Monday quartet

Four varied cartoons in this morning’s crop: a Zits on address terms; a Scenes From a Multiverse on symbols; a Rhymes With Orange on case-marking of pronouns with than; and a Zippy reviving Doggie Diner.





One by one …

Naming and addressing. In #1, Jeremy is unsure about anybody’s name, so he falls back on a string of vernacular address terms: dude, bro, man. Sara calls him out on it.

Phallicity. In #2 (“Close But No Cigar”, the title alluding to the idiom conveying ‘almost correct, but not quite’, on the net here) we learn about the Supercigar, which goes beyond phallic.

Case-marking with than. In #3, we see extreme peeving, both from the ER patient (who felt free to “correct” some guy’s pronoun case with than) and from the guy who was “corrected” (who exploded in usage rage, to the point of bodily harm).

Two previous postings on this blog on the issue. The first (from 1/23/12) had a capsule history of opinions on case marking with than:

On case-marking with than: this is a celebrated issue in the usage literature, usually framed as the question of whether than is a preposition or a conjunction (when it’s in combination with a NP; when it’s in combination with a clause, it’s a subordinator — in traditional terms, a type of conjunction). MWDEU has an article (pp. 892-3) on the question, tracing it back to Lowth 1762 (who maintained than was a conjunction, probably on analogy with the situation in Latin) and Priestley 1769 (who said it was a preposition).

Lowth’s position amounts to the claim that than + NP is elliptical, so that … the case of the NP is the one appropriate within the full (non-elliptical) clause

… Priestley’s position was that than is always a preposition, so a following NP must be accusative. The analogy here would be to temporal before and after, which take the accusative even when a following NP is understood as a subject

… My own preference is very strongly for accusative case …; nominatives for pronouns understood as subjects [as the ER patient in #3 tried to insist on] sound artificial, even hypercorrect, to me. But these … nominatives continue to appear.

The nominatives continue to appear, but along with a great many accusatives.

The second posting (from 9/7/12) concerns the nominative advice run amok:

It looks like this is (another) case in which ellipsis-based advice about than (already an imperfect guide to usage) has frozen into the dogma that than requires nominative, not accusative, pronouns. Unfortunately, bad usage advice tends to erode people’s sense of how their language works and leads to things like [“the operation is much bigger than he” – which does not convey ‘the operation is much bigger than he is’, but rather something like ‘the operation involves people other than him, more (people) than him’]

Zippy comforts a Doggie in distress. Doggie’s story, from a 12/27/13 posting quoting from Wikipedia:

The most notable feature of the Doggie Diner chain was the 7 ft tall fiberglass sign, of a large  rotating head of a grinning dachshund dog, wearing a bow tie and a chef’s hat. These famous dog head signs were designed in 1965 or 1966 by Harold Bauchman. After the Doggie Diner went out of business, all the large dog head signs were taken down, many were resold to private parties. One of the dog signs is currently located at Sloat Boulevard at 45th Avenue on a median strip near San Francisco’s Ocean Beach and the San Francisco Zoo in the Outer Sunset neighborhood, restored and refurbished by the city of San Francisco. On August 11, 2006, the Doggie Diner dog head became a San Francisco landmark No. 254.

Back in January, the San Francisco Examiner reported on a campaign to save a further trio of Doggie Diner heads, playfully named Manny, Moe, and Jack, after the three Pep Boys mascots.

One Response to “Monday quartet”

  1. Michael Vnuk Says:

    ‘Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar,’ is the first line of Pink Floyd’s ‘Have a Cigar’ from their album ‘Wish You Were Here’.

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