Archive for the ‘Style and register’ Category

Ruthie and Joe again

August 29, 2014

In today’s One Big Happy, the kids do their best to cope with rare English vocabulary:

Ick.

I’m not at all inclined to use eschew in speech, and I seem to have used it only once in writing on the net. It’s awkwardly formal in style/register.

temblor

August 26, 2014

We had an earthquake in northern California in the middle of the night on Sunday. Centered in Napa County, where it did some significant damage. Down here on the peninsula, we got some long shaking, but not much otherwise. My windows rattled, but nothing was harmed; not even the pictures on my walls were deranged.

Then there’s the media coverage, which prominently uses (in all quake reporting, but especially in headlines) the word temblor, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard in ordinary conversation; it seems to be a journalists’ word.

Maybe some journalists think that temblor is a technical, precise term and that (earth)quake is a colloquial and less precise term, but I can find no evidence for this idea. All the dictionaries I’ve looked at, plus the Associated Press Stylebook, treat temblor as a straightforward synonym for earthquake, with no referential distinction.

It’s true that temblor is shorter than earthquake, so it’s handy for for headlines. But the clipped quake is shorter than temblor, and has the advantage of easy comprehension. (Tremor is also compact and easy to understand.) But newspapers like the exotic temblor.

(more…)

MUFFIN SAUSAGES WITH EGGS

June 18, 2014

That’s what was on the diner’s board giving the day’s breakfast specials a few days ago. How to interpret it?

(more…)

DILF days

June 13, 2014

(Warning: Very high (gay) sexual content in the text of this posting. Pass on if you are under 18 or if such content doesn’t suit you.)

Father’s (or Fathers or Fathers’) Day is about to be upon us, so of course purveyors of porn are offering dad-oriented films. Well, daddy-oriented films, daddy-boy relationships being a gay specialty, in real life and even more in the fantasy world of Gayland, where DILFs abound.

(more…)

Language, religion, same-sex desire

June 2, 2014

An abstract for a talk by Erez Levon (Queen Mary, University of London) this coming Friday (1:30-3) at Stanford. I won’t be able to be there, but obviously the topic is of great interest to me.

(more…)

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.)

… plus four

May 18, 2014

Cartoon traffic since the five items I talked about in this posting: a Bizarro on passwords, then and now;  a Benjamin Schwartz New Yorker cartoon on Canadian eh; a One Big Happy on God talk; and a Zippy on Dagwood (Bumstead).

(more…)

Jargon time

January 26, 2014

The latest Dilbert:

 

Follow from the front …

Briefly noted: emphatic prenasalization

October 27, 2013

A commercial for Fiat of Burlingame that goes past me with some frequency ends with the name of the firm blared out emphatically — with strongly prenasalized [mb] in Burlingame.

Prenasalized stops do occur sporadically for some American English speakers, most notably in monosyllabic renditions of ‘bye (goodbye), with [mb], and ‘kay (OK), with [ŋk].

Ungrammatical truncation?

October 20, 2013

From Gail Collins’s op-ed column in the NYT yesterday, “A Ted Cruz On Every Corner”, about recent looniness from Texas lawmakers:

The old center-right standard-bearer, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is desperately trying to wipe out his reputation as a mainstream politician while he runs for re-election.

“I don’t know about you, but Barack Obama ought to be impeached,” he told a Tea Party gathering recently, with more fervor for the cause than for grammatical construction.

Collins doesn’t explain her objection, but I’m guessing she thinks that Dewhurst should have said:

“I don’t know about you, but I think Barack Obama ought to be impeached.”

(supplying the source of the opinion in the second clause). So she’s treating this case as (roughly) parallel to the truncation of as far as X goes / is concerned to just as far as, which has been widely reviled (for reasons I don’t fully understand).

(more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 237 other followers