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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Beat

OOPS: Phonetic Transcription of Text Awakens Eldritch Deity

 by Matt Keeley. @reallymattkeeley.



RALEIGH, NC - Standing at the precipice of the trans-dimensional tear in spacetime, embarrassed Voice and Speech professor Anatolia Mahmoud admitted to accidentally rousing an Eldritch deity from slumber after phonetically translating a scene for her Dialects class.


“Yeah…I can see how this one’s on me. My bad, everyone.” she apologized, gazing through the demolished wall of the classroom reduced to rubble out to the sanguine hellscape before her eyes. “I really wanted to challenge my students to expand their abilities with more difficult material. But in my blind ambition, I scratched the surface of a great, unknowable cosmic horror that lay dormant for millennia. O despair, ye students of phonetics! Mine hubris is at hand! If it helps, this won’t be on the test.”


Students not driven past the brink of insanity in the presence of The Sleeper of R’lyeh recalled their class mishap.


“Since we started IPA work, I marveled at its ability to convey any spoken dialect through a system of squiggly Lovecraftian symbols. Received Pronunciation wasn’t ever too difficult for me to get my head around, at least compared to the infinite and unfathomable knowledge of the Elder Ones. I was looking forward to a challenge,” explained student Callie Jones, gazing upon the antediluvian monstrosity and shedding unrighteous tears of blood.


“Today’s exam consisted of a cold read for a dialect we weren’t given in advance. Just pronounce what was written. I didn’t think much of the pentagram etched in the floor, or candles ritualistically lit throughout the classroom. I thought we must be doing Macbeth or something! Whoops, I mean the Scottish Play.”


In spite of the incomprehensible bacchanale of madness unleashed unto the world, Mahmoud’s class appeared optimistic of her unorthodox pedagogical methods.


“Our class has a tongue twister that we use to warm up, which turns into a bit of a chant. In hindsight, I probably could have seen this coming,” fellow classmate Zoey Richter recalled with dilated pupils and tentacle-like appendages sprouting from her face. “Instead of ‘All I want is a proper cup of coffee / made in a proper copper coffee pot…’ the words themselves ushered forth, ‘Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.’ I didn’t know I could even form those sounds, this is so cool!”


Per a newly-revised class syllabus, next week students will receive new material to herald the coming of The Great Old One in a Northumbrian accent.

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