Here in the U.S., it’s July 4th: Independence Day. So yesterday was, I suppose, Independence Eve. The 2nd was a notable anniversary, of the signing of the (U.S.) Civil Rights Act (of 1964, so that’s a 50th anniversary). And the 1st was Canada Day, to the north of us.
Archive for the ‘Pragmatics’ Category
Yesterday’s Zits, with Jeremy’s parents getting instruction on how to speak to his friends when they visit:
Grice’s Maxim of Quantity, in two parts:
Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of the exchange).
Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.
(Discussion on this blog here.)
The crucial point, of course, is what Jeremy thinks is required in such exchanges.
The Bizarro of 3/20/14, which I seem to have missed when it came up in March, but caught yesterday reproduced in the July issue of Funny Times:
An ambiguity — Miss France as a (NP) title in a beauty pageant vs. Miss France as a VP remnant of a declarative S, conveying ‘I miss France’. This gross difference in syntax and semantics corresponds to a pragmatic difference, whether the expression is viewed as printed on a sash (as in beauty pageants) or as the equivalent of a t-shirt slogan — very different sociocultural contexts.
A recent accumulation: a Scott Hilburn strip with a pun; a Zits on X-free foods; a very meta Zippy; and a Pearls Before Swine with heavy use of implicature.
Anthony Lane, reviewing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the May 5th New Yorker:
I lost count of the scenes in which Gwen and Peter thrash out the question of whether they should be a couple, and there is a sigh of relief in the cinema when she, deploying what philosophers would call a performative utterance, says simply, “I break up with you,” leaving us to wonder if she pulls the same trick in bed: “And now we approach the orgasm.”
Yesterday’s Classic Doonesbury from 1974 (#1, here) looked at the foul mouth of Richard Nixon (and his aides) from Watergate days. Today (again from 1974) we get the President defining the limits of what counts, in U.S. law, as a prosecutable defense (in ordinary language, what counts as illegal):
(Bonus from the Watergate tapes: Nixon’s paranoid anti-Semitism, in his bitter ravings about the Jews.)
Four recent cartoons, on varied subjects: two One Big Happy strips; a Bizarro with a portmanteau; and an ecard-like strip.
From yesterday, a Luann passed on by David Craig on Facebook, and a Basic Instructions passed on by Scott Meyer, also on Facebook:
On the wording of ads, and on aggressive humor (in this case, knock-knock jokes).
On April 25th, on ADS-L, from Pat O’Conner (of Grammarphobia.com), under the heading “A crash blossom for the ages”:
Dare you to decipher this one, from Reuters (London) on April 16th:
“Stuttering Man City Held by Bottom Side Sunderland”
“Man City” is Manchester City, a football (soccer) team (or “side”). Sunderland is another; it plays in the lowest league (“bottom”).