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International Paroxysmal Alphabet

Notation for laughter, sneezing et caetera
  [vote for,

The other day i heard John Cleese laugh and was taken by the fact that unlike many of the other sounds i've indirectly heard him make, i would be unable to transcribe them accurately. The same applies to many of the other sounds we make, particularly paroxysmal ones. When was the last time you read a precisely delineated textual version of an orgasmic outburst?

In the case of language, it's relatively trivial to define phonemes via point and mode of articulation, or by the changes between such points and modes. Intonation can also be represented to some degree. This is sometimes also true of laughter, coughing, and cries of pain and grief, but often not.

Therefore, i propose an International Paroxysmal Alphabet for the rest of the sounds we make: laughter, eructations from various orifices, coughing (which is an exaggerated glottal stop), vomiting, clapping and so forth, with sufficient subtlety to give us some idea of the noises we all make without actually hearing them. It could even be useful. For example, a bovine cough has diagnostic value and i suspect my farts sound different because my sigmoid is a different shape than most people's.

So, an entirely separate and probably much longer alphabet for phlegmy coughs, borborygmi, ululation and retching.

nineteenthly, Jan 16 2013


       This is fairly complicated, can you spell it out for me?
Brian the Painter, Jan 16 2013

       I choose to imagine that nineteenthly's sigmoid is shaped like nineteenthly, rendering him and his sigmoid together a one-stage colonic matryoshka.   

       Excellent idea, by the way.
calum, Jan 16 2013

       Perhaps we just need more punctuation types. Or perhaps punctuation should merge with html tags in some fashion. They could then create the perfect sneeze emoticon.
RayfordSteele, Jan 16 2013

       [+] uh huh!
xandram, Jan 16 2013

       //glottal stop// I've always wondered what a glottal start would sound like.
zen_tom, Jan 16 2013

pocmloc, Jan 16 2013

       [+] speech 'emoticons'.
FlyingToaster, Jan 16 2013

       //I've always wondered what a glottal start would sound like.// It's an East-Londoner's pronunciation of the "tt" in "bottle".   

       The closest I can get to an explanation is to say the "bo" part of "bottle", stopping abruptly. Then say the "le" bit (which is pronounced close to "ull"). In between the two, the sound is stopped in your throat; so the "ull" is almost a throat-clearing sound. Hence the term glottal stop.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 16 2013

       Isn't this just Dutch ?
8th of 7, Jan 16 2013

       [MB] you've successfully described what a glo'al stop is, but I was wondering what a glottal *start* might sound like.
zen_tom, Jan 16 2013

       Ah - yes - always read the question. Always read the question.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 16 2013

       I was quite disappointed to learn, as a teenager, that the sounds described in children's books, using terms such as "Tsk, tsk" (soft noise made by pressing the tongue against the upper front the and withdrawing it quickly) didn't sound anything like the way I'd seen them written.   

       Your idea may take some time to catch on [19thly] but it certainly has merit.
UnaBubba, Jan 16 2013

       The "Tsk" in "Tsk, Tsk" already has an accepted IPA symbol. It's |, the pipe symbol on your keyboard next to the slash. In typefaces where they may be confused, ʇ is used instead.
Hive_Mind, Jan 16 2013

       A glottal start would be an /h/.
nineteenthly, Jan 17 2013

       I used to work with someone who read the Tin Tin books in French rather than English and was much struck by the French's inaccurate rendering of Snowy's frequent 'Woof! Woof!' as 'Wooya! Wooya!'. So, clearly, there is a requirement for standardised exclamations (in France, at least, if nowhere else).

nineteenthly, having foolishly taken an interest in the subject, is the person that I volunteer to take things forward. Submit a full report to the committee by the end of the month please, 'teenthly.
DrBob, Jan 17 2013

       OK, i can make that happen.
nineteenthly, Jan 17 2013


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