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No. 664: Delkin Chen's Standup Masterclass

Delkin Chen's Standup Masterclass

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Strip by: manyhills

Delkin: Who's Easter Island's greatest MC? Rapper Nui!
{The moai audience doesn't laugh}
Delkin: Tuff crowd.

The author writes:

Maybe Rapa Nui is highly rhotic and that's why they didn't find it funny.

JOKES EXPLAINED CORNER:

  1. "Rapa Nui" is the Rapa Nui name of Easter Island.
  2. Moai - the giant stone heads the ancient Rapa Nui civilisation built - are (mostly) made from tuff, rock formed when ash from a volcanic eruption, er, forms into a rock.
  3. Rhotic accents pronounce terminal "r"s, non-rhotic accents don't. (The word "rhotic" comes from the Greek letter rho.) So a non-rhotic speaker pronounces "bah" and "bar" (or "rapper" and "Rapa") the same.

I (correctly) have a non-rhotic accent because I'm (correctly) from London (the one in Europe not the one in Canada). I used to have a girlfriend who had a rhotic accent (a fact we discussed surprisingly often, which tells you something about the sort of scintillating conversationalist I am), and it turns out that saying "she has a rhotic accent" without someone mishearing it as "she has [an] erotic accent" is displeasingly difficult.

Arian Zwegers took the photograph used in this comic, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution.