Ten language-y comics

On the Comics Kingdom blog on Tuesday the 8th: “Tuesdays Top Ten Comics on Grammar and Wordplay” (with grammar, as usual, understood broadly). CK distributes strips from King Features; it’s one of my regular sources of cartoons for this blog. The strips here are all from 2014-15.

Commas. A Bizarro from 7/12/15:


Note asyndetic coordination (without and, using just commas), very common in headlines and the like, and the ambiguity of joined.

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Don Piraro says there are 8 in this strip — see this Page.)

A Mother Goose and Grimm from 1/13/14:


Something of a meme: close syntactic construction, with no comma, versus a comma settting off a vocative.

A Bizarro from 2/17/15, involving the vocative comma and also correction:


Correction of the non-standard adverb good for well (but without correction of degree real to really). Plus the vocative comma. And ambiguity of well (adverb vs. noun) and of the verb call. And a little joke on good grammar vs. well grammar. A lot — maybe too much — going on in only two panels.

(Just 1 symbol in the cartoon.)

Then just correction, in this Dustin of 1/8/15:


Briefly on the strip, from Wikipedia:

Dustin is a daily comic strip created by Steve Kelley, editorial cartoonist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and Jeff Parker, who holds the same position for Florida Today. It …  started running on January 4, 2010… Focusing on the present boomerang generation and post-2008 recession period, it also deals with varying topics from everyday life and social commentary.

On to lexical semantics, in the Retail of 6/28/14, on literally (another recurrent subject in the comics):


(On the usage literature about literally, with links to Language Log discussions, see my posting of 2/25/11.)

About the strip, from Wikipedia:

Retail is a syndicated comic strip … authored and illustrated by Norm Feuti. It made its newspaper debut on January 1, 2006, and then gained quickly in popularity following articles in The New York Times and TIME Magazine. [It’s set in a depatment store.]

On mechanics (spelling and punctuation), teens, and texting: the Pajama Diaries of 1/31/15:


About the strip, from Wikipedia:

The Pajama Diaries is a syndicated comic strip created in 2006 by Terri Libenson, an artist who has also done work for American Greetings. It is narrated by Jill Kaplan, a wife of a loving husband and working mom of two young girls in a Jewish family somewhere in Ohio done in real-time fashion, where the characters age with the progressive years of the series and deals with varying topics from the everyday silliness and dramas of life to social commentary.

And on non-standard English (and slang), the Curtis of 2/11/14:


Curtis is a nationally syndicated comic strip written and illustrated by Ray Billingsley. It began on October 3, 1988, and is syndicated by King Features.

The strip mostly involves the title character, Curtis, getting in trouble at home and school, trying in many attempts to make his father, Greg, quit smoking …, trying to win the heart of aspiring diva singer Michelle and stuffing his face.

Next a Rhymes with Orange (of 8/15/15) on the names of punctuation:


(“Rocky Raccoon”: Her name was Magill and she called herself Lil / But everyone knew her as Nancy)

Her name is Ellipsis and she calls herself Sis / But everyone knows her as Dot Dot Dot.

And the word play. The Bizarro of 12/30/14, on peace vs. peace in Zombieland:


(Just 1 symbol in the cartoon.)

Finally, app and happy, from the Six Chix of 12/4/14:


On the strip, from Wikipedia:

Six Chix is a collaborative comic strip … [that] debuted in January 2000. The series is drawn by six female cartoonists who rotate the drawing duties through the week based on a fixed schedule [#10 was done by Anne Gibbons.]

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