PDA

View Full Version : Serious "Roadrunner" Question



Buttercup
2010-Jan-30, 01:53 PM
Please help me end this tremendously important debate of vast cosmological significance. :p Yes, the ultimate fate of the entire human race is intricately bound up in this question:

The Looney Tunes Roadrunner character. Does he say "Beep-Beep" or "Meep-Meep"?

I hear an "M" every time: Meep-Meep!

You?

Argos
2010-Jan-30, 02:15 PM
Yeah, that sounds like an 'm' to me.

Jeff Root
2010-Jan-30, 02:35 PM
It is spelled with a "B". However, it is pronounced as an "M". That is how I
have always pronounced it. So when he beeps, he says "meep-meep".

I do a very good cat meow. I've fooled cats with it. I say "nyow".

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

orionjim
2010-Jan-30, 03:12 PM
Itís meep, meep. I think it has something to do with the Doppler Effect. Either that or the Roadrunner has a speech impediment.

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Jan-30, 03:36 PM
The roadrunner is trying to speak Greek. In modern Greek, the "b" sound (voiced bilabial plosive) is represented by the "μπ" (mu-pi) diphthong , but roadrunner has a little trouble understanding this and his "μπηπ" comes off sounding more like "μηπ."

Not buying this? Okay, both "b" and "m" are voiced bilabial consonants, with the only difference is that "b" is a plosive, and "m" is nasal. I suppose if you try to draw out a "b" sound it sounds more like an "m."

Did you ever notice that word "diphthong" has three diphthongs in it? I wonder if they did that on purpose?

Nick

Buttercup
2010-Jan-30, 03:46 PM
The roadrunner is trying to speak Greek.

:confused: How does he figure he can do that, being a native to the Desert Southwest?


In modern Greek, the "b" sound (voiced bilabial plosive) is represented by the "μπ" (mu-pi) diphthong , but roadrunner has a little trouble understanding this and his "μπηπ" comes off sounding more like "μηπ."

Not buying this?

I believe it. :)

I took "Introduction to Greek" in college. But what you're pointing out never occurred to me. :doh:


Okay, both "b" and "m" are voiced bilabial consonants, with the only difference is that "b" is a plosive, and "m" is nasal. I suppose if you try to draw out a "b" sound it sounds more like an "m."

...so this is why Acme products seem defective? Or only blow up on the Coyote?


Did you ever notice that word "diphthong" has three diphthongs in it? I wonder if they did that on purpose?

Nick

They probably did, the rascals. :rolleyes:

Thank you for that explanation. :)

AndreasJ
2010-Jan-30, 04:49 PM
Did you ever notice that word "diphthong" has three diphthongs in it? I wonder if they did that on purpose?

Those are digraphs, not diphthongs. :p

Tucson_Tim
2010-Jan-30, 04:56 PM
:confused: How does he figure he can do that, being a native to the Desert Southwest?


I know you're just talking about the cartoon, which I've always enjoyed, but having several mated pairs of roadrunners living on my property, I hear their actual calls often. FYI, you can have a listen here (scroll down a bit and you can hear its call):

http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/306/overview/Greater_Roadrunner.aspx

I hear the three different calls quite often. They are beautiful birds but it pains me when they hang around the bird feeders and pick off little birds. Oh well, Mother Nature is a cruel mistress.

(ETA) Another fact: A coyote could catch a roadrunner, if the roadrunner couldn't fly. Maybe not easily due to the cactus-filled desert terrain here. A coyote can reach speeds of ~43 MPH (listed as the 9th fastest land animal) where the roadrunner can only do ~15 MPH. For comparison, a human can reach a speed of ~27 MPH but only for a few seconds.

Swift
2010-Jan-30, 08:04 PM
Nice link TT. I thought this was interesting:

A group of roadrunners are collectively known as a "marathon" and a "race" of roadrunners.

Tucson_Tim
2010-Jan-30, 08:06 PM
Nice link TT. I thought this was interesting:

Yeah, birders have many unusual names for what you and I would just call a "flock" of birds, depending on the species. I love some of them - the language is very rich.

Gillianren
2010-Jan-30, 09:19 PM
They are collective nouns, and they're not just for the birds. Though my favourites are--a parliament of owls and a murder of crows.

BigDon
2010-Jan-30, 09:48 PM
Hey Gillian! I tried to send new ones to the Webster's people.

A giggle of girls.

A sleeze of pornograghers.

A mince of interior decorators.

There were others. They said if I did it again there would be legal action.


Hey Nick, Andreas! You mean diphthong isn't another name for a banana hammock?

Jens
2010-Feb-01, 05:03 AM
It's a very interesting question, and incidentally a study was done in the Journal of Ornithology, but I can't find it online anymore.

I'll summarize it from memory. The problem is, "beep" starts with a bilabial sound, and since birds don't have even a single lip, let along two, that's impossible. And also unfortunately, the "meep" is a nasal, and since birds cannot direct breath into their noses (wherever they are), it can't be that either. So I'm afraid you're out of luck on this one.

OTOH, to me it always sounded like "meep" too.

BigDon
2010-Feb-01, 05:07 AM
It's a very interesting question, and incidentally a study was done in the Journal of Ornithology, but I can't find it online anymore.

I'll summarize it from memory. The problem is, "beep" starts with a bilabial sound, and since birds don't have even a single lip, let along two, that's impossible. And also unfortunately, the "meep" is a nasal, and since birds cannot direct breath into their noses (wherever they are), it can't be that either. So I'm afraid you're out of luck on this one.

OTOH, to me it always sounded like "meep" too.

I know a phenominal african grey parrot named Foo Bird. She dosn't seem to have a problem with either b's or m's. Or running water, cell phone ringers, pagers, the theme from Cops...

Jens
2010-Feb-01, 05:32 AM
I know a phenomenal African grey parrot named Foo Bird. She doesn't seem to have a problem with either b's or m's. Or running water, cell phone ringers, pagers, the theme from Cops...

Sure. Actually I was just giving a humorous reply to what I think was a humorous question. You're right that a parrot can make those sounds, just like a CD player can. You don't really need the human voice equipment to be able to imitate sounds like that.

SolusLupus
2010-Feb-01, 06:00 AM
"meep meep". I don't care what anyone else says.

Gillianren
2010-Feb-01, 08:54 AM
What about Chuck Jones? He said "beep beep."

Jeff Root
2010-Feb-01, 03:10 PM
That's what I suspected. Voice-overs. Hmph.

-- Jeff, in MeeMeepolis

Gillianren
2010-Feb-02, 01:07 AM
That's what I suspected. Voice-overs. Hmph.

If Mel Blanc wrote an autobiography, I haven't read it, so I don't know his opinion on the subject. I do know they aren't dubbed for release in other languages, because really?

Buttercup
2010-Feb-02, 07:32 PM
"meep meep". I don't care what anyone else says.

:lol: I like that response!

Every time I see a roadrunner around here (not often anymore due to expanding housing), I meep! meep! at it. :p I've even gotten my crusty ruffian of a husband to do that too, lol!

Lianachan
2010-Feb-03, 12:17 PM
They are collective nouns, and they're not just for the birds. Though my favourites are--a parliament of owls and a murder of crows.

A drove of golfers? An aggregate of civil engineers?