If you missed Steven Pinker's essay in the New Republic, you shouldn't have. Vaughan at Mind Hacks offers this aside:

Once, whilst drinking with a psycholinguist (say that after a few pints) I was taught a useful way of quickly working out the stressed syllable in any English word - something which is apparently called the 'fuck test'.

Simply insert the word 'fucking' into the word, as if you were using the swear word for emphasis, and the syllable that follows the 'fucking' is the stressed syllable.

For example, absolutely -> abso-fucking-lutely. The stressed syllable  is the third: i.e. absolutely. It works for every multi-syllable word I've found so far.

Which just goes to show that psycholinguists are some of the coolest melonfarmers in the whole of cognitive science.

Absofuckinglutely, man.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.