For Memorial Day: the cookout

This is Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. — an occasion for picnics and cookouts and the like. Here’s a Barsotti cartoon (from the New Yorker archives) for the holiday:

There isn’t a lot of linguistic content here, but there is some. Understanding language involves not just comprehending literal meanings, but an enormous amount of other work, having to do with cultural setting, knowledge of the world, assessment of other’s people’s intentions, figuring out consequences of the literal meaning, and so on. In this cartoon, the wiener has failed to put together all the relevant pieces and so seems not to appreciate that the function of a wiener at a cookout is to be grilled and consumed as food.

One Response to “For Memorial Day: the cookout”

  1. New Yorker cartoons | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] to pasta. Wonderfully silly. There’s another Barsotti (of 5/22/09) on this blog, here, on a Memorial Day cookout. On Barsotti (born […]

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