Archive for the ‘Conversion’ Category

Ruthie verbs away

July 1, 2014

A recent One Big Happy:

Ruthie is verbing names of locations: shed, porch. Granting that she’s a cartoon character, we can nevertheless speculate that she’d heard the verb shed and connected it to the familiar noun shed. Then porch by analogy.

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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Coping with the new

June 2, 2014

In today’s One Big Happy, Ruthie and Joe are back on the track of trying to make sense of things they haven’t heard before:

  (#1)

Lots of knowledge needed here — about the words of English and about sociocultural conventions:

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May-June turnover

June 1, 2014

A One Big Happy from yesterday (May 25), on conversational organization; and then three from this morning’s (June 1st) crop: a Bizarro with an ambiguity introduced by truncation; yet another meta-Zippy, this time on reports of Zippy’s death; and a Rhymes With Orange with a pun from the Black Lagoon.

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Three more diverse

May 24, 2014

Three recent cartoons on divergent subjects: a Bizarro with language play turning on ambiguity; a Scenes From a Multiverse with metacommentary by the characters; and another classic Watergate Doonesbury, from 1974, with the denominal verb to stonewall.

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-ify again

January 18, 2014

Last installment, on bossification, here. Now, a double-header, with Shoreditchification and hipsterfication (plus simple verbing of Shoreditch). From the Telegraph, Alex Proud on 1/13/14, “Why this ‘Shoreditchification’ of London must stop: The relentless hipsterfication of run-down urban areas leaves a bad taste in Alex Proud’s mouth”. From the piece:

But bear with me here. What I hate more than Shoreditch itself is the idea of Shoreditch and the way that so many of London’s neighbourhoods have been Shoreditched, are being Shoreditched or will be Shoreditched.

… Shoreditch is just a metonym for all those unlucky pieces of real estate that have had the hipster formula applied to them. The real problem is hipsters themselves.

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-ify rolls on

January 12, 2014

A recent Dilbert, already posted on Language Log:

 

Mark Liberman posted this to comment on management styles, but there’s also the word bossification.

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ballhawk

October 4, 2013

In the latest (October 7th) New Yorker, a Talk of the Town piece, “Dept. of Accumulation: Ballhawks” by Reeves Wiedeman, beginning:

Zack Hample caught his first major-league baseball when he was twelve — a defining moment in most American childhoods, but one that left him unsatisfied. If I can catch one ball, he thought, why not a thousand? Two decades later, a thirty-six-year-old bookstore clerk, with a shaved head and a soul patch, he is now the world’s preëminent ballhawk.

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Wednesday puns

July 31, 2013

Two of today’s cartoons: a Dilbert and a Pearls Before Swine, both with elaborate puns:

(#1)

This turns on the verb weasel, plus the legal phrase (beyond a) reasonable doubt (plus the derivation of adjectives in -able from verbs).

(#2)

And this one turns on the noun and verb hex, plus the food compound Tex-Mex.

In each case, “getting” the comic requires two pieces of information, from different spheres. (And both beyond weaselable doubt and Hex Mex could be viewed either as elaborate imperfect puns or as complex portmanteaus:  weaselable + beyond reasonable doubt, hex + Tex-Mex.)

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Screwball comedy

July 1, 2013

Today’s Zippy, another installment in the Barbara Stanwyck retrospective (Stella Dallas (1937) here, Double Indemnity (1944) here):

Zippy and Zerbina are coping with the plot of the alliterative The Mad Miss Manton of 1938.

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