Yesterday’s Mother Goose and Grimm with an outrageous pun:
Archive for the ‘Formulaic language’ Category
Yesterday Mark Liberman posted on this Doonesbury cartoon:
Rich in material. The main thing I want to note (as Mark did) is a sense development in the slang verb rock, from an older sense, around at least since 1990 (‘impact strongly’), to a newer sense, the one in the cartoon, around since at least 2007 (‘wear or display conspicuously or proudly’); this is a change from a more objective sense to a more subjective one, such as Elizabeth Traugott has repeatedly discussed.
The Christmas holidays approach, and we get all sorts of word plays on seasonal themes. Here are three decidedly gay ones.
Today’s Zippy, back on the diner track:
The text of the strip veers Zippy-fashion through politics, art (Andrew Wyeth), and pop food (Mallomars), to culminate in an outrageous pun on “I never met a man I didn’t like” (attributed to Will Rogers).
Three cartoons from Saturday: a Dilbert (on the nature of human beings); a Pearls Before Swine (with yet another ambiguity); and a Zippy (on politics, sort of).
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).
Back on the 19th, in a collecion of miscellany, I reported (in item 4) on the porn film title Pacific Rim Job: an overlap of Pacific Rim and rim job ‘anilingus / analingus’. Which made me reflect on sexual X job expressions, a small family of compounds referring to sexual acts, of which three are especially frequent: blow job and rim job (of the form V + job) and hand job (of the form N + job). So to other snowclonelet composites examined on this blog and Language Log (among them, X fag, X porn, X queen, X rage, X virgin, X whore, X drag, X magnet, X Nazi, X slut, X porn, X police), we can now add X job.
On the TribLive website (of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) on August 30th: “Book strives to make journalese crystal clear” by Rob Kyff, about:
journalese — a bland paste of buzzwords, jargon and overused words served up by newspapers, TV stations and websites every day.
Veteran writers Paul Dickson and Robert Skole have collected and defined hundreds of journalistic cliches in their new book “Journalese: A Dictionary for Deciphering the News” (Marion Street Press, $14.95). We read and hear these terms all the time, of course, but “eyeballing” this “laundry list” provides us with “growing evidence” of a “widespread problem.”
As they tell it, Dickson and Skole are out neither to stamp out journalese nor to celebrate it, but merely to document it — though the book veers between extreme attitudes about formulaic language in the media, sometimes mocking it, sometimes noting its utility.