Is Cereal Soup?

Hey, Vsauce. Michael here. Take a look at this. Simple enough, right? But watch what happens next. Okay, what the heck is this thing? Mostly people eat it like a soup, out of a bowl with a spoon. But is it a soup? The word ‘soup’ comes from words that originally meant “to absorb liquid”, which dry cereal
left in milk too long will do. But words change. What if cereal is actually a type of salad? And milk is just a dressing? Or maybe, dry cereal is the actual meal and milk is just a condiment or a coating. Adding milk to dry cereal might be like adding ketchup to french fries, or icing a cake. Honestly, there is no real answer. The answer is whatever we agree the answer should be. We make up the words and we make up the categories. If you ask me, cereal is soup, but it’s not
soup soup. Cereal is also salad, but it’s not salad salad. What I just did there is
called reduplication. We do it all the time but usually for emphasis. For example, “I like you” but I also like like you. Tomorrow’s event is fancy, but it’s not fancy fancy. When I say “soup soup” or “salad salad”, I am using reduplication in a way that is known
as Contrastive focus reduplication. I am reduplicating a word to express a focus on prototypical
types of that word, in contrast to French types. A Caesar or vegetable are more prototypical types of salad than, say, potato, taco, fruit,
or a bowl of cereal with milk. The increasing progress of technology forces
us to contrastively focus reduplicate more and more often. For example, now when talking about a book, you might need to clarify whether it is an
e-book or a book book. The original physical paper type. The phrase paper book is a retronym. A modification to an old word made necessary
by the advent and popularisation of something new. Before movies with sound came along, silent movies were just called movies. Before voicemail and e-mail, snail mail was
just mail. And before mobile phones, your landline or
home phone was simply a phone. Or in many cases just the phone. This is Morse code for a smiley face emoticon. It’s a happy beat. The eyes of the emoticon are a colon, which up until as recently as the middle of the
1900s was often used with a dash to represent a pause. It was an especially helpful direction to people reading text out loud. It was used all over the place. In personal letters and all over America’s Declaration of Independence. You may also notice that it looks a little bit anatomical. The Oxford English Dictionary has a name for this punctuation mark and that name is “the dog’s bollocks”. In other words, dog balls. Although other emoticons were definitely used earlier, as far as official dictionary entries
are concerned, the very first emoticon with an official name was an emoticon for a willy. This also means that America’s Declaration of Independence is, punctuation-wise, covered in dog wieners. Nine of them, to be exact. What I’m about to do is called drawing. When I am finished, what I have created is called a drawing. But it’s finished. Shouldn’t it be called “a drawn”? A similar version of this problem is often
attributed to Steven Wright. Why are they called buildings if they are finished? Shouldn’t they be called “builds”? What’s really going on here is a phenomenon known as ‘verbal nouns’. A noun formed from a verb. It’s often easier to “noun-ify” a verb than
to just use lots of words. Why call this a structure resulting from the
active of building, when you could just call it a building? Where does the word ‘nickname’ come from? Did a guy name Nicholas one day decided everyone
could call him Nick and in doing so create a literal nickname? No. Nickname is a product of rebracketing. A process in which speakers, often unknowingly, create new words by moving sounds from one word to another. For instance, the English word alligator is
a corruption of the Spanish “el lagarto” – the lizard. El lagarto, el lagarto, el, alligator. Eke used to mean “also”, as in you could have a name, and you could have another name that was also your name. Your “eke name”. Eke name. Eke name. Ni, ni, nickname. Here’s another funny thing about language. If you’re noisy in class, you’re disrupting class. But if you sit around silently paying attention, are you rupting class? You can be disgruntled, but can you ever be gruntled? Words that would seem to have a related word
but actually do not are called unpaired words. Maybe they were in a pair at one point in
history, or maybe through a fluke of etymology they only seem to have one, but what you think
it would be isn’t in any dictionary. Some definitions like “soup” and “salad” are
so vague their borders are almost hilariously fuzzy. Other words, well, they’re just plain silly. For example, the sun does not rise every morning. The Earth actually just turns you toward it, but yet our word for that phenomenon is sunrise. Languages are full of expressions like that. George Steiner wrote colourfully about this,
saying “The accelerando of the sciences, and of technology, have beggared both the reach and veracity of natural language. In consequence, the commonplace relations of language to phenomenon
to our daily context have become virtually infantile. They are a bric-a-brac of inner
metaphors, of whory fictions and handy falsifications. From the perspective of the theoretical and
exact sciences, we speak a kind of neanderthal babble.” Whether spoken or typed or tabbed or felt or signalled, language may be inevitably full of idiomatic expressions and expressions that are incomplete. And categories that are fuzzy. But hey, at least it’s our fuzz, and at least fuzz is entertaining. It would be nice to just know everything and have absolutely nothing to explain or demonstrate to anyone else. But then again, as Emily Dickinson once said, “a letter is a joy of earth. It is denied
the Gods”. If we were all omniscient, we’d have no reason
to write letter to one another, there wouldn’t be anything new you had to tell someone else. We would have no reason to debate the soupiness or saladness of cereal. No reason to wonder, no reason to read, or to watch. I’d have no reason to say and as always, thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Is Cereal Soup?

  1. well i dont know about soup, but it depends on the type of cereal to make it a salad

  2. Me at 3AM:*sees video titled "is cereal soup?"*
    I dont need sleep, I need answers.

  3. Isn’t cereal just a cereal? A category with milk and they are differed by the wheats, oats and corn used to make them? I think everyone is thinking too hard on this one causing them to miss the answer that is literally in the name

    it’s just cereal, michael.
    *pours milk*
    3 seconds later

  5. I just realized I’m eating cereal right now 😂😂 also now every time I make cereal I’ll remember Micheal saying, “what the heck is this thing!?”

  6. Me: sees title for this video

    Also me: I don't need sleep I need answers!

  7. 4:33
    We actually use that now for a variety of builds.
    Tall builds are still know as buildings for some reason.
    But we sometimes call houses builds when we are uncertain of the fact that they are actually houses, 2015-Michael.

  8. "Is cereal soup?"

    Me at 2 am
    I dOn't NeEd SlEeP, I nEeD aNsWeRs

  9. Michael: The Declaration of Independence is covered in dog wieners, nine to be exact.

    Also Michael: …Or is it?

  10. Yo when the hell is he going to upload a video an not a his YouTube show thing

  11. How did we go from the discussion of cereal being soup to a dog's testicles?

  12. I was in a building eating soup, but not soup soup, shortly before being disrupted by the sunrise, which overwhelmed me.

  13. 1. Why did he put cereal first then milk
    2. Why does his milk look like its 50% water?
    3. Why that weird looking jug bruv?

  14. not if you eat it like me and just stick your hand in the box…

  15. Friend: what do you think cereal actually is?
    Me WeLL ACcuAlY, it starts with the beginning of english

  16. Me, a child: Ooh space!


    Me: *sobs quietly*

    VSauce: Now then, is cereal a soup?

  17. "You can be overwelmed and you can be underwelmed, but can you ever just be welmed?"

    "I think you can in europe"

  18. Michael

    probably the only one to use a beaker to pour milk into his cereal

  19. 4:10 PRO GAMER MOVE!!!!
    Michael: "drawing"


  20. 0:00 Is cereal soup?

    3:35 There's dag balls on the declaration of independence

  21. My brain was 100% on board with cereal being soup, but I audibly yelled “No” when you said salad.

  22. Me: oh a funny yet informative video about cereal. Cool, I'm learning!
    Video: 0:14
    Me: ummm, cereal?
    Video: 3:41
    Can someone please tell me,
    How did we get here from cEREAL?!

  23. If you eat cereal in a bowl then it’s soup but if you eat it on a plate then it’s salad


    Edit: what kind of milk is that it looks watery

  25. I read this and thought back to watching “Vsauce but out of context” and I just thought ”OH MY GOD I DIDN’T DESERVE THIS CHANCE GET IN MY LIFE”

  26. Normal people: Starts a journey from London to France.
    Vsauce: London – America – Brazil – Germany – Japan – France.

  27. i like how you can so easily go from whether cereal is soup or salad to how the word "nickname" was created

  28. if it's grain or wheat or a bread thing that means it's cereal. anything else and it's soup. you're welcome
    I need to clarify- if that soup has crackers in it, that still means it's soup. crackers are a topping. also "anything else"means, specifically, meat, broth, etc. milk is not broth. milk goes in cereal. they are different.
    noodles is a different category altogether and they need to be long. and not in milk
    salad is a form of veggies. lettuce carrot tomato etc. no liquids, unless it's dressing.

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