[Milton-L] lapsarian sex, fallacious, milton's verbal skill (and blake's fruit)

JCarl Bellinger dionhalic at gmail.com
Thu Apr 17 09:01:57 EDT 2014

Is "she et" a pun (said as one syllable)? If so, it would be neither pre-
nor post- lapsarian but right on the limb! :-) ... And, yet another
solution to the apple banana fruit puzzle. What did she et? She et she et!
On Apr 15, 2014 7:41 PM, "Gregory Machacek" <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu>

> On different sides of the fallacious/fellatio debate:
> John Savoie describes Milton as "a proven punster of extraordinary verbal
> density and poetic dexterity."
> Carol Barton describes him as "a master craftsman with respect to the use
> of language"
> But do we think Milton was so masterful that his verbal skill could
> manifest itself in the way I am about to describe?
> Linguists have a concept called coarticulation, by which they describe the
> way that our pronunciation of a given sound can be influenced by the sounds
> around it.  This can happen within a word (the t in eighth is more dental
> than the t in eight) or within a phrase (the v in "have" becomes more of an
> f in the phrase "have to").
> The first vowel sounds in fallacious and fellatio are slightly different, ǝ
> versus ε.  But I would submit that the word "that" in the phrase "that
> fallacious" prompts a pronunciation of the first vowel sound in
> "fallacious" as a sound more like the ε in "fellatio."  Try saying
> "fallacious" all by itself, then notice how you place the first vowel sound
> differently in your mouth when you say "that fallacious."
>  Fallacious/fellatio has struck some readers in this thread as an
> improbable pun.  But does the word "that" nudge the vowel sound in
> "fallacious" in the direction of "fellatio"?
> Please remember that my real question is not about this particular
> possible pun, but about whether we think Milton would have been a
> sufficiently cunning linguist (couldn't resist) to have discovered and
> employed this property of language articulation, here or elsewhere?
> So I'm not asking whether you think there's a pun here.  I'm just asking
> *how* poetically dexterous, *how* linguistically masterful we think
> Milton was.  Enough to do something *like* this, even if not this?  And
> do the readers on this list have examples of how, in context, the
> pronunciation of words is distorted by their neighbors--to significant
> effect?  (I tend to drop h in "he" in "oozy locks he laves" and I've always
> thought  the resulting oozy-loxies seem extra oozy as a result.)
> On Blake and his fruit:  he'd obviously read Milton properly, realized
> that the fruit on the forbidden tree was no known genus, but *genus
> incognitus interdictus* and depicted no-known-fruit, but just what the
> text tells us:  something ruddy and gold and downy (and forbidden).
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
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