Phonology and celebritology

 Anyone interested in syllable contact and metathesis should take note of the current news reports about Britney Spears. Her manager, whose real name is apparently Sam Lutfi, is frequently called Sam Lufti by reporters.

Currently, “Sam¬† Lutfi” gets 76,700 Google hits, while “Sam Lufti” gets 60,000.

6 thoughts on “Phonology and celebritology

  1. Travis Bradley

    What a coincidence! Just this afternoon a colleague and I were trying to recall the name of somebody we met at a conference a few years ago. I believe my colleague said Lofti, while I suggested Lotfi (the person’s first name is actually Lotfi). Taken together with the last name, the phrase with Lotfi gets 677 ghits vs. only 24 ghits with Lofti. It’s obviously not quite as close as the Sam Lutfi vs. Sam Lufti example, but it sure brings metathesis to mind (assuming it’s not just a matter of typos).

  2. Darin Flynn

    Fun; only on the web, eh? “I saw some pertty foilage when drivin to the groshry store this am; btw, I’m makin chipolte chicken and choclate cake tonight, if you’re intrested; btw 2, I LOVE my new chruck –it’s SO comfterble!”

    I’m still on the fence about whether metathesis belongs in the phonological component. Have any of you recently read/written about a metathesis which you believe might not be better accounted for by a morphologist, historical linguist, phonetician, psycholinguist, sociolinguist, etc.? (There are so many explanations, as Bridget’s comment reminds us.)

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  4. Corey Bramblett

    I definitely think this is a keyboard error more than a speech error. the combination / tf / is so uncommon in English, it seems unlikely that anyone would make that error phonologically, especially since the speed of normal conversation would probably trigger a glottal stop in place of the t, which would create a pretty noticeable break in the rhythm of the word.
    My guess would be that the prevalence of “Lotfi” on the Web is almost 100 pecrent due to teh fast tpying misatkes (sic :)

  5. Corey Bramblett

    Whoops, I realize I just reversed my argument.. I didn’t realize his name was actually “Lutfi”! Now it makes more sense… whew

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