Archive for the ‘Ambiguity’ Category

P-alliterative and tetrametric lines

August 11, 2018

…  front-accented (especially trochaic) tetrametric, in fact. Separately and in concert.  Notably combined in

purple rainbow puppy pen (SW SW SW S)

which is the household name for this object, recently acquired by Kim Darnell at a local vet’s office and now added to my cabinet of curiosities display:

(#1)

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Motherhood and stupid PAP

July 29, 2018

Starting around the 9th, making the rounds on Facebook, a Daily Mail (U.K.) story from 2016, with a disturbing video under the heading (H):

This mother took her children’s phones and shot them to teach them a lesson!

 
(#1) You can watch the video here

(H) presents a series of complexities in interpretation, having to do with the reference of the two anaphoric pronouns them, with respect to two potential antecedent NPs: the determiner NP her children (marked as possessive) and the argument NP her children’s phones (here serving as the direct object argument of the verb took).

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Beheaded pizza

July 20, 2018

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

The order presumably involved  the C(ount) Ns regular pepperoni ‘regular pepperoni pizza’ and extra deep-dish ‘extra-pepperoni deep-dish pizza’. But the Joe’s delivery involves the C N extra-deep-dish ‘extra-deep-dish pepperoni pizza’ (not just an ordinary deep-dish pizza, but a really deep deep-dish pizza).

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seller / cellar

July 10, 2018

In the June 13th One Big Happy, Ruthie’s mother says seller, but Ruthie hears cellar:

(#1)

Ruthie knows about cellars ‘basements’ (or ‘underground storage rooms’), but apparently not about bestsellers.

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Word division days

July 8, 2018

A Twitter-based cartoon on the Analytical Gramar/Grammar Planet Facebook page:


(#1) FAT ALBERT vs. FATAL BERT

No spaces in hashtags, hence the orthographic ambiguity.

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Adam atom

July 8, 2018

Today’s Bizarro plays on Adam vs. atom and on the ambiguity of bomb:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 11 in this strip — see this Page.)

The sentence Adam bombs, with intransitive bomb ‘fail miserably’ — hey, it’s a really tough audience — in the pres. 3sg. vs. the (plural) compound N atom bombs.

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Following instructions

July 7, 2018

The instruction goes COVER ME or COVER YOURSELF. What are you supposed to do? Well, the verb cover, um, covers a lot of possibilities, so there’s plenty of room for play, amply illustrated in cartoons and other forms of visual/verbal play. Especially common are plays on COVER ME intended as having what I’ll call “gunfire cover” but understood as having some other sense, in particular what I’ll call “(general) placement cover“; and plays on COVER YOURSELF intended as having what I’ll call “corporal-modesty cover” (cover your nakedness) but understood as having (general) placement cover.

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A pixelated morning

June 23, 2018

This morning’s name: the verb pixelate. Based on the noun pixel, with at least three senses, in NOAD:

verb pixelate (also pixellate or pixilate): [with object] [a] divide (an image) into pixels, typically for display or storage in a digital format. [b] (be pixelated) (of an image on a computer screen or other display) be enlarged so far that the viewer sees the individual pixels that form the image, the enlargement having reached the point at which no further detail can be resolved. [c] display an image of (someone or something) on television as a small number of large pixels, typically in order to disguise someone’s identity.

It’s sense c that I’m especially interested in here. That, and the ambiguity of

/ˈpɪksəletəd/

between pixelated, the PST/PSP of this V, and a very different Adj pixilated.

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Proper nouns

June 16, 2018

In the One Big Happy of May 30th, Ruthie falls into the pit of use and mention:

There’s an adjective proper as defined by Ruthie’s mother. Then there’s the adjective proper in the idiomatic nominals proper noun / name. And that’s just the beginning of the problem.

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In case of cartoons, see therapist

June 11, 2018

It started with this John Deering cartoon from 11/23/12 (passed on by a series of Facebook posters):

(#1)

In the tradition of the signage

IN CASE OF FIRE, BREAK GLASS

and introducing the cartoonist Deering, who’s fond of the Psychiatrist cartoon meme.

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