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Old Dec 14th, 2012, 06:52 PM   #242
country flag Ms. Anthropic
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Re: 1992

An excerpt:

WHEN A GRUNT IS JUST A GRUHNT
Wisconsin State Journal
Tuesday, July 7, 1992
With Andy Baggot and Pat Stiegman

In the never-ending battle for accuracy in sports journalism, we present this latest conflict: When tennis star Monica Seles follows through on her forehand, what exactly is she grunting?

Those who wrote about Wimbledon, where Seles lost to Steffi Graf in the women's final Saturday and where Seles caught serious flak for her force-of-habit guttural explosions, could not decide.

Was it: "HUH-IHHH?" (Edwin Pope, Miami Herald) Or "unnhh-HEEE?" (Steve Wilstein, Associated Press) Or "HUNNGGH?" (Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle) Apparently, all interpretations in this case are acceptable.

"It's almost like trying to represent a bird sound," said Peter Schreiber, a professor of English and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin. "There are lots of ways one might present them."

Unlike "uh-huh" or "hee-haw" - examples of widely accepted interpretations for acknowledgement and a donkey's bray - Seles isn't really saying anything. "It's almost like an involuntary reaction," Schreiber said. "It doesn't conform to any one series of sounds humans make."

A uniform spelling of Seles' emissions probably would not come about "unless the next wave of women's tennis players all do the same thing," Schreiber said. "Hopefully, that won't happen."

Schreiber declined to offer his own interpretation. Though he has heard Seles do her thing, "I usually turn down the volume because I don't like hearing it."

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