Following up on my posting on “How are you?” (and the answer “(I’m) fine”): mail to the NYT. A response much like mine, but more detailed, from linguist Deborah Tannen, and another peeve about conventional idioms of social life. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Social life’ Category
In the NYT on the 20th, a piece ,”The ‘How Are You?’ Culture Clash” by Aline Simone, on a difference between Russian and American conversational patterns, having to do with the question “How are you?” and the answers it gets.
All over Facebook recently, this site, on “Fake Signs in London Underground”. Here are two of some linguistic interest — on visual communication in social space and on apologies:
Other signs have extra stations: Shepherd’s Pie, Stop Staring, The End, Nightmare on Elm St. And one station offers a submarine to Somalia.
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.
Today’s Dilbert, with the pointy-headed boss and Catbert:
Note the internal contradiction: I want diversity of thought, so long as everyone agrees with me.
This fine New Yorker cartoon by Arnie Levin, sent to me by Sally Page Byers and Amanda Walker (along with an X-rated composition by Pierre et Gilles and an X-rated photograph by Wolfgang Tillmans; posting on Tillmans on AZBlogX, here):
A play on the proverbial “An elephant never forgets”.
(More about social and business life than about language, but today’s Dilbert struck a chord in many readers when I posted it on Facebook, so I thought I’d post it for a somewhat different audience.)
Dress for success.
(And awesome is a nice word choice in this context — conveying self-conscious hipsterdom.)
Today’s Scenes From a Multiverse:
In everyday dealings, we tend to judge the stages of life by physical and behavioral signs, and the categorization is somewhat fuzzy, but for legal and administrative purposes, crisp categorizations are necessary, and chronological age provides the basis for them — however irrational it might seem to label someone as a child one day and an adult the next.
In this case, Jon Rosenberg is remarking not only on that irrationality, but also (as his comments on the strip make clear) on the bizarreness of treating gay adults (however adult is defined) as unsafe or untrustworthy in a way that gay kids are not. (I note further that the onset of puberty comes well before the age of 18.)
In the NYT on the 21st, this entertaining story by Sarah Lyall: “Common Gnomes Pop Up at Rarefied Flower Show, to Horror of Many”, where it is reported that:
it was not surprising that the staid Royal Horticultural Society‘s decision to allow garden gnomes — creatures commonly associated with the landscapes of the unrich, the unfamous and the untasteful — at the Chelsea Flower Show this year elicited a variety of responses.
… Gnomes, which are called “brightly colored mythical creatures” in the handbook governing the show, are not really part of the Chelsea aesthetic. (Nor are balloons, flags, “feather flags,” or “any item which, in the opinion of the society, detracts from the presentation of the plants or products on display,” the handbook reads.)
Four topics come up in the article: social class in the UK; the two words gnome (and gnomic etc).; conversion of proper names to count nouns; and playful gnome-related morphology.
Discussion of a brief note I posted here a couple of days ago, on boss as an address term, brings up two points; the need to clarify what kind of address term is at issue in this case; and the difficulty of gauging the sociolinguistic status of some usage, when all you have to go on is your own experience.