I discover that I never posted the handout for my 2012 Stanford Semantics Festival talk, “Parts of the Body”. Here it is, somewhat belatedly (and with somewhat awkward formatting):
Archive for the ‘Language and the body’ Category
(The title provides a warning for the sensitive.)
On the 11th on Facebook, Greg Parkinson commented on steroid-induced gynecomastia, with this image:
Tom Kirkland followed up with:
What surprises me is … how large the fan base for bitchtits [is].
(introducing the slang bitchtits for gynecomastia; bitchtits would be doubly unsuitable for the New York Times, which treats both parts of the compound as taboo, unacceptable in print; also note the syntax).
From Ellen Seebacher on Facebook, this puzzling ad:
From Chris Ambidge yesterday, an Ivy League nude posture photo — an image from an odd moment in American collegiate history. Here’s the photo with the naughty bits fuzzed over:
The Ivy League nude posture photos were taken in the 1940s through the 1970s of all incoming freshmen at certain Ivy League and Seven Sisters colleges (as well as Swarthmore), ostensibly to gauge the rate and severity of rickets, scoliosis, and lordosis in the population. Harvard had its own such program by the 1980s. The larger project was run by William Herbert Sheldon and Earnest Albert Hooton, who may have been using the data to support their theory on body types and social hierarchy. What remained of the images were transferred to the Smithsonian and most were destroyed between 1995 and 2001.
Neurology is different in Dingburg.
Then there’s the name Pons Varoli.
Scrolled past in the avalanche of spam this morning, a penis enlargement ad that promised to give me Cockzilla. Surprisingly, I hadn’t noticed this use of the libfix -zilla (from Godzilla) before — but it’s all over porn, straight and gay. And it’s spawned Blackzilla and Whitezilla, in which the cock is silent (but understood).
Some time ago on Facebook, several posters ended up chatting about the vocabulary for talking about a gay man’s anal virginity. The term cherry plays a central role in this vocabulary domain — taken over, like some other sexual vocabulary, from reference to women and their sexuality.
Via Ellen Seebacher, a link to a HuffPo piece on
Cliteracy 101: Artist Sophia Wallace Wants You To Know The Truth About The Clitoris
Yes: clitoris + literacy.
Sophia Wallace isn’t the first to coin the word, but she’s made it into a big campaign.
From John Wells this morning, this advertisement (“currently to be seen on suburban commuter trains in the London area”) for a pharmacy that supplies medication for erectile dysfunction:
To appreciate the ad, you need to know some BrE slang, which John has been kind enough to explicate:
As you see, the copy cleverly incorporates two ambiguities (double entendres). One is ‘tackle’, which as well as the sports term for “attack” is also BrE slang for male genitalia [seen recently on this blog from an Australian source, here]; the epithet ‘harder’ is applicable to both. The other is ‘keepy-uppy’ (also keepie-uppie), “the activity of making a football go up and down in the air many times without touching the ground, using short light kicks to control the ball’s movements” (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English), but obviously also interpretable as the maintenance of penile erection.