The Language Behind The Name: Rotten Sound

They’re not pretty, and their music sounds like berserkers vomiting anti-corporate sentiment while the Vietnam war rages in the background, but they’re a lot cleverer than they have let on. Or at least that’s what I’m going to say since I clearly have too much time on my hands with which to overthink these things. Moving on.

The Linguistically Performative Nature Of Rotten Sound

I’m sure you all know that a word is made of sounds, so we’ll skip that part of this masturbatory seminar and a shrine to my slowly decaying mental state. Let’s dig into something you may or may not have thought about as far as Rotten Sound’s name.

When saying the word “Rotten” in American English, we are experiencing the word itself by speaking it. How? I’m so glad you asked, because otherwise I would have stopped.

The “tt” when read phonetically in American English is pronounced the same as in “city” or “letter”, where “t” is not pronounced as it is written, transforming into more of an unvoiced /d/. some dialects opt instead for a glottal stop. If you don’t know what a glottal stop is, imagine how a British English speaker may say “woʔuh” instead of “water”, the question mark-ish symbol being the sound made in the throat when the stop occurs. I don’t know enough European dialects to say for certain, but it is my understanding that many European dialects of English (including that spoken by the Finnish) would pronounce the “tt” as a voiced consonantal /t/, taking the letters at face value.

Rotten is defined as “suffering from decay”, and Rotten Sound makes if clear through their music and lyrics that society is breaking down around us without our knowing. Could their name itself be a commentary on decay, with even the pronunciation of words being different from how they are spelled? Is language itself a tool that is devolving and rapidly becoming of less use? The word “rotten” experiences a decay in its own annunciation, as the unvoiced /d/ is much softer than the voiced /t/, and seems to dissolve on the tongue as though it is immaterial.

The linguistic deception of language can be used as a barrier to keep the uninitiated out of a circle of power, depriving humanity of potential, all beginning with simple words and the trickery that comes with. Something as meager as a different dialect can alter one’s opinion of your personhood, and Rotten Sound may have realized this. With that being said, enjoy science, language, art, and a nice bowl of noodles every now and then.

Fast Music For Nerdy People

By my troth sir, if I were to liue this present houre, I will tell true. Let me see, Spurio a hundred & fiftie, Sebastian so many, Corambus so many, Iaques so many: Guiltian, Cosmo, Lodowicke, and Gratij, two hundred fiftie each: Mine owne Company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentij, two hundred fiftie each: so that the muster file, rotten and sound, vppon my life amounts not to fifteene thousand pole, halfe of the which, dare not shake the snow from off their Cassockes, least they shake themselues to peeces 


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