Investigating a Trump speech reversal – phonemes, words, an alternative, other reversals

Analysing speech reversals can be interesting as Reverse Speech is still a mystery. I have amused myself by doing this with a Trump reversal which is on YouTube

Documented RS: I’ll see in the lawsuit    

FS: do solemnly swear

Breakdown of phonemes and syllables

lawsuit – [do sol]emnly   Language clearly follows FS phonemes

see in the – sol[emnly s]wear

  • Perception of ‘see’ comes from [y s].
  • Perception of ‘in the’ has come from [emnl]. The two syllables come from the movement from [em] to articulation of /l/. Of course, /n/ is silent in ‘solemnly’.
  • It is possible to perceive [n] as articulation moves through /l/ to onset of /m/ in the RS. The articulation of [l] on the alveolar ridge helps give perception of a short ‘in’, although /l/ can still be heard as well.
  • A close listening reveals the sounds as ‘seal mo’. The /l/ is quite clear, and ‘the’ is ‘mo’. As /m/ may be perceived as [n] sometimes, this perhaps has helped give the perception of ‘the’, Of course even in FS, ‘the’ is not always articulated clearly and can sound like different things on close examination.  
  • So, primarily the issues to consider in this section is the existence of an /l/ and the ‘mo’. In an overall listening it can certainly sound like the documented reversal; this is helped by the low energy of /m/in ‘mo’, as well as its prosody and duration of perceived syllables (apart from documented recorded ‘I’ll’).

I’ll – s[wear]

Consideration of ‘you’

Now let’s take for argument sake that it is meant to be ‘see in the’. One may wonder if there is a short ‘you’ also, to make ‘I’ll see you in the lawsuit’. One can ‘project’ its existence into it. In natural speaking small words can be shortened and spoken very quickly and be missed. I’m not claiming it is there. I’m not trying to prove that it is.

Let’s assume ‘the’ is meant to be there …. To consider ‘you’, we need to focus on the ending of ‘see’ where there is some issue. An /l/ can be heard whether it is isolated with ‘see’ (‘seal’) or isolated slightly later (‘iln’). But, as the vowel moves toward /l/, is this meant to represent ‘you’? If we isolate ‘seal’ we hear the diphthong vowel with the short /i/ first, and a rounding from the ‘al’. Isolating the section from slightly before the rounding, and capturing the end of /i/, we can hear something quite similar to ‘you’. Yet, it is still easy to perceive the /l/. We can isolate sounds in different places and hear different words, which are not real, so we need to be careful. After this, /n/ can still be perceived in the release of /l/ and onset of /m/.

So, can ‘you’ be there? Or is /l/ meant to represent ‘in’? Or, is it ‘seal’? We can miss something subtle entirely, or we will put it in there because it makes sense to the grammar in our brain. What we need to do is look for indications that it is, in fact, there.

So, in the wash-up I certainly couldn’t say it is there. Like in FS, not all sections of language come out clearly and can sound like different things on close examination. I believe in examining for all possibilities.

Could the reversal say something else?

Within in this reversal one may hear ‘seal my loss’/’see in my loss’/’see in the loss’.

We need to look at where the reversal begins and ends. As ‘I’ll’ does not naturally sound like the beginning of the reversal as it has been documented in the recording (different time duration relative to the rest, for example), we either begin it at ‘see/seal’ or assume it is ‘Her, I w’ll’ or ‘hurl’.

If we assume the documented ‘see in the’ without ‘you’ is correct, then we have ‘Her, I w’ll see in the loss/Hurl. See in the loss’. However, phonemically it is also, ‘Seal my loss’, but may be ‘See in my loss’. The rounded vowel after [m] is not really an issue, and could be ‘my’. However, we need to see where the ending of the reversal lies. The last part, ‘suit’, does occur naturally as part of this reversal, so it does seem to end at ‘lawsuit’. So, we get something like ‘Seal my lawsuit’.

If ‘Her, I w’ll’,  then ‘her’ is identifying a woman, then saying what he will do. If it were ‘hurl’, it may represent disgust, or fear and anxiety (see commentary about other reversals below).

A general listening does give a perception of ‘in the lawsuit’. And that is how we interpret what people say as we listen to them speak – overall, big picture listening.  We would have to assume the alveolar articulation of /l/ is meant to be /n/ (and there is some perception of /n/ in the release of /l/ and onset of /m/), and the /m/ is meant to be /n/ to produce ‘the’. Of course, in natural speaking, when the previous word ends in /n/, the /th/ quite naturally takes on /n/ characteristics.

But because of the two issues, we should consider alternatives as well.

Her, I w’ll see in my lawsuit/Hurl. See in my lawsuit/Her, I w’ll seal my lawsuit/Hurl. Seal my lawsuit/  

One more thing I will add here. The lawsuit has been applied to the one publicly occurring at the time of writing this – the overturning of Trump’s migrant ban and Trump’s legal counter. However, this occurred at the time of inauguration, and I understand there had been other lawsuits occurring from Trump’s business activities, then. One does not have to see it as predictive and applying to the current issue. This is like people interpreting the words of some prophet or psychic from past history as pertaining to occurrences in their generation. But of course, at the same time, it is quite easy to see Trump entertaining future lawsuits from his actions that would come. Perhaps he was thinking about Hillary! It just doesn’t mean it is a psychic occurrence.

What about other reversals with it, and other voices?

Because it’s great fun investigating the possibilities of RS, let’s take a look at language-sounding pieces aside the reversal.

Before the reversal (in the RS direction, after in the FS direction), we may hear something like:

Ill of fear, flow our/out (Dad)?  

[that I will faithfully]

Ill – faithfu[lly] – closest to ‘ill’; lack of /h/ for ‘heal’. ‘Ill’ more appropriate anyway.

of – faith[fu]lly

fear – f[aith]fully  [th] can be perceived, but [f] can also be perceived as an alternative.

Flow out – tha[t I will f]aithfully   Sounds follow the FS phonemes clearly.   

What may be heard as ‘Dad’ is not natural with the previous words in stress/amplification/pitch etc, and it could be counted as gibberish. If not, perhaps Trump’s unconscious added his father to the mix.

So we have something like:

Ill of fear. Flow out.

Before the above example in the RS direction (last in the FS direction) is:

Weak, you’re sca ….   

faithfully [execu]te

weak – exe[cu]te   rounded vowel and [c] produce ‘weak’.

you’re sca … [exe]cute  [ex] produces ‘sca …’ and [e] produces ‘you’re’.  

You will notice the great difference in voice type between ‘Ill of fear. Flow out’ and ‘Seal my lawsuit’/’Seal in the lawsuit’. ‘Seal my lawsuit’/’See in my lawsuit’ is Trump’s normal voice, while the other one is very different. Because it is Trump’s normal voice, we could assume it is an aspect of Trump that is part of his ego self, that is, part of the personality that creates Trump’s outward identity. ‘

I have found that one may hear a series of reversals that flow directly on from one to another, like a conversation occurring between selves. One ‘voice’ can quickly take over from another without pause between. In this case, the first voice did not get to complete what it was saying – which possibly was ‘Weak, you’re sca[red]’. There is a sibilant-like sound occurring at the beginning from the [t] in ‘execute’, however, this can be seen as an extraneous sound, and therefore the reversal begins at ‘weak’. The second voice, took over with ‘Ill of fear; flow out’.

Should we follow the FS direction or the RS direction for sequence of reversals? If the interrupted reversal is genuine, then it must have come first at least in relationship to the one immediately following I the RS direction. The first one to occur in the FS direction – ‘seal etc’ may have come first in the RS, especially if ‘Dad’ and/or ‘hurl’ is gibberish. If these are not gibberish, then one may consider a sequence from start to finish in the RS direction. This brings up the question of how long can reversals occur continuously in the RS direction? Probably several seconds anyway as this is how long ahead our brain can be formulating what is going to be said ahead of speaking.

There is a relationship between the two reversals – weak, scared, ill of fear. These then, would be different aspects of Trump , fearful of the situation he is in. Does ‘ill of fear’ mean that he feels ill because of fear, or that he is sick and tired of fear? If the first ‘voice’ was telling him that he is weak and scared, the next ‘voice’ may have hit back, interrupting, saying that he is sick and tired of fear and he is going to let it ‘flow out’, whether he means the fear flow out and leave him, or that he will exude confidence and lack of fear to the public. That is one interpretation.

In the wash up, listening to the whole utterance, the brain easily follows the articulated /l/ as ‘in’ because /l/ at the end of ‘seal’ is a hard /l/ and there is some perception of /n/.

Weak, you’re sca …/Ill of fear, flow out (Dad)/(Her I w’ll/Hurl) see in my lawsuit/see in the lawsuit/seal my lawsuit    

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