Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

Mighty Mouse

August 29, 2015

“Here I come to save the daaaaaaay!”, he sings (theme song by Mitch Miller).

The delightful animated cartoon that rocked the world in 1942 and went on for decades:


Freaks, then and now

August 29, 2015

Yesterday’s Zippy:

Bill Griffith has done a number of strips on Schlitzie, the movie Freaks, and sideshow attractions. That was then. Now we have a freak show on tv, one that specializes in demeaning revelations and angry confrontations. A dismaying take on social life.


Robots up the wazoo

August 28, 2015

Yesterday’s Dilbert, one in a series on robot technology in the workplace:

… up their asses (though the pointy-haired boss doesn’t get to finish the phrase because the C.E.O. understands where he’s going and continues his own thought).

In any case, the C.E.O.’s idea is to have robots up the wazoo, both literally (up the employees’ anuses) and figuratively (to have lots and lots of them).


Antacid or online tv?

August 28, 2015

Yesterday’s Zippy, with Griffy and Zippy as seniors on an outing with their walkers:

Are those names antacids or online tv services? Take two Acorns and watch some prime-time Nexium.

We’ve been in X-or-Y-land before, in “Cheese or font?” and “Cheese or font: The sequel”, where we also visited “Gay or Eurotrash?”, “X Face or O-Face?”, and “Plant or Disease?” (coreopsis: plant or disease?, stenosis: plant or disease?). The first and last are about names, the other two about properties of a referent.


Jeremy drops an F-bomb

August 26, 2015

In Today’s Zits:

I especially like the F-bomb icon.

For your use: an icon:

Warnings on the label

August 26, 2015

Yesteday’s Bizarro

Trying to cover every base, attempting to protect the maker from any imaginable misuse of the product by the buyer.

Oh yes, do not break off legs and stick them up your nose.

going better with

August 25, 2015

Today’s Zits:

Jeremy plays with the template

GBW (GoesBetterWith): Nothing goes better with X than Y

conveying something like ‘X and Y go very well together’; either X or Y can be taken to be the primary component in the combination.

But for Jeremy in the cartoon, X = Y, so what he’s conveying is that X is really really good. More bacon! More bacon!

GBW is a variation on an expression, but an expression that’s only weakly conventionalized: it can straightforwardly be understood literally, but it comes with an air of familiarity. It’s certainly not an snowclone, and it might not even count as a playful variation on some familiar expression. What would the model be?


What a hoot!

August 24, 2015

This morning’s Mother Goose and Grimm turns on a simple, silly ambiguity, but then the story gets more complicated:


First pass: hooters (1) ‘creatures that hoot, i.e., owls’ (straightforward derivational morphology, but specialized semantically) vs. Hooters, the restaurant chain fixated on hooters (2) N. Amer. vulgar slang for ‘a woman’s breasts’ (NOAD2).

Then there’s another sense, on which a Bizarro cartoon (posted here as #3 on 5/2/14) turns: hooters (3) informal ‘noses, esp. big noses’ vs. Hooters.

And at least one other important sense: hooter (4) esp. Brit. ‘an automobile horn’ —  that is, a thing that hoots (more straightforward derivational morphology).

But what about senses (3) and (2)?


Fidel of the Castro

August 23, 2015

The latest Funny Times arrived a couple days ago, and as usual there was a bunch of cartoons I laughed at, and some I wanted to post, but I couldn’t find usable copies or even identify the artists, despite trying several routes. Here’s my favorite of the set, a cartoon with no signature at all, and a style I didn’t recognize. So here, a description.

We see a burly Fidel Castro, with a smoking cigar in his hand and heavy-duty pecs on display, one notably pierced, plus metal stars in one pierced ear and on his epaulets. Titled as above: Fidel of the Castro, punning on his family name and the name of the San Francisco street that gives its name to The Castro, the gayborhood.

Leads to the cartoon would be much appreciated.

Falling trees

August 23, 2015

Yesterday’s Bizarro puts a fresh twist on an old philosophical puzzle:

Previously on this blog, a Zippy (posted 10/15/12) on a related theme, with the punning punch line:

If a red-breasted nuthatch sings in a forest & there’s no one there to google it, did it post a tweet?

So what does it refer to in the top panel? In the old conundrum, it refers to the falling of the tree. But in the bottom panel, it refers to the tree itself, which turns out to have the power of speech; it can certainly make a sound (of its own volition).



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 855 other followers