Old Spice Commercials and suffix-fail

So I finally figured out why the new Old Spice commercial “Freshershist” bothers me. To quote, it uses a comparative/superlative pattern that follows: “Fresh” -> “Fresher” -> “Freshest” ->”Freshershist”

It’s the last one that bothers me. There’s a random ʃ insert in between the comparative suffix and the superlative – /frɛʃ/ + /ər/ + /ɛst/, but [frɛʃ +ər +ʃɨst]. Where does the fricative come from? It’s a contrastive articulation from the rhotic, so it’s not laziness.

Never mind that conceptually, it makes more sense to me to hear /frɛʃ/ + /ɛst/ + /ər/ – “freshester” (more freshest), since we’re comparing the freshest options.

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~ by cjrecordvt on 2010/05/07.

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