  55. Son of Glenner says:

    AoS: Well, at least the music is good. Well, the Wagner anyway! Can anyone see him running for re-election in just under 4 years time? Personally I reckon he will be impeached, assassinated or die a natural death, probably heart attack, before then.

  56. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I can’t remember who, but somebody once said of Wagner’s music that it was ‘better than it sounded’.

  57. HaggisForBrains says:

    Thanks AoS for the link. That video is indeed posted by “President Donald Trump Live Supporters TV”. You can’t make this stuff up! Definitely Poe’s Law in action.

  58. JoJo says:

    2 Cents – refer them to Peter Cushing’s Tarkin: “You may fire wHen ready…”

  59. Walter says:

    Michael says:
    February 15, 2017 at 9:09 pm
    Ah well, nostalgia isn’t like it used to be.
    And it never was.

  60. Michael says:
    February 15, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Ah well, nostalgia isn’t like it used to be.
    And it never was.


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