We need to talk

A little while back, we looked at language and the sexes through the eyes of a cartoonist, Don Piraro on “We need to text”. Back in the New Yorker of 12/25/95, Leo Cullum took on “We need to talk” in a different context:

“We need to talk” in this context can have two different imports: as a (socially fraught) statement of necessity implicating a request for couples-talk, or as a statement of necessity for the two of them to begin the evolution of language. The difference between the two can be traced back to the interpretation of the intransitive verb talk, as (respectively) an intransitive verb understood reciprocally (‘We need to talk to/with one another’) and as a plain intransitive; it’s the difference between “Kim and Sandy didn’t talk until they’d known each other for six months” and “As a baby, Kim didn’t talk for six years”.

7 Responses to “We need to talk”

  1. The figs of fear « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Arnold Zwicky's Blog A blog mostly about language « We need to talk […]

  2. How language came to be - 22 Words Says:

    […] (via) […]

  3. Gag cartoons « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] “We need to talk” cartoon (on the caveman theme, from the New Yorker of 12/25/95) here, and described this “self-deprecation” cartoon (on the corporate boardroom theme, from […]

  4. We need to talk, more takes « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] 2. A Leo Cullum cartoon, cavewoman to caveman: “We need to talk” in this context can have two different imports: as a (socially fraught) statement of necessity implicating a request for couples-talk, or as a statement of necessity for the two of them to begin the evolution of language. The difference between the two can be traced back to the interpretation of the intransitive verb talk, as (respectively) an intransitive verb understood reciprocally (‘We need to talk to/with one another’) and as a plain intransitive; it’s the difference between “Kim and Sandy didn’t talk until they’d known each other for six months” and “As a baby, Kim didn’t talk for six years”. (link) […]

  5. The start of language | The News Patroller Says:

    […] Source /* Tweet reddit_url = "http://thenewspatroller.com/the-start-of-language/"; reddit_title = "The start of language"; Leave a comment! Written by admin Posted in Funny /* […]

  6. Can we talk? | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] three previous variants (notably, "we need to talk") on this blog: a Leo Cullum cartoon (here), a Zits (here), and a Bizarro […]

  7. Language evolution, cartoon summary | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] For a different take on the matter, see Leo Cullum’s “We need to talk” cartoon, here. […]

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