Archive for the ‘Social life’ Category

Accents?

May 19, 2014

From several sources on Facebook (but ultimately from the Oatmeal webcomic), this item:

 

This is accent taking in all aspects of a variety of a language, not just the phonological aspects. In this case, phonology is barely involved (though you can imagine some of it, using stereotypes of upper-class British pronunciation)): it’s all about lexical choices, register/style, and conversational topic (leaning heavily towards the sexual) — obscure, perhaps archaic, and pompously rakish.

(This is another case in which I don’t really know whether the item is to be classified as a cartoon, or what.)

Five for Friday

May 18, 2014

Five items, several of which lead to more complex topics: a Harry Bliss cartoon that I caught, reprinted, in the Funny Times for May; a Zippy on art forgery; a One Big Happy with a kid eggcorn; a Zits with alliteration and rhyme (and the sexual marketplace); and a Rhymes With Orange on consonants and vowels.

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Shared culture

April 27, 2014

Frank Bruni in an op-ed piece in the NYT on April 8th, “The Water Cooler Runs Dry”, which began:

If you’re closing in on 50 but want to feel much, much older, teach a college course. I’m doing that now, at 49, and hardly a class goes by when I don’t make an allusion that prompts my students to stare at me as if I just dropped in from the Paleozoic era.

Last week I mentioned the movie “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Only one of the 16 students had heard of it. I summarized its significance, riffling through the Depression, with which they were familiar, and Jane Fonda’s career, with which they weren’t. “Barbarella” went sailing over their heads. I didn’t dare test my luck with talk of leg warmers and Ted Turner.

I once brought up Vanessa Redgrave. Blank stares. Greta Garbo. Ditto. We were a few minutes into a discussion of an essay that repeatedly invoked Proust’s madeleine when I realized that almost none of the students understood what the madeleine signified or, for that matter, who this Proust fellow was.

And these are young women and men bright and diligent enough to have gained admission to Princeton University, which is where our disconnect is playing out.

The bulk of that disconnect, obviously, is generational. Seemingly all of my students know who Gwyneth Paltrow is. And with another decade or two of reading and living and being subjected to fossils like me, they’ll assemble a richer inventory of knowledge and trivia, not all of it present-day.

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Communicators

April 27, 2014

Two cartoons today — a Zits and a Bizarro — about communicating:

(#1)

(#2)

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Labeling

March 15, 2014

Today’s Zippy:

 

Griffy and Zippy consider carrying identifying labels about their place in the social order. Serbio-Ethiopio-Greco-Roman is especially nice; there can’t be a lot of people claiming that as their ethnic heritage.

Then there’s Zippy in the last panel with another of his yet questions (the lineage of the formula goes back to Are we having fun yet?, a Griffith invention discussed every so often on this blog).

More “How are you?”

January 25, 2014

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…)

“I’m fine”

January 22, 2014

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.

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London Underground

January 22, 2014

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:

(#1)

(#2)

Other signs have extra stations: Shepherd’s Pie, Stop Staring, The End, Nightmare on Elm St. And one station offers a submarine to Somalia.

-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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Diversity

December 2, 2013

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.


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