1. By email, Colm O’Brien asks:
Where I used to say things like
“I think this is a good video: http://youtu.be/BhsTmiK7Q2M”
in IM conversations/on Twitter/etc, I’m now finding myself more likely to phrase it as
“I think http://youtu.be/BhsTmiK7Q2M is a good video.”
Is there a name for this kind of substitution — for using a link as a noun? I think it’s interesting because it can’t really be read out loud (especially for longer, more elaborate urls), and also because (unless I’m overlooking something) it only really works with yer moderd’n shtyle of electronic communication. I’m sure there’s probably some kind of older equivalent, mind, just not one I can think of. I’d be interested to hear what you think.
The question interests me, but alas, I didn’t have much of an answer for Colm. I said it was a kind of embedded direct referral, but that this was just me throwing words together and was not a technical term.
When we include a web link in online text, we can embed it in different ways and to varying degrees. For example:
A. I think this is a good video: http://youtu.be/BhsTmiK7Q2M
B. I think this http://youtu.be/BhsTmiK7Q2M is a good video
C. I think http://youtu.be/BhsTmiK7Q2M is a good video
D. I think this is a good video
Obviously D is what’s commonly known as hyperlinking. C is the construction Colm was wondering about. If anyone can suggest (or invent) terms for the practice, or describe what’s going on grammatically, I’d love to hear it.
2. An artist friend, Annie Silverman, regularly visits Ireland and Denmark, and spent a few years living in the latter country. She asks:
Do you know if there is a name for that small intake of breath that I have noticed some Irish people make and also Danish people make when they are listening and agree and want you to continue talking? At first it sounds like the person is surprised, but it is an affirmation that might be called a “completion probe” like a nod or “ah ha”.
I think I know what she’s referring to, but it’s not something I can remember hearing in a while. It sounds like something I’d call a prompt rather than a probe (and I would transcribe her “ah ha” as “uh-huh”).
On a Language Hat post about click consonants, AJP Crown made the following comment about the same or a similar phenomenon:
I wonder if it [the click] falls in the same linguistic category as the short loud intake of breath that some German & Scandinavian women (but hardly ever men) use, sometimes habitually, instead of saying “yes”.
Your thoughts on either matter would be much appreciated.
Update: Computational linguist Robert Eklund has a useful website about ingressive phonation and has described pulmonic ingressive speech as a ‘neglected universal’ (PDF).