Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

Routine and sub-routine

October 4, 2015

Today’s Zits:

True, she just asked him to unload the dishwasher, and he did that. But the point of unloading the dishwasher is to put the clean dishes away, so that unload the dishwasher implicates put the clean dishes away. Or to put it another way, the routine of unloading the dishwater has a sub-routine of putting the clean dishes away.

As usual, Jeremy takes what his mother says as literally and narrowly as possible, so as to avoid work.

Sexual advance?

October 3, 2015

A Dilbert from a while back (9/23) with co-workers Alice and Ted at cross-purposes:

People are inclined to sexualize social relations between the sexes, to the point where some people are dubious that men and women can have non-sexually tinged friendships, and this inclination seems to be particularly strong among men. The rather dim-witted Ted is a pretty extreme case.



October 2, 2015

Yesterday’s Bizarro:


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Don Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

But all bits of language have to be understood in context — the immediate physical context, the immediate social context (who’s speaking, to whom, for what purposes), the larger socioicultural context, and the context of background knowledge about the world. The task of taking all this stuff into account is substantial, but we manage the task pretty well (though by no means flawlessly) all the time. Still, the task is especially complex for highly compressed material, as on signs.


Philip Bonneau

September 30, 2015

Posted on Google+ by Tim Evanson yesterday, this image of a half-naked male superhero, Captain Marvel, that is simultaneously sexy and funny — celebrating the beauty of this broad-shouldered model’s body as he assumes a Captain Marvel persona in a gently mocking way.


From the Flickr account of photographer Philip Bonneau, who’s an ornament of the Atlanta gay community and the creator of a Heroes + Villains series of male photography.


California squirrels

September 27, 2015

In the October Funny Times, a cartoon by Cara and Andy Singer, parodying the Beach Boys song “California Girls”. I haven’t been able to find an image anywhere, so I’ll talk you through the thing.


One space or two?

September 27, 2015

A recent Bloom County 2015, featuring, from left to right: Milo (a 10-year-old reporter, the politically engaged Milo Bloom), Opus the penguin, and Binkley (Michael Binkley, Milo’s best friend, also 10):

One space or two (after a sentence-final period), a perenially contentious issue.


The power of naming

September 27, 2015

Caught in the Funny Times for October, the Tom the Dancing Bug from 7/5/15:

Cute names save lives!

Two notes on Wondermark

September 26, 2015

The Wondermark of the 24th (Permalink here), with David Malki providing more sharp social / political commentary on attitudes about poverty, gender, and race:

Two linguistic points: the portmanteau fauxtopia, the plural poors.


Ruthie vs. N + N compounds

September 24, 2015

A recent One Big Happy, with Ruthie and monkey bread:


At issue is the N + N compound monkey bread.


Learning stuff

September 21, 2015

Passed on by John McIntyre, a Bloom County from some time ago about little kids and what they have to learn. And their mother and how she copes with their persistent inquiries:



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