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Vocal quintets (blog post 2/21/07)

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voyelles

Postby kencar » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:17 pm

I knew a guy in university whose last name was "Alexiou"

One time, I pointed out to him that his surname used all five vowels, only once each, and in correct order to boot! He just looked at me and said "So?" and walked away.

(And that's all five vowels in a seven-letter word. Anything shorter than that?)
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Postby Ken Jennings » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:55 pm

Sequoia is the shortest common one, but they're not in order. There's a shorter (and iffier) word, but I can't remember it offhand. "Euonia" or something similar.
Last edited by Ken Jennings on Wed Feb 21, 2007 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jangler » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:41 pm

I thought the song would be Born in the U.S.A. *shrug*
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Postby TheConfessor » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:58 pm

Jangler wrote:I thought the song would be Born in the U.S.A. *shrug*


That song reached only #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. A closer miss was R.O.C.K. In The USA, which reached #2.
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Postby theoneandonlyjim » Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:46 am

For the full country name, Slovak Republicworks too.
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Postby econgator » Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:08 am

theoneandonlyjim wrote:For the full country name, Slovak Republicworks too.


Very good!
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Postby themanwho » Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:10 pm

No one has mentioned Austin Powers yet.

Merl Reagle did a crossword puzzle with this as a theme about 7 years ago. I wish I still had it. There were some very clever examples.

"Word Freak" also gives Hair Club for Men and the alternate spelling Belorussia. According to the book, Scrabble player Eric Chaikin coined the word "supervocalic" for this type of thing. I rather like vocal quintet, myself.

-M
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Postby themanwho » Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:22 pm

Once you've got the word "supervocalic", Google brings up some good stuff, including some articles Eric wrote for Word Ways. The best discovery, in my opinion, is that "the 1979 Tony award winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Musical" both fit the category. Can anyone figure them out/remember them?

-M
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Postby bwouns » Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:49 pm

Patti Lupone for Evita, but wasn't that 1980?

Edited:


1979 was the year of Sweeney Todd in which Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury won. Cariou fits but Lansbury does not. Since Patti Lupone does fit, is only one year off, once played the same role in a revival of Sweeney Todd and also starred as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes (both on broadway), I think we can allow it.
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Postby themanwho » Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:01 pm

Well, I guess you can't trust everything you read on the internet. My apologies, but good job working it out anyhow.

-M
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Postby Ken Jennings » Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:55 pm

After I posted yesterday, I finally remembered the word "supervocalic" and Googled up supervocalic expert Susan Thorpe. Apparently she's made it her life's work to find a famous person for every possible ordering of AEIOU (Bela Lugosi for EAUOI, Count Basie for OUAIE, etc.) That's awesome.
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Postby rkd » Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:09 pm

Ken Jennings wrote:After I posted yesterday, I finally remembered the word "supervocalic" and Googled up supervocalic expert Susan Thorpe. Apparently she's made it her life's work to find a famous person for every possible ordering of AEIOU (Bela Lugosi for EAUOI, Count Basie for OUAIE, etc.) That's awesome.


Is there some simple way to automate such a search? There are only 120 arrangements of the 5 vowels, so if one could write a program that could process some giant name index to find (say) EAUOI, one could probably finish the project in far less than a lifetime. I've never done much programming with strings (or programming without strings, for that matter), but I'd imagine the algorithm wouldn't be too complicated.

--Raj Dhuwalia (lacking an "e" and an "o" -- sorry)
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Postby polarea » Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:05 am

rkd wrote:
Ken Jennings wrote:After I posted yesterday, I finally remembered the word "supervocalic" and Googled up supervocalic expert Susan Thorpe. Apparently she's made it her life's work to find a famous person for every possible ordering of AEIOU (Bela Lugosi for EAUOI, Count Basie for OUAIE, etc.) That's awesome.


Is there some simple way to automate such a search? There are only 120 arrangements of the 5 vowels, so if one could write a program that could process some giant name index to find (say) EAUOI, one could probably finish the project in far less than a lifetime. I've never done much programming with strings (or programming without strings, for that matter), but I'd imagine the algorithm wouldn't be too complicated.

--Raj Dhuwalia (lacking an "e" and an "o" -- sorry)


We need to get whoever it was who used PERL to find all of the words with aeiou in order... I'm not sure where he/she'd get a list to search through though, maybe IMDB?
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Postby rkd » Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:39 pm

polarea wrote:
rkd wrote:
Ken Jennings wrote:After I posted yesterday, I finally remembered the word "supervocalic" and Googled up supervocalic expert Susan Thorpe. Apparently she's made it her life's work to find a famous person for every possible ordering of AEIOU (Bela Lugosi for EAUOI, Count Basie for OUAIE, etc.) That's awesome.


Is there some simple way to automate such a search? There are only 120 arrangements of the 5 vowels, so if one could write a program that could process some giant name index to find (say) EAUOI, one could probably finish the project in far less than a lifetime. I've never done much programming with strings (or programming without strings, for that matter), but I'd imagine the algorithm wouldn't be too complicated.

--Raj Dhuwalia (lacking an "e" and an "o" -- sorry)


We need to get whoever it was who used PERL to find all of the words with aeiou in order... I'm not sure where he/she'd get a list to search through though, maybe IMDB?


One possibility is Who's Who. I'm not sure if this link is associated with the official Who's Who publications, but they're probably got a nice badass list of names ... http://www.marquiswhoswho.com/ . Even if they're not willing to share, there are probably other available giant lists of names out there.
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Postby ArtVark » Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:27 am

Python is my scripting language of choice. I ran a scan of all the players (past in present) on mlb.com.

The following baseball players, are the only names (as they are listed on the website) that have exactly one of every vowel in their name.
Only one name has them all in order (Lance Richbourg).

* -- indicates still active

aeiou -- lance richbourg
aieou -- jackie collum, charlie hough, charlie sproull
aieuo -- charlie hudson, arnie munoz*
aioue -- craig counsell*, craig house, larry milbourne
aoeui -- al montreuil
aoiue -- wandy rodriguez*
aouei -- carlos quentin*
aouie -- jacob brumfield, walton cruise, jack fournier, carlos guillen*, amos rusie
aueio -- paul chervinko, claud elliott, paul erickson, claude wilborn
aueoi -- claude corbitt
auieo -- al cuccinello, augie johns
auoei -- raul mondesi, paul o'neill
eaiou -- heathcliff slocumb
eauio -- greg aquino*
eiuao -- edwin hurtado*
eouai -- ted goulait, drew toussaint*
iaeou -- michael bourn*, vic darensbourg*, michael young*
iaeuo -- ian ferguson
iaoue -- brian shouse*
iaueo -- bill lauterborn
ieauo -- mike caruso
ioaeu -- winston abreu*
ioaue -- jiggs donahue, tim donahue
ioeau -- nick gorneault*
oaiue -- omar vizquel*
oauei -- john trautwein
oeaui -- roger marquis, joey mclaughlin
oeuai -- joe slusarski*
oeuia -- joe cunningham, joe kutina, joe mulligan, joe sullivan
oieau -- orville armbrust, tom wieghaus
oieua -- ollie fuhrman, robin ventura
ouaie -- lou frazier, doug glanville
ouiae -- lou whitaker
uaeio -- juan espino, duane wilson
ueaio -- rube yarrison
uiaeo -- curtis granderson*
uiaoe -- luis aponte
uieao -- gussie gannon, justin germano*, dustin hermanson*
uioae -- luis gonzalez*, quinton mccracken*, luis montanez*, julio valdez
uoiea -- bud podbielan
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Postby MiniBen1 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:43 am

What about a sentence that uses all the letters of the alphabet? I just got an email with this in it...

The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet.
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Postby themanwho » Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:50 am

MiniBen1 wrote:What about a sentence that uses all the letters of the alphabet?


Pangrams.

Here's one with every letter exactly once. I didn't compose it.

Mr. Jock, TV quiz Ph.D., bags few lynx.

-M
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Postby Trivia Why's Guy » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:49 am

themanwho wrote:
MiniBen1 wrote:What about a sentence that uses all the letters of the alphabet?


Pangrams.

Here's one with every letter exactly once. I didn't compose it.

Mr. Jock, TV quiz Ph.D., bags few lynx.


Amazingly, I was just looking at this terrific collection of pangrams last night (scroll down about a screen). My favorite is the 26-letter "Jocks fix BMW, vend quartz glyph." (only 26 letters and a single common acronym). The other 18 pages on the site also have some good word trivia.

--
Robert Jen, the Trivia Why's Guy (whysguy@triviawhys.com)
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Trivia Why's blog
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Postby Ken Jennings » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:59 am

That site is great...I've had it bookmarked for quite a while. The trivia book I'm writing right now will steal from it liberally. :)
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Postby ArtVark » Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:54 pm

Ken Jennings wrote:That site is great...I've had it bookmarked for quite a while. The trivia book I'm writing right now will steal from it liberally. :)


One pangram that they had "Waltz, dumb nymph, for quick jigs vex." can be made one letter shorter with
"Waltz, bad nymph, for quick jigs vex."
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Postby WhitePhantom » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:07 pm

ArtVark wrote:One pangram that they had "Waltz, dumb nymph, for quick jigs vex." can be made one letter shorter with
"Waltz, bad nymph, for quick jigs vex."

But then it wouldn't have every letter of the alphabet.
We have Lenny and Jimmy and me and...Faye.
-Guy Patterson on bass players
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Postby themanwho » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:12 pm

WhitePhantom wrote:
ArtVark wrote:One pangram that they had "Waltz, dumb nymph, for quick jigs vex." can be made one letter shorter with
"Waltz, bad nymph, for quick jigs vex."

But then it wouldn't have every letter of the alphabet.


Look again. The u and the m are both repeated elsewhere.

-M
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Postby WhitePhantom » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:24 am

Ah, you're right.
We have Lenny and Jimmy and me and...Faye.
-Guy Patterson on bass players
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re: Supervocalics

Postby ewolf » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:22 pm

Hi guys,

I'm just discovering this message board, and figured I'd jump into the fray.

Yes...AEIOU words had been considered in various forms in the wordplay world, often in the pages of "Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics". I coined "supervocalic" to refer specifically to a word, phrase, or "popular item" which has AEIOU, once and only once, in any order, and no Y. The point of this was to go beyond just dictionary words to allow more interesting stuff that we might see in pop culture, like "Sports Illustrated", "Baltimore Sun", or "Plaxico Burress", rather than the more arcane obsolete, historical spellings in the OED which some Word Ways contributors seem to favor. Also, the Y was getting abused and needed to be put in a separate category.

I also coined "euryvocalic" to refer to AEIOUY "stuff" (eury- means wide, and I'm sure all y'all are getting hip to the self-referential terms here). Daily Double, Gated Community, Greyhound Racing, Emmylou Harris, I Hate You, EasyDrunkGirls.com. Oh, the humanity. For my money give me the elegant "social butterfly", over some clunky ancient OED variant any day.

I've got a pretty sizable list of supervocalic people ("known human beings") - at least one for each of the 120 orderings, and while it took a bunch of Googling, it wasn't a lifelong effort. It's pretty comprehensive, so no need to email me "Annie Proulx" or the bassist from Tool or anything. If anyone's interested I can post some good ones. And I did screw up and list Patti Lupone and Len Cariou both as 1979 Tony winners, when Patti's was in 1980. Mea Culpio.

I just collect these things manually so my ADD and OCD have something to converse about. I haven't coded in a while, and I don't know how to wrestle regular expressions out of Google, though I did do an IMDB query once for all the titles in there which are either super- or eury- vocalic. (The only AEIOUY in order? "Cavendish Country".) Unfortunately, you can't query the IMDB for people, only titles. You want a supervocalic actor in a supervocalic movie? Well...you try it. How bout a supervocalic singer who sang a supervocalic song - or a euryvocalic singer who sang a euryvocalic song? (None of those are super-easy.) While you're at it, try the only palindromic Top 40 song by a palindromic band (that one is gettable).

Lastly, if coders out there want to collaborate on some interesting wordplay projects, drop me a line - I've got a bunch.

Post-lastly, a shout out to Ken - if you're ever in LA, let's do some Grand Slam Thunderdome.

cheers,
eric chaikin
ewchaikin@yahoo.com

p.s. As for 26-letter pangrams...lots of Word Ways articles on those too, but it looks like they've taken the older articles offline. Oh, well. My favorite (which I didn't come up with) is: "My kind zap Fox TV, squelch GWB, Jr."
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Postby ewolf » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:54 pm

>Probably the person with the shortest name to contain all five vowels is actor Len Cariou, who won a Tony Award in 1979 for >Sweeney Todd.

Pretty close...for regular "first name" + "last name" people, there are actually a few other 9-letter examples, including:
- a former US Congressman (1)
- a current, young actor (2)
- an old hall-of-fame baseball player. (3)

(I haven't figured out this hidden thing yet.)

Let it be known that the supervocalic actor just mentioned has appeared in a supervocalic film.

But for the record, you've got the 8-letter journeyman NBA forward IME UDOKA
(who is nowhere near the best NBA supervocalic - that would have to go to UDONIS HASLEM)

And going to the one-word names, you've got SEQUOIA (who standardized the Cherokee alphabet) and EUDOCIA (although I believe she actually had a first name).

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p
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l
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(1) LES AUCOIN
(2) DIEGO LUNA
(3) AMOS RUSIE
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