Archive for the ‘Compounds’ Category

X bar

October 18, 2014

Yesterday’s Bizarro:

The compound hippo bar, with head bar ‘establishment where alcohol is served’ — so it’s subsective: a hippo bar is a kind of bar. It’s also an instance of a snowclonelet composite X bar, a snowclonelet I hadn’t previously looked at — in this case a subtype of X bar in which X characterizes (directly or indirectly) the patrons of the bar. The model for hippo bar in the cartoon is gay bar ‘bar catering to gay people (esp. men)’, and that adds to the humor in the cartoon: to start with, a hippo in a bar; then the idea of a bar catering to hippos; and then, the zinger, the guy who didn’t know the place was a hippo bar, the way some guys turn up in a gay bar maintaining that they had no idea the place was a gay bar.

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Morphology Friday 2: back-formed freedom-fight

October 3, 2014

Today’s Doonesbury blast from the past:

 

Start with the synthetic compounds freedom fighter and freedom fighting. From which by back-formation comes a verb to freedom-fight, of the form N + V. Which then has a PST using the PST of its head fight: freedom-fought. Voilà.

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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