The Phonetic Clarity Defect in the Drinker’s Speech
The language of cocktails and shooters
By Dr. I.R. Superordinate, Chair of Recently Recovered Research, Department of Futile Linguistics, University of Jealleybeane, Hluhluwe, Republic of South Africa
Research into the field of phonetic clarity has been scant in the history of Linguistics, the infamous linguists1 who practice in this field usually having their field notes (handwritten on various napkins, pieces of paper, etc.) destroyed by housekeepers, university cleaning staff, jealous academics and, of course, bartenders.2 It is therefore my privilege to bring my own research in this field to life in this paper.
It has been noticed that the speech of those partaking in drink containing alcohol has been affected by said fluids,3 causing them to say things that a) don’t make any sense; b) they will regret later; c) make no sense; and d) make them sound as if they have left their teeth in a glass on the bedside table (not applicable to those who have, in fact, left their teeth in said glass or have lost most of them in bar fights). Others partaking in this kind of socializing have also been known to become more and more creative in not only mixing cocktails or shooters, but also in naming them.
After much research in a local bar,4 I have come to the conclusions that there are four5 stages in social/asocial drinking where phonetic clarity changes. These are as follows:
- Stage 1: Cocktails or shooters with the longest or most difficult to pronounce names will be chosen first. Lewd jokes may be made at this time by pointing and laughing at the rude names of some of the drinks or at some of the drunken and/or misspelled carvings on the bar table.
- Stage 2: After all the rounds in (1) have been consumed, the rudest names on the menu will follow (these may also be perceived as lewd comments to waiters and the research subject may at this time be thrown out of said bar or get involved in a bar fight).
- Stage 3: If the subject remains until the third stage, the drinks with the easiest names to pronounce will be ordered. Drinks in this stage may also include those named after places you have visited, wish to visit in the future, have heard of, have visited and found to be hell on earth,6 or have visited but can’t remember much of as you spent most of your time there in jail for public displays of drunkenness.
- Stage 4: An offshoot of (3). After some intoxication has taken place, random mumblings to waiters may be perceived as orders for more drink. The drunker the subject, the more likely the subject will drink whatever is placed in front of him or her (even copious amounts of locally distilled beverages), exacerbating the situation.
The drinks usually found in each stage are as follows:7
- Drinks with the longest or most difficult names to pronounce.
- Long Island Ice Tea
- Fish House Punch—(may also feature in Stage 4)
- Planter’s Punch
- State Island Ferry
- Harvey Wallbanger
- Kensington Court Special
- Salmiakki Koskenkorva
- Negroni—(May also feature in Stage 2 [mispronounced] ending the drinker’s night at the bar)
- Drinks with rude names on the menu follow:
- Anything containing words related to sex or anatomy.
- Anything containing the adjectives slippery, fuzzy or hairy or the nouns beach or orgasm.
- Anything containing a word that makes you chuckle after a few drinks.
- May include easily mispronounced names (not only while under the influence), like Negroni (see 1).
- Depending on the number of drinks in (1), this category may also include names like Zombie, Panama... really anything.
- Drinks with easy names or place names:
- Place names:
- Singapore Sling (may also feature in 4)
- Soweto Toilet8
- Easy to pronounce
- Fishbowl (also see 4)
- Random mumblings perceived to be drink orders (with the usual pronunciation in parentheses):
- Most drinks starting with ‘s’ or containing more than one ‘s’.
- Fishbowl (Fishshshbil)—true meaning: “I’m finished and want to go home, where’s the bill?”
- Mai Tai (My ta)—true meaning: “My turn” or “my turn to pay” (usually during a drinking game, on payday, or after your friends or drinking buddies have told you that you have won the lottery).
- Cape Cod (Cae—uh, Co...)—true meaning: “Coffee please”.
- Douglas (Dagla)—true meaning: “Damn glass!”
- Beer (Bee’ha)—true meaning: “Please bring me a beer, I need to sober up,” or “Beer.”9
The relationship between drinking stages and phonetic clarity may be shown as follows: if we
let the x-axis be the drinking stage and the y-axis be the phonetic obscurity (with lower scores denoting better clarity), the graph will be as in Figure 1.
Please note the sharp rise during Stage 4 of consumption, where the phonetic clarity suffers greatly from the increase in number of ordered cocktails and/or beers.
When going out for cocktails, do not try to impress your friends by ordering the cocktail with the longest or most difficult name, as this will only lead you to order names with rude drinks, stupid things with the name toilet in the word, and beer. Although beer is always good. Just drink beer and don’t mix your drinks. What was I arguing about? O, stay phonetically coherent as long as pos—posh—you can. And don’t read and drive. Or drink and drive. Act like a student and stay out all night. Drinking. Fishshbil?
1 For instance my esteemed colleagues, Prof Terry Firma and Dr. H.R. Horibilous.
2 Also known as The Custodians of Knowledge Procured After 3 a.m.
3 Horibilous, HR. 2000. Posthumous Papers in the Field of Phonetic Clarity—The Speech of the Average College Student After Midnight. Jealleybeane University Press.
4 Which will remain anonymous.4.1
4.1 Unless you pay me $500, in which case I will gladly reveal the name.4.1.1
4.1.1 Who am I kidding? I will do it for $22.214.171.124.1
126.96.36.199 I will even take you there if you only take the tab.
5 Stage 5 is blackout, whereafter speech stops.5.1
6 Which of course means that the drink has to be good. Right?
7 Names have not been given in any specific order. All drinks in a stage may not have to be consumed before the next stage can commence.
8 A speciality in Johannesburg, South Africa.8.1
8.1 At least not called a Karoo Longdrop.8.1.1
8.1.1 Not that I have anything against the Karoo.188.8.131.52
184.108.40.206 Just longdrops.
9 Beer may also be asked for during Stages 1, 2 and 3.9.1
9.1 Which does not mean that you will not reach Stage 2, 3 and 4.