Archive for the ‘Metaphor’ Category

Sunday penis notes: #3 phallic food

October 25, 2015

(Lots of penis talk, but some linguistic points along the way.)

More things that popped up when I went looking for something having to do with penises — and was offered various sites on phallic food, a long-standing topic on this blog. Three senses of phallic food here: penises as food; foodstuffs that resemble penises (either naturally, or by accident); foodstuffs that are fashioned to look like penises. I’ve posted often about the last two types, but the first is new on this blog.



September 19, 2015

It seems to be Breadstuffs Weekend. Yesterday, breadsticks. Today, muffins.

Today started with a photo from London, posted on Facebook by Steven Levine:


Steven’s comment:

Excuse me, I’m looking for a guy who lives here who calls himself “the muffin man”. Do you know him?

Yes: Do you know the muffin man?


Zombie X

September 16, 2015

For some time, Mike Pope has been (gently) after me on Facebook to assemble a list of linguistic terms that are my innovations. This turns out to be a devilishly difficult enterprise, for several reasons, a prime one being something that afflicts any attempt to discover the “inventor” of an expression: as I’ve noted several times on this blog, most innovations exploit potentials in the language that are in principle available to everyone (various figures of speech, semantic extensions and specializations, patterns of word formation, and so on), so that it’s quite likely that an innovation has been made by many people on many different occasions, without anyone taking special notice or recording these events.

But sometimes one of these events is noticed, at least within a particular sociocultural community, and that’s taken to be a founding event (with an identifiable source), from which the innovation can spread within the community; the innovator is then given credit within the community.

And so to the story of metaphorical zombie.


Go for the nuts!

September 8, 2015

From Ned Deily on Facebook, a photo of the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game for small children, which invited jokey comments playing on nuts ‘testicles’. And from there to other expressions for the testicles: play ball!


The linguistics of temperature

August 20, 2015

Posted to the Linguistic Typology (LingTyp) mailing list yesterday by Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm ‪<>, a query to the experts, incorporating some information about conceptual metaphors of temperature in (some of) the world’s languages. Her query

concerns extended uses of temperature terms (such as ‘warm’, ‘hot’, ‘cold’, ‘cool’, etc.), primarily in reference to emotions, human dispositions and interpersonal relations, which are the focus of my current cross-disciplinary research together with the social psychologist Hans IJzerman.

As you certainly know,  “affection is warmth”and “anger is heat” are two of the most widely quoted “universal” conceptual metaphors suggested by cognitive linguists on the basis of such expressions as “warm words, feelings” or “hot tempered”, well-attested in familiar languages.

However, the chapters in the volume The linguistics of temperature (John Benjamins, 2015), edited by [Tamm], clearly reveal a significant variance in using temperature metaphors.


Two political cartoonists

May 25, 2015

To link to a posting on Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, some notes on Watterson’s favorite political / editorial cartoonists, Pat Oliphant and Jim Borgman.


Fig time

May 20, 2015

A couple days ago I caught a snippet of a discussion on KQED-FM about overwintering fig plants. Why people were discussing the topic as we near the beginning of summer I don’t know, but there it was. I’m not caring for any fig plants here in Palo Alto, but back when I lived in Columbus OH most of the year I had two: a Ficus benjamina, a very common house plant in temperate climates; and a Ficus carica, the plant the people on the radio were talking about (an ornamental and the source of the figs we eat), which I grew in Columbus as a potted plant, to serve as a reminder of California.

Now some figgy reflections, starting with some Ficus plants and then wandering on to other fig-related matters: the fig leaf of modesty, figgy pudding, Fig Newtons, and the negative polarity item care/give a fig.


Don’t shade your eyes

May 18, 2015

Today’s Zits:

Has Jeremy been involved in “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own” (NOAD2)? Well, he’s certainly passed off as his own work something that was not. His defense appears to be that there is no person whose work this was; he wasn’t stealing from anyone. A bold move, but one that’s not flying with his teacher.


Androids on the march

May 15, 2015

Sexy Friday continues, with the war between the sexes in today’s Scenes From a Multiverse:

First, misogynoids launched against the women, then misandroids launched in retaliation, sowing the boner-destroying deathsterone.


Cluster Fucked

April 24, 2015

(Obviously heavy on taboo language, some of it about man-man sex, but no images. Use with caution.)

In mail today from TitanMen (the gay porn studio), an ad for the new video Cluster Fucked, about orgy scenes (and gangbangs). Samples on the TitanMen site for three group sex scenes, involving (for those of you who follow these things) pornstars:

Francois Sagat, Dean Flynn, Diesel Washington, CJ Madison, Brody Newport

Jason Branch, Jon Galt, Lance Gear, Nick Nicaste

Jessy Ares, Marco Wilson, Junior Stellano, Wilfried Knight

There are two senses for the noun clusterfuck or cluster fuck. From Urban Dictionary, in addition to the ‘orgy’ sense:

Military term for an operation in which multiple things have gone wrong. Related to “SNAFU” (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”) and “FUBAR” (Fucked Up Beyond All Repair).

In radio communication or polite conversation ([e.g.,] with a very senior officer with whom you have no prior experience) the term “clusterfuck” will often be replaced by the NATO phonetic acronym “Charlie Foxtrot.”

And from the scholarly Jesse Sheidlower (3rd ed. of The F-Word), who doesn’t have Charlie Foxtrot:

  1. an orgy [from 1965 on]
  2. Military. a bungled or confused undertaking or situation; mess; (also) a disorganized group of individuals. [from 1969 on]

Both senses have the occasional variant Mongolian clusterfuck / cluster fuck.

The connection between the two senses? One clue is that a similar ambiguity arises for circle jerk ‘group masturbation scene’, ‘mess’ and some other items. From a posting of mine on 1/3/11:

Having just posted, on my X blog, on group sex in gay porn, I’ve returned to some material on circle jerk that I started collecting in 2004

… Tom Dalzell pointed out on ADS-L that HDAS (the Historical Dictionary of American Slang) has circle jerk ‘mess’ since 1973, and the compound seemed to him to be fairly common in that sense. And Doug Wilson noted a possible parallel to cluster fuck, goat fuck, pooch screw, etc. (especially in military contexts), in which “Instead of getting their job done, the participants are engaged in undisciplined,  undignified, useless activity: e.g., metaphorically, group sex or sex with animals.


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