Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

Books: cartoon/comic classics

February 28, 2015

Published late in 2014, two books on classic cartoons and comics, with non-overlapping subjects:

Richard Gehr. 2014. I Only Read it for the Cartoons: The New Yorker’s Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists.  Houghton Mifflin. (With a foreword by Matt Groening.)

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Monte Beauchamp. 2014. Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World. Simon & Schuster. (16 graphic biographies.)

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Antisocial

February 27, 2015

Today’s Zippy:

Resistance to modern communications technology, both hardware and software, is a recurrent theme in Zippy. This time it’s social media under fire from our Pinhead.

Comic conventions

February 26, 2015

Two cartoons today touching on conventions of the comics: A Calvin and Hobbes on conventional characters in the comics and a Zippy on the conventions of surrealistic cartooning:

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The thieving sap spitter

February 26, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, which is, well, bizarre:

Not only do we have a thieving bird that carries off letters of the alphabet, we have one that takes them from the cartoon itself. Bizarre indeed.

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Return of the word avalanche

February 26, 2015

Yesterday’s Pearls Before Swine, with a word avalanche:

As before in Pearls, the strip goes meta when the cartoonist is taken to task for his word play.

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fraug

February 25, 2015

Yesterday’s Rhymes With Orange:

Presumably Hilary Price’s intention was that the spelling FRAUG, pronounced [frɔ:ɡ], should represent a combination of FROG — pronounced [frɑ:ɡ] or [frɔ:ɡ], depending on your variety of American English — and FRAUD, pronounced [frɔ:d] for many American speakers, but [frɑ:d] for American speakers who level [ɔ:] and [ɑ:] in favor of the latter (the “COT-CAUGHT merger”: both these words are pronounced [kɑ:t], DAWN and DON are both [dɑ:n], and SHAW and SHAH are both [ʃɑ:]).

[Addendum: an earlier posting on frog and fraud has a Discover Card commercial that plays on a confusion between the two.]

Ode to Almond Joy

February 24, 2015

Today’s Zippy, with a candy-bar parody of Schiller’s Ode to Joy (An der Freude), used by Beethoven in the last movement of his Ninth Symphony:

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Almond Joy, Mounds, Mars bars! Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.

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gormless

February 23, 2015

Today’s One Big Happy, in which it turns out that Ruthie isn’t the only character who’s unsure about word meanings:

NOAD2 identifies gormless as informal and specifically British, so it’s no surprise that the adults don’t know what it means (though the appalling Avis takes it back to a putative noun stem gorm, which she treats as a mass noun (gormless ‘without gorm, lacking gorm’), though it could be a count noun (gormless ‘without gorms, lacking gorms’)).

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lost

February 22, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, continuing Piraro’s ambiguity theme:

PST lost of the transitive verb lose, used here in a specialized subsense of a ‘be deprived of’ sense. From NOAD2:

be deprived of (a close relative or friend) through their death or as a result of the breaking off of a relationship: she lost her husband in the fire.

This in contrast to an ‘unable to find’ sense:

become unable to find (something or someone): I’ve lost the car keys.

How do we work out that these two senses intersect in the cartoon?

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Tech talk

February 21, 2015

Today’s Dilbert, in which the pointy-headed boss asks for investment advice:

The boss is fine with colorful figurative jargon in the investment world, but balks at the term diversification because of the spelling challenges it presents.


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