Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

Saturday monster puns

July 19, 2014

Through what I assume is fortunate accident, two cartoons this morning with puns on the names of movie monsters: a Bizarro with “Creature from the black legumes” (black beans) and a Mother Goose and Grimm with a psychoanalyst asking Godzilla about his Mothra (mother):

(#1)

(#2)

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Elephants

July 18, 2014

Today’s Zippy, set not in a diner but at a carwash:

(#1)

Given the Space Needle in the background, the cartoon is clearly set in Seattle. And in fact Elephant Car Wash locations are all over the area. A representation in a Michael Birawer canvas painting:

(#2)

The title alludes to the idiom the elephant in the room.

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A Sunday quartet

July 14, 2014

Four cartoons from yesterday’s crop: a Zippy in a nameless diner; a Doonesbury on rumors; a One Big Happy on the spread of expressions and speech styles from the media; and another Bizarro collection of puns. The strips:

(#1)

(#2)

(#3)

(#4)

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dorkage

July 12, 2014

Today’s Zits, with jocular morphology and some (Wurst-style) phallicity as well:

 

Jeremy for Weenie World!

Then there’s dorkage.

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Layered portmanteaus

July 9, 2014

Today’s Bizarro:

 

A labradoodle performing magic: abracadabra [the magical incantation] + labradoodle = abracadabradoodle.

But labradoodle is itself a portmanteau: labrador (retriever) + poodle.

There are obvious limits to how far such layering can go on, since the bits of the contributing words quickly become hard to retrieve — though an illustration might help, as here.

Godzilla’s Manhattan

July 9, 2014

A recent Bizarro:

 

(I’ll get back later to the piece of pie in the center of the cartoon.)

Godzilla seems to hold an idea about proper names: roughly (though it’s hard to be sure about the mind of a cartoon monster) that referents sharing a name do so because of some intrinsic or natural identity between them, in this case that the Manhattan cocktail and the island (or borough) of Manhattan must share some intrinsic property: in Godzilla’s mind (given his experience), hordes of screaming people fleeing in fear.

But the cocktail comes up short in this respect.

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Cartooning at the diner

July 6, 2014

Today’s Zippy, with Zippy and Griffy on cartoon styles and men’s fashions:

(#1)

And, in the third panel, a diner — which turns out to be identifiable, and leads us to some surprising places (Mercury Comets and English pubs):

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Ruthie’s readings

July 5, 2014

Two recent One Big Happys:

(#1)

(#2)

Ruthie misunderstands a number of things here: in #1, the full cultural context of what she’s seeing on television, plus the interpretation of self-esteem issues (which she parses as selfish steam issues); and in #2, the interpretation of Oil of Olay (which she hears as Oil of Old Lady).

muster

July 2, 2014

Passed on by Karen Chung on Facebook, yesterday’s Daddy’s Home:

Pass mustard for pass muster is in the Eggcorn Database; it substitutes a familiar lexical item for a less familiar one (in this case, in an idiom). Semantically, pass mustard has the advantage over pass muster by consisting of familiar items, but the contribution of mustard to the meaning of the whole is not at all clear, so this looks like a demi-eggcorn.

The cartoon has another extension of mustard to the territory of muster, this time for metaphorical muster ‘summon up’ (with direct objects denoting feelings, attitudes, or responses), originally based on the military verb muster (as in muster troops). Again, it’s hard to see how mustard is a semantic improvement here.

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Anemone pun

July 1, 2014

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

Mistaken anemone for mistaken identity. Phonologically distant, but interpretable because mistaken identity is an idiom, a formulaic expression, which is, moreover, appropriate to the context of the cartoon.

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