Archive for the ‘Compounds’ Category

hedgehogs

September 25, 2014

In a sale on the Mental Floss site, this delightful t-shirt:

N + N compounds are notoriously interpretable in many ways, so they lend themselves to (perfect) puns, as here, where two different senses of hedgehog are both at play.

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Cowboy Rub

August 25, 2014

From Tara Narcross-Wyckoff, a supermarket scene:

Two points of linguistic interest here: the noun rub; and the semantics of N + N compounds X rub. (Several observers have speculated on possibly raunchy interpretations of the product name Cowboy Rub. I’ll get to that.)

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Neon Vegas

August 9, 2014

Today’s Zippy, with Griffy and Claude at odds on sources of information:

(#1)

The setting for all three panels is Neon Las Vegas in its heyday.

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POP goes the taxi

July 31, 2014

Yesterday’s Rhymes With Orange:

A POP — phrasal overlap portmanteau — combining the clipped compound mani-pedi (a manicure plus a pedicure; see here) and the compound pedicab ‘pedal-operated taxi’.

paper cut

June 26, 2014

For years it was clasped firmly in the embrace of a plastic device with a magnetic strip on the back, which allowed it to be displayed on a refrigerator (or other metal surface). But then it somehow slipped out and, being almost weightless, wafted away on some breath of a breeze, until eventually it was discovered by a visitor, on the floor far from the refrigerator.

It’s a Chinese paper cut, depicting my animal from the Chinese zodiac, the dragon:

A gift from the students in my 1985 classes at the Beijing Language Institute (as it was then).

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Sunday jottings

June 22, 2014

Four items from the front matter in today’s New York Times Magazine: the compound poolside memoirs; the euphemism go to Spain; the term binky ‘pacifier'; and citronella for warding off mosquitoes.

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MUFFIN SAUSAGES WITH EGGS

June 18, 2014

That’s what was on the diner’s board giving the day’s breakfast specials a few days ago. How to interpret it?

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Annals of hybridity

April 7, 2014

Passed on by Jonathan Lighter, this story of the 4th from Herald Scotland:, “Meet Farmer Murphy’s geep (or shoat): now what will he call it?”

An Irish farmer who claims to have bred a cross between a sheep and a goat is seeking a name for the rare offspring.

… Similar crossings have been reported before in Chile, Jamaica, Malta and in Botswana, where scientists found a hybrid – known as the Toast of Botswana – had 57 chromosomes, a number in between that of sheep and goats.

In most cases the offspring is stillborn.

A photo:

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This week’s great typo

March 6, 2014

On ADS-L yesterday, Joel Berson relayed this story on upskirting (secretly photographing under a person’s clothing; the person is almost always a woman) from the Boston Globe:

Which the highest state court in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court — the oldest continuously functioning appellate court in America — has just ruled is not illegal.  The activity as well as the word should go viral.

The decision is that “a state law intended to prohibit ‘Peeping Tom’ voyeurism of completely or partially undressed people did not apply to people who take pictures of people who are fully clothed.”

(Yes, upskirting is a Prt + PRP compound; and there’s now a base and finite verb upskirt as well (of course).)

Berson commented:

It’s not clear to me whether the prosecutors blundered in choosing to bring charges under the “Peeing Tom” law when there might have been some other grounds.

To which Victor Steinbok wondered:

Peeing Tom? Did this happen on pubic transportation?

Indeed.

Two compounds

February 28, 2014

Two N-N compounds that came by me recently, one silly, one serious. Both are subsective: the referent of the compound as a whole is a subtype of the referent of the second (head) noun. But in neither case is the relationship between the two nouns straightforward.

First, today’s Bizarro:

Then there’s the N-N compound hope chest, heard dimly on some tv show as I was wakening from a nap.

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