Archive for January, 2014

Fun Is Bowling

January 28, 2014

Today’s Zippy, mostly about the Ten Pin Louisville, but with a point of linguistic interest:


This is of course a real place; Griffith doesn’t make such things up.


Flag food

January 28, 2014

(Not really about language, though certainly about signs and symbols. And food.)

From Andy Rogers, a link to this site on “National flags made from each country’s traditional foods”. Many of these are brilliant. Here’s a simple one: the Italian flag, made from basil, pasta, and tomatoes:


In my Columbus OH household, we often cooked and ate “Italian flag food” — with green, white, and red ingredients, though not necessarily these three.

But this version certainly is pretty.


January 28, 2014

Yesterday’s Dilbert, on average:


The cartoon uses average as a technical term — mean or median — and also as an ordinary language term, meaning ‘mediocre’, invidiously.

Postings on comics

January 28, 2014

Linguistics in the comics postings – December 2013
(postings on obscenicons are in a separate file)

These are postings about comics; asterisked items are those especially relevant to early parts of the Stanford freshman seminar on linguistics in the comics this winter quarter (2014).

what is a cartoon? Dinosaur Comics, xkcd
on speech balloons
A Softer World: comic?
wordless cartoons, words-only cartoons
“comicteer” or “dialoguenaut” for “cartoonist” (Dinosaur Comics)
division of labor in the comics: writer vs. artist, drawing vs. inking, story vs. realization, etc. (Zippy)
summer in the comics? – proposal
cartoon matters – gag cartoons
Alison Bechdel – graphic novel
bibliography – graphic novel
Raymond Briggs – graphic novel
speech and thought balloons
Bizarro on visual conventions
more Bizarro on visual conventions
Zippy: cartoon characters ageing
Zippy: cartoon characters ageing
Zippy: cartoon characters ageing
Bizarro on visual conventions: three fingers rather than four

comic-book genres, comics vs. cartoons

art, cartoons, illustration, etc.
the comics world and the real world; Zippy’s lg.
McCagg diagrams: cartoons?
“Panels That Always Work” by Wally Wood
Carvell slides on preparing the freshman seminar; Dubinsky & Holcomb
comics vs. graphic novels

comics vs. other forms; creation of comics; allusions to other comics
bubbles under water
the rise of webcomics

BZ, 2/7/13: The cyberpragmatics of bounding asterisks:
typographical conventions
subtractive cartooning
manga instruction books; Haida manga

Orthographic pun

January 27, 2014

Monday’s Bizarro:

IV ‘the 4th’ vs. IV ‘intravenous’. I am tremendously tickled by this.


January 27, 2014

This lovely coinage appeared recently on the Magic Coffee Hair site, in this cartoon:

A play on homophobic, of course.

Meanwhile, homophones are everywhere.

(The artist identifies himself merely as Jim. Webcartoonists are sometimes reclusive.)

Rising pitch

January 26, 2014

In the Stanford freshman seminar on language in the comics, the topic of rising intonation at the end of intonational units came, with the predictable impression from some (by no means all) of the students that it was associated with asking questions. And then I was pointed to a piece by artist Taylor Mali, “Speak with conviction”, complaining about “invisible quesion marks”. There’s a deep but understandable confusion here.


Band names in the

January 26, 2014

Neal Whitman on the Grammar Girl website on the 14th: “Why Some Band Names Take “The” and Others Don’t”. The Beatles (not Beatles) but Led Zeppelin (not The Led Zeppelin). And some — whatever the band’s own naming practices — sometimes go either way: (the) Talking Heads.


Cartoon etymology

January 26, 2014

A link from Karen Chung to this Joseph Fall cartoon of the 16th:


A naturalistic theory of word origins, based on letter shapes in the Latin alphabet. Preposterous, but entertaining.

Jargon time

January 26, 2014

The latest Dilbert:


Follow from the front …