Three cartoons for today: a Dilbert, a Bizarro, and a Mother Goose and Grimm:
Archive for the ‘Figurative language’ Category
On Facebook on the 4th, this charming story from Sally Thomason:
Back in about 1964, when I was in graduate school at Yale, I was moaning and groaning during one of our regular tea-time gatherings about a test I thought I’d blown in Warren Cowgill’s Indo-European class. Warren listened fairly patiently for a bit and then starting saying almost inaudibly, “damn damn damn damn damn damn.” I stopped complaining and asked him what on earth he was doing. “I’m praising you with faint damns,” he said. — Fast forward to today: Rich [Thomason, Sally's husband] just showed me p. 206 of a fantasy novel he’s reading, Point of Hopes, by Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett: “That Rathe seemed to think well of him, or at least to praise him with faint damns, was something of a reassurance…”. Probably the authors weren’t plagiarizing from Warren, because I know they weren’t in the Linguistics tea room on the third floor of the Hall of Graduate Studies in 1964. (Probably Warren wasn’t the first person to have said this either, of course. But this is only the second time I’ve heard it.)
This figure of speech — sometimes characterized as “bait and switch” — came up in conversation with Don Steiny on Sunday. It seems not to have been discussed on this blog or Language Log.
Monday morning comics: A Bizarro with word play, A Pearls Before Swine with a slogan reworked:
Another kind of hypallage (see here), with a VP adverbial (here, a little) converted to a modifier of a N: play guitar a little > play a little guitar. This particular hypallage has become conventionalized: play some / a lot of / occasional / etc. guitar.
KEEP CALM — CARRY ON is an excellent slogan phonologically: good prosody, near rhyme (note calm – on). PANIC — AND THROW A FUCKING FIT isn’t quite as compact as the model, but it has its own virtues (includling the alliteration in FUCKING FIT, plus panic - fit).
Today’s Zippy, with Griffy and Zippy having another one of their Art Talks, with heavy similes:
In the background, Oh Fudge Lucille’s Candies in Brants Beach NJ:
Lucilles — note: no apostrophe — makes and sells fudge (among other things, like salt water taffy), but the name Oh Fudge alludes to the cutesy euphemism fudge for fuck.