Let’s get Mexican

September 2, 2014

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

 

Nouning by truncation, with the nominal Adj + food abbreviated to Adj, but still functioning as a nominal: Mexican ‘Mexican food’.

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Everything changes after Labor Day

September 1, 2014

A Leo Cullum cartoon from the 9/9/02 New Yorker:

 

The idea that men shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day has been much disputed, but here’s another Labor Day stricture, recognizing that (US) Labor Day is conventionally the end of summer.

(Hat tip to Michael Palmer.)

Cullum (who died in 2010) drew a great many gag cartoons that have been posted on this blog.

The ice-bucket challenge

September 1, 2014

A Shannon Wheeler cartoon in the latest (9/1/14) New Yorker:

 

An exquisitely topical cartoon, of the sort that the magazine has published since its early days. It’s hard to believe the cartoon will make much sense to people in a few years, when the news story has faded from public memory. But at the moment…

 

 

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Blowout, sleaze

September 1, 2014

(Warning: This posting discusses gay sex in very plain terms and has images that are right on the X line — between X-rated and nominally for general consumption — but in recompense, there is some actual lexical discussion. Use your judgment.)

On AZBlogX, a piece “Blowout and sleaze” on two pieces of e-mail:

In my mailbox in recent days, a sale bulletin (“Labor Day Inventory Blowout”) for Falcon / Raging Stallion (today is Labor Day in the US) and an ad for a recent Channel 1 Releasing feature Sucked Off in Weird Places featuring Jason Phoenix and a very sleazy Johnny Hazzard. The images and the texts are both intensely oral.

Cropped versions of the images, right on the X line:

(#1)

(#2)

Ok, no question about what’s going on in these images, but here you see no acual naughty bits. Note blowout in the title of #1, and in #2, the normally well-groomed Johnny Hazzard (though presenting himself as working class) with sweaty face and greasy hair — definite sleaze. So some words about these two lexical items, then a few about the over-the-top rhetoric of the (advertising) sex for #2.

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Generalizations

August 31, 2014

Revisiting my posting “The accent in Polish”, with a cartoon in which a Mr. Waterski corrects a desk clerk’s pronunciation of his name. The correction comes in two parts:

(1) a statement of fact about this particular name: “The accent is on the second syllable”; and

(2) an appeal to a generalization: “like every other Polish surname”

Part (1) is a brute statement of fact and it’s largely inarguable: people’s names are to be pronounced as they say they are (so long as this pronunciation is consistent with the phonology of the target language). If your family name is Taliaferro and you’re a Virginian who pronounces the name like Tolliver, then that’s the pronunciation (but you can’t insist that in English it’s pronounced [ˌtaʎʎaˈfɛrro], as in Italian).

Part (2), however, makes a claim about Polish — that the accent in Polish surnames is on the second syllable — and that generalization can be tested against the evidence. In fact, it is incorrect, and simultaneously (in a sense) insufficiently general.

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Geoff Leech

August 30, 2014

Died on August 19th, linguist Geoffrey Leech of Lancaster University (in the UK). The quick overview from Wikipedia:

Geoffrey Neil Leech (16 January 1936 – 19 August 2014) was a specialist in English language and linguistics. He was the author, co-author or editor of over 30 books and over 120 published papers. His main academic interests were English grammar, corpus linguistics, stylistics, pragmatics and semantics.

A nice notice on Language Log by Ben Zimmer on the 20th, emphasizing the importance of Geoff’s work in corpus linguistics.

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More Bizarro followup

August 30, 2014

After I posted a Bizarro Batman cartoon and a followup analysis of it, Billy Green has posted on Facebook:

On his blog today, [Dan] Piraro [the Bizarro cartoonist] mentions that this was suggested by another cartoonist, Dan McConnell:

(#1)

In this one, a pun on Holy See ‘the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome’.

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Airing out the naughty bits

August 30, 2014

(Not much on language here.)

From Xopher Walker recently, a photograph (from 1998, by Keith Munyan) flirting with the X line, the border between sexually suggestive and X-rated. In this case, a glimpse of public hair, but no more:

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The accent in Polish

August 30, 2014

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

Ah, Watérski.

I did spend some time trying to find out if Waterski was an attested Polish name, but the enormous number of sites on waterskiing frustrated my search.

anemone

August 30, 2014

It’s the end of summer here, and the fall-blooming anemones are in flower: plants with tall stems (several feet) and elegant purplish-pink flowers (there’s also a white variety, but the local ones are all pink). The flowers, with a couple of insects as a bonus:

(#1)

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