While we slog through grading for Winter Quarter, two cartoons today: a Zits and and a Pearls about keeping secrets, or at least trying to.
Archive for the ‘Language of teenagers’ Category
Four recent cartoons, from several sources and of very different tones: a Bizarro, a Zits, a Doonesbury, and a Paul Noth New Yorker cartoon:
A Zippy on lexical semantics, and a wry Zits on watching your language:
Define sup, and distinguish the referent from slurp. The proper names are, as usual for Zippy, entertaining, and the title is a separate bit of language play.
The joke here, of course, is that Jeremy censors not just his speech — that would be routine — but also his thoughts.
A Roz Chast cartoon:
Generational differences. Slang. An inadvertent pun.
(Original lead from Jonathan Lighter on ADS-L. This image via Ben Zimmer.)
I’ll start with a three-strip series from One Big Happy:
The two features at issue here — the discourse particle like and “uptalk” (a high rising intonation at the end of declaratives) — have been much discussed in the linguistic literature. The popular, but inaccurate, perception is that both are characteristic of young people, especially teenagers, especially girls, and both features are the object of much popular complaint.
In Today’s Zippy, our pinhead reverts to adolescence on a snowboard:
The slang in the body of the strip — airdog, boned out, shred, shred the gnar, pop, nollie, pow-wow — is all genuine snowboarder slang, listed in the enormous collection of snowboarding terms here. The title, “Shagnasty”, is slang, but apparently not slang specific to snowboarding.
Friday’s Zits returns to some old themes for the strip:
The theme is that women — especially, teenaged girls — talk talk talk, in a rapid, never-ending stream, one sentence flowing into the next, one story into the next, without pause. You can’t get a word in edgewise, the saying goes. (The truth is far from this, of course.)
But Jeremy has found the solution, a very satisfying one: the punctuational kiss.
This is the latest in a series of strips about Jeremy and Sarah: Jeremy seems not to be listening to Sarah at all (and Jeremy’s father is presented as doing the same to Jeremy’s mother), and now, when Jeremy responds, it’s in monosyllables — he’s speaking, but not communicating.
That gives us two stereotypes at once: genderspeak and teenspeak. Males don’t listen, males are uncommunicative (especially when talking to females), and the teen stereotypes are for “laconic guys and gabby guys”.
In the strip above, Jeremy finally produces a minimally non-monosyllabic response. I doubt that it will satisfy Sarah.