March 2, 2006

Scene and Herd

If you can see something, it is called a view. Ocean view, mountain view, whatever. It can also be used as a verb as in "They viewed the scene from their balcony."

What do you call it when you can hear something? I'm looking for a noun. I can hear the ocean. Do I have an ocean hear? No. Do I have an ocean sound? No, that's something entirely different.

I need to consult the linguistic journals on this one. I imagine that we have a noun for something seen for some reason (i.e., it's a common thing). Why don't we have a noun for something heard?

Does that imply that seeing is more important than hearing? For example, a real estate ad will emphasize a view but they only occasionally note that a property can hear the sounds of, say, the surf.

Or does that imply that there are more numerous pleasing sights than sounds? Would you go look at a house if you knew you could hear the freeway? Or the train? I would, but perhaps other people wouldn't.

Enlighten me. I propose a contest.
A. The first person to correctly identify the English noun meaning "something heard" wins a prize.
B. The best suggestion for an English noun meaning "something heard" wins a prize.
C. If you speak another language, let me know if there is a noun meaning "something heard" and you will get a prize.

I haven't thought of a prize yet but I assure you it will be unique. Probably an imaginary trophy or a certificate or an opportunity to guest post here (like you'd want that!).

Update: Thank you to everyone who participated! You are all winners in my book. I guess my question was really poorly worded! Of course the noun meaning "something heard" is a sound. But you cannot "possess" a sound like you can "possess" a view. I think you know what I mean.

Anyhoots. I really like "sonic ocean ambiance" which was the closest thing to what I was trying to say. MooAlex, you are the winner! You get to choose between guest posting here for as long as you wish, or the half-eaten bagel and cold cup of coffee on my desk. Which will it be? *tick tock tick tock* *Jeopardy theme* Get back to me, 'kay?!!

Honorable Mentions to CK for "Listen"; Aubrie for helping me remember sound is a noun, and making me laugh at all the synonyms; Jo-fo just for being Jo-fo; Richard for his very serene suggestion of soundscape; and Jojoware for telling us all about filmmaking! Y'all are great. Thanks!



At 11:46, Blogger jo-fo said...

I sure can't think of anything yet, but for the time being you could always say you have an ocean notion.

At 13:57, Blogger jojoware said...

back in the day, when i was a bigshot moviemaker (okay, i was a slave, but i enjoyed it), when we finished shooting a scene in a particular setup the sound guy would make everyone stand still and be quiet so he could record "room tone". Felt kind of silly and it was hard to sit still for the few minutes so he could get what he needed, but after doing sound editing i understood how necessary it was. There's a certain audio presence that a room has, which is different from just flat emptiness of blank tape. So when your tracks together later you need the room tone to fill in the gaps. And that tone changes when everyone leaves the room, thus the need for us to stand still.

I don't think that's exactly what you're reaching for, but it's what you reminded me of. Tone, atmosphere, and ambience usually include more than sound, but sound is definitely a big part of them.

At 14:49, Blogger Craig said...

You could call it noise? You hear the noise of the ocean, but that's basically the same issue as for sound. You wouldn't have an ocean noise.

I vote for listen. Like view, it can be a verb, but let's turn it into a noun. For example, my sister-in-law's last apartment in Chicago had a great L listen. You could hear the trains all night long.

At 18:36, Anonymous Aubrie said...

Actually, sound can be a verb and a noun. As a verb, it means to make noise; i.e. "Sound the gong!!!" or as a noun, "I heard the sound of the gong."

Synonyms for the verb include babble, bang, bark, blare, blow, boom, burst, buzz, cackle, chatter, clack, clang, clank, clap, clatter, clink, crash, creak, detonate, echo, emit, explode, hum, jabber, jangle, jar, moan, murmur, patter, play, rattle, reflect, resonate, resound, reverberate, ring, roar, rumble, shout, shriek, shrill, sing, slam, smash, snort, squawk, thud, thump, thunder, toot, trumpet, vibrate, whine, whisper.

And Synonyms for the noun include accent, din, harmony, intonation, loudness, modulation, music, noise, note, pitch, racket, report, resonance, reverberation, ringing, softness, sonance, sonancy, sonority, sonorousness, static, tenor, tonality, tone, vibration, voice.

(yes, I cheated and used the thesaurus)

But alas, I cannot seem to come up with one good word for both.
So I get an "E" for effort though? :-)

At 05:24, Anonymous mooalex said...

I think the term should be "sonic ocean ambience." For example: "For rent: 2BD/2BA apartment with great water views and sonic ocean ambience."

I'd rent it.

At 06:17, Blogger Richard said...

What is wrong with sound or noise?

Maybe I'm missing something subtle in your quest for a word.

Personally, I would go with soundscape.

e.g. This property has a lovely view and soothing soundscape.


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