Archive for the ‘Inflection’ Category

Morphology Friday 3: the verbing screen-shot

October 3, 2014

From Dennis Preston yesterday, a report from the Twitterverse on Wednsday (10/1), in which:

Apparently a Grand Jury member in the Ferguson [MO] shooting put up a message which suggested outside contact and immediately took it down. But not before somebody “screenshotted” it.

From @ShaunKing:

Within seconds of posting this, her friends told her to delete it and she did. It was screenshotted first.

Start with the N + N compound screenshot. Then verb it (convert it directly to a verb), to get to screenshot, which will then be inflected regularly, to give PST/PSP screenshotted.


Noir 1949

June 14, 2014

The Zippy from the 11th takes Zippy back, in a Pontiac, to a cinematic 1949:


The film noir movies in question (from that year) are, in order, The Big Steal and Cover Up. And the first features one of the major figures of film noir, the icon of masculinity Robert Mitchum:

Robert Charles Durman Mitchum (August 6, 1917 – July 1, 1997) was an American film actor, author, composer and singer. … Mitchum rose to prominence for his starring roles in several major works of the film noir style, and is considered a forerunner of the anti-heroes prevalent in film during the 1950s and 1960s. (Wikipedia link)


OBH roundup

March 28, 2014

It started with this One Big Happy cartoon, clipped from a newspaper and sent to me by Benita Bendon Campbell:



God’s Grammar Cactus

February 7, 2014

Found via the net, this cartoon:

Inflectional morphology and (somewhat absurdly) social context.


Playing with French morphology

September 15, 2013

From Benita Bendon Campbell, this reminiscence of a moment during her time in Paris with Ann Daingerfield Zwicky, many years ago:

Ann and I and aother friend were having afternoon tea at our local café on the Boulevard Saint Germain. The patron and patronne had just acquired a German shepherd puppy named Rita. In French, a German shephejrd is “un berger allemand.” Our friend remarked that Rita must be “une bergère allemande” — or a Gereman shepherdess. That is funny in French as well as in English. (The correct form is “une femelle berger allemand.” The name of the breed is invariable.)

Bonnie’s sketch of une bergère allemande:


Another OBH roundup

May 16, 2013

From Benita Bendon Campbell, three more One Big Happy strips: on questions, compound nouns, and tense in nouns. And then, as a bonus, four strips on Ruthie’s interpretations of words.


Irregularized jack-knives, regularized jack-knifes

April 25, 2013

Caught in passing in some tv commercial: “It never jack-knives”. With jack-knives as the 3sg PRS of the verb jack-knife — though the standard verb form is jack-knifes. The irregular verb form is obviously modeled on the irregular PL jack-knives of the *noun* jack-knife, inherited from its head noun knife (PL knives); the 3sg PRS of the verb knife is the regular knifes.



March 17, 2013

Paul Krugman (“After the Flimflam”, about Paul Ryan’s budget proposals) on the 15th in the NYT:

Way back in 2010, when everybody in Washington seemed determined to anoint Representative Paul Ryan as the ultimate Serious, Honest Conservative, I pronounced him a flimflam man.

… Since then, his budgets have gotten even flimflammier.

Some nice morphology.


on many’s the Saturday night

March 11, 2013

From John Patrick Shanley’s “The Darkness of an Irish Morning”, NYT op-ed piece on the 10th:

I am not Irish. I am Irish-American. Some say I have the gift [of gab] as well. If I do, it is because I listened to my father and my uncles and some of my aunts as they gave as good as they got in my living room in the Bronx. On many’s the Saturday night, they would drink rye and ginger ale, and smoke and talk and sing and dance, and I would sing, too, and dance with my aunts, and listen through the blue air.

The linguistic point is on many’s the Saturday night, with many’s, which has the (apparent) inflectional affix -s not motivated by the structure.There’s a connection to Irish English.


In a syntactic quandary

February 9, 2013

An abstract I have submitted for the 2013 Stanford Semantics Fest (on March 18th). The abstract is quite compressed; it had to fit in a single page of text.



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