Archive for May, 2015

Hubert’s

May 31, 2015

Today’s Zippy, reminiscing:

(#1)

All true.

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What a difference 30 years makes: take 2

May 31, 2015

A paper given at Stanford on the 29th: “Pronouncing the Z’s: Epenthesis in English plural possessives” by Simon Todd (a Ph.D. student in linguistics). The beginning of the abstract:

The interaction between the English regular plural affix (PL) and possessive clitic (POSS) presents a theoretical puzzle (Zwicky, 1975). Both have the form /z/, and so the OCP [AZ: Obligatory Contour Principle] (Yip, 1998) predicts their combination (PL+POSS) should trigger epenthesis. Yet, in cases like my friends’ /fɹenz/ car, only PL is overtly realized. Why does the OCP fail to apply?

Two previous theories address this non-application of the OCP in PL+POSS constructions. The POSS-suppression theory (Stemberger, 1981; Zwicky, 1987) claims that POSS essentially inspects the morphological composition of its host and is actively suppressed by adjacent PL /z/, without exception. The alternative POSS-allomorphy theory (Bernstein & Tortora, 2005; Nevins, 2011) claims that POSS has a phonologically null allomorph, which is chosen when the possessor has the plural feature. Either POSS allomorph may be chosen for a singular possessor with embedded PL; thus, contra the suppression theory, epenthesis may be triggered in cases like the son of my friends’s /fɹenz ~ fɹenzəz/ car.

(Some of this is seriously technical, but try to get the drift.)

The crucial paper of mine comes from about 30 years ago, and the question can now be examined with tools that weren’t available then.

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Graphic autobiography: Harvey Pekar

May 31, 2015

Another “graphic novelist” from the list in my posting “Comics books”: Harvey Pekar. A self-portrait:

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Morning name: Pyrex

May 31, 2015

This morning’s name, for a type of glass, as in this measuring cup:

The Wikipedia page focuses on the different types of glass at issue and the companies that have made them. More interesting to me is the source of the name Pyrex, which is not known for sure.

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Sam Waterston

May 31, 2015

In the June 1st New Yorker, a brief piece “Stormy Weather: Sam Waterston plays Prospero, at the Delacorte” by Hilton Als:

(#1)

Illustration by Simón Prades

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Ruthie and large-scale formulas

May 30, 2015

Yet another cartoon for this Saturday: a One Big Happy:

Ruthie tackles a large-scale formula here — one that has no words rare in her experience, but they’re assembled in a way that makes no sense to her, so she mentally makes large-scale adjustments.

Shifty Grades of Fey

May 30, 2015

Today’s, groan, Bizarro:

An elaborate play on the title of E. L. James’s 2011 erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, with a rhyme substitute for each of the content words — shifty for fifty, grades for shades, Fey for grey — with the whole business worked into a fresh scenario.

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A phonologist’s cartoon

May 30, 2015

A cartoon for phonologists, by a phonologist, Stephanie Shih (posted here with permission):

A pun on the organic of organic farming and the organic of the technical term homorganic in phonology.

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Recursive giraffe

May 30, 2015

In searching for some other cartoons yesterday, I came across this entertaining New Yorker cartoon by Farley Katz:

Yes, a recursive giraffe: each of its “horns” (technically, ossicones) is a giraffe, and each of their horns is a giraffe, and so on.

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Earworms, snowmen, and parodies

May 30, 2015

In the June 1st New Yorker, this cartoon by Bob Eckstein:

(#1)

Not the first posting on this blog about earworms.

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