Framing

Today’s Bizarro:

Punning on the verb frame.

The verb and its related noun do a lot of duty. A few highlights from the OED3 (Sept. 2011) entry for the verb:

To devise, invent, fabricate (a rule, story, theory, etc.); to contrive (a plot, etc.); to put together, fashion, compose; to put into words, express; to formulate.

To form, articulate, utter (words, sounds).

To set in a frame; to enclose in or as in a frame; to serve as a frame for.

Chiefly Literary Criticism and Literary Theory. Of a (section of) narrative: to enclose or introduce (the main narrative or narratives); to act as a frame story for.

To concoct a false charge or accusation against (a person); to devise a scheme or plot with regard to (someone); to make the victim of a frame-up.

So there are plenty of possibilities for further puns — for example, exploiting the ‘put into words, formulate’ sense of the verb as it’s used in talking about public discourse, especially political discourse (where choice of words strongly favors some interpretations over others). And then there’s the metaphorical sense of the noun frame in frame semantics (cue Chuck Fillmore):

Frame semantics is a theory of linguistic meaning that extends Charles J. Fillmore’s case grammar. It relates linguistic semantics to encyclopaedic knowledge. The basic idea is that one cannot understand the meaning of a single word without access to all the essential knowledge that relates to that word. For example, one would not be able to understand the word “sell” without knowing anything about the situation of commercial transfer, which also involves, among other things, a seller, a buyer, goods, money, the relation between the money and the goods, the relations between the seller and the goods and the money, the relation between the buyer and the goods and the money and so on. (link)

One Response to “Framing”

  1. Framing the message | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] (discussed in this posting on […]

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