Note to recruiters

Note to recruiters: We are quite aware that recruiters, interviewers, VCs and other professionals generally perform a Google Search before they interview someone, take a pitch from someone, et cetera. Please keep in mind that not everything put on the Internet must align directly to one's future career and/or one's future product portfolio. Sometimes, people do put things on the Internet just because. Just because. It may be out of their personal interests, which may have nothing to do with their professional interests. Or it may be for some other reason. Recruiters seem to have this wrong-headed notion that if somebody is not signalling their interests in a certain area online, then that means that they are not interested in that area at all. It is worth pointing out that economics pretty much underlies the areas of marketing, strategy, operations and finance. And this blog is about economics. With metta, let us. by all means, be reflective about this whole business of business. Also, see our post on "The Multi-faceted Identity Problem".

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Serendreduplication and serendhomophony

First a note on the terms 'serendreduplication' and 'seredreduplicates'. A Google search for pseudoreduplication returns no less than 44 hits, out of which at least two ( 12 ) point to academic papers in linguistics. So I have decided to avoid the term 'pseudoreduplication' since that term is already being used in linguistics.

Footnote 2 in the paper by Avram has this to say about pseudo-reduplication. 'Also called “quasi-reduplicated forms” (Bakker 2003: 40), “phonological reduplicated base form” (Miller 2003: 290), “fixed forms” or “fossilized forms” (Wellens 2003: 226). The comparative Austronesian dictionary says this about 'Quasi-reduplicates' : "Quasi-reduplicates" are those words that lack the corresponding unreduplicated forms e.g. didi 'pig, swine', nisnis 'beard'. It seems that the original unreduplicated form may have been lost within the language leaving just the reduplicated form as a sort of fossil. Note that this is not at all what serendreduplication is. It is, well, something completely different.

Now, serendreduplication may be used to motivate the idea that many things in languages may have arisen purely out of chance. I can think of so many things like that. For instance, the (Chinese) name Yao (as in Dennis Yao) is the slang word in Tamil for 'sir' or 'man' (and comes from the word 'ayya'). Pure chance that it is the case. (Think of what it would be like if a guy walked up to a Tamil speaker and told him his name is "Yao Yennaya"). And there is also the more unfortunate case involving the firm "Lund International'. The name of the firm has a somewhat funny meaning in Hindi.

But the point is that this sort of serendipity arises. And this sort of serendipity is, in fact, exactly what Buffalax of misheard lyrics fame exploits all the time. So what should we call the pairs of words and phrases that sound the same in the 'misheard lyrics'? I say let us call them 'serendhomophones'. They are words or phrases that similar to each other but it is pure serendipity that it is so. Note that the correspondence is not exact. It is just "close enough". And so, that leaves us with the minor matter of naming the phenomenon. And that is simple. This phenomenon we shall call 'serendhomophony'/'pseudohomophony'.

Update: Another example of 'pseudoreduplication' would be the word 'metametals', a word that I just coined to describe elements which occur next to metals in the Periodic Table. Of course, many metals are also metametals.

The term 'metametals' could also be used to describe artificial 'metals' engineered to have certain types of properties, that is, a metamaterial that is a metal. The word 'metametal' is a good example of 'serendreduplication', and is probably a better example of 'serendreduplication'/'pseudoreduplication' than 'metamathematics'.                          

Second Update: Googling for 'metametals' returns plenty of hits.

Final Update: Here is a 'misheard lyrics' version of someone doing "Gangnam style". It is one funny video. But if you are a speaker of an Indian language as well as English, I absolutely insist that you watch it. That will give you an idea of what is going on in the brains of non-Tamil speakers when they hear the "Benny Lava" song. There is a remarkable correspondence between the lyrics for this version of the song and what you hear in your head if you are an English speaker who doesn't speak Korean. It is exactly the same thing that is going on with the "Benny Lava" song as well. Words that may not seem like homophones to you may, in fact, be homophones inside the brains of English speakers who don't speak Tamil.