Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

More quantum cat

April 16, 2015

From the 4/11 issue of New Scientist, this Tom Gauld cartoon:

We’ve been here before, in a Benjamin Schwartz New Yorker cartoon, posted here.


Hurt corporate feelings

April 9, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, on corporate personhood:

“Corporations are people”, Mitt Romney famously asserted in 2011, and this broad understanding of corporate personhood has led people to mock the doctrine by attributing all sorts of characteristics of natural persons to fictive ones, as above.


More mansplaining

April 9, 2015

Today’s Dilbert carries on the mansplaining theme from the 7th:

Fear the wrath of Alice!

Movies and tv: ethnic versatility (Shalhoub)

April 1, 2015

(Minimal linguistic content)

One more actor displaying ethnic versatility: Lebanese-American Tony Shalhoub (son of Lebanese-Americans, grew up in Green Bay WI). Some of his roles are not ethnically marked, but some are characters of Middle Eastern descent, and several are presented as ethnically Italian.


More plurals in compounds

March 31, 2015

From Jon Lighter to ADS-L on the 29th, under the heading “hypercorrect pluralization of attributives”, this posting (in its entirety):

(1) CNN is talking about “the Houthis rebels.”

(2) I’ve recently heard “the movies industry.”

(3) Plus (I hope you’re sitting down) “the aircrafts industry.”

Three examples of different sorts (though (2) and (3) are closely related, and (1) is more distantly connected to (2)). There’s a history here on ADS-L, going back at least to 2003. First, some notes on the examples; then a bit of the ADS-L history; then more on plurals in compounds.


literally literally

March 28, 2015

Today’s Zits:

Instances of literal literally are surely outnumbered these days by intensive literally, but there’s still a place for it.


to frog-march

March 11, 2015

From the NYT on the 9th, “Two Are Charged in Killing of Boris Nemtsov: by Neil MacFarquhar, beginning:

Moscow — Two Chechens, one a police officer who fought Islamic insurgents and the second a security guard, were charged in a Moscow court on Sunday in connection with the killing of Boris Y. Nemtsov, a leading Kremlin critic, while three other suspects were jailed pending further investigation.

… Given the intense national interest in the case, the arrival of the men in court was broadcast on state television. Uniformed security agents wearing black balaclavas frog-marched the suspects, bent over and wearing handcuffs, into the courthouse. Security forces established a tight cordon around it.

My interest is in the verb to frog-march here.


Joshua Fishman 1926-2015

March 3, 2015

On LinguistList (26.1159), two death notices for Joshua Fishman, from Ofelia Garcia at CUNY and from Ghil’ad Zuckerman in Adelaide. From Garcia:

A beloved teacher and influential scholar, Joshua A. Fishman passed away peacefully in his Bronx home, on Monday evening, March 1, 2015. He was 88 years old. Joshua A. Fishman leaves behind his devoted wife of over 60 years, Gella Schweid Fishman, three sons and daughters-in-law, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. But he also leaves behind thousands of students throughout the world who have learned much from him about sociology of language, the field he founded, and also about the possibility of being a generous and committed scholar to language minority communities. As he once said, his life was his work and his work was his life.

Joshua A. Fishman, nicknamed Shikl, was born in Philadelphia, PA, on July 18, Yiddish was the language of his childhood home, and his father regularly asked his sister, Rukhl, and him: “What did you do for Yiddish today?” The struggle for Yiddish in Jewish life was the impetus for his scholarly work. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters degree in 1947, he collaborated with his good friend, Max Weinreich, the doyen of Yiddish linguistics, on a translation of Weinreich’s history of Yiddish. And it was through Yiddish that he came to another one of his interests – that of bilingualism. …Yiddish and bilingualism were interests he developed throughout his scholarly life.

The local connection:

In 1988, he became Professor Emeritus [at Yeshiva University] and began to divide the year between New York and California where he became visiting professor of education and linguistics at Stanford University.

So for part of each year, he and I were colleagues. Learnèd, passionate, and humane — and with a delightful sense of humor.

Since 1895

March 2, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm, celebrating the history of the comics:


The cartoon takes Outcault’s Yellow Kid to be (in some sense) the first comic strip. This is disputable, but Outcault certainly deserves recognition.


Words for smells

February 16, 2015

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes:

We accept the conceit that Hobbes is a tiger, with many tigerish properties, but a sentient tiger with the power of speech and an extensive knowledge of our culture. But now it turns out that tigers have a linguistic culture of their own, to fit with their tigerish nature.


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