Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

French 2sg pronouns

February 10, 2019

On the Language Nerd Facebook page yesterday, this playfully framed, but seriously intended, flowchart, “Your guide to being polite in French”, for choosing between the 2sg pronouns tu (‘familiar’) and vous (‘polite’) in current French — a bow to the treatment of T and V pronouns in Brown & Gilman 1960:

(#1)

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Displaced icons of art

February 9, 2019

Prompted by Michael Palmer on Facebook, this Bizarro pun from 9/9/12:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in the strip from which this panel is extracted — see this Page.)

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The crusty old editor speaks

February 2, 2019

The author of the little — 67-page — guidebook The Old Editor Says: Maxims for Writing and Editing (first published in 2013), the old-school newspaper editor John E. McIntyre, writing as a curmudgeonly, sometimes imperious, character of the same name, as seen on the book’s front cover:


(#1) The name of this image file is McIntyreOldEdtor.jpg; that fact will eventually become significant

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The dog who would be penguin

January 23, 2019

Charles Schulz’s Peanuts strip from 12/31/57, in which Snoopy takes on a penguin persona:

(#1)

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Annals of goofy kitchenware

January 6, 2019

At some point, someone looked at an ordinary soup ladle, probably one with a hooked end for hanging it up, like these stainless steel spoons:

(#1)

and realized it looked rather a long-necked animal (with the bowl as its body and the hook as its head), perhaps a long-necked dinosaur — a terrestrial brontosaur or apatosaur, or (since the bowl dips into a liquid) a marine creature, say a plesiosaur:

(#2)

Or, even better, the folkloric creature Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster:

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Penguin Claus

December 27, 2018

A bold proposal in Slate magazine on 12/10/13 by Aisha Harris, “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore: It’s time to give St. Nick his long overdue makeover”. No, she’s not proposing that Santa should be a black man; she’s saying Santa should be a black and white … penguin.


(#1) Mark Alan Stamaty’s vision of Penguin Claus

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Ask not for whom the reaper scythes

December 20, 2018

Two Grim Reaper memic cartoons: today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collab, and a Harry Bliss cartoon in the current (12/24&31) New Yorker, both requiring signficant background information for understanding (beyond recognizing the figure of Death with his scythe):

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The Swiss diaspora: Steinlen in Montmartre

December 18, 2018

From Wikipedia:


(#1) Steinlen poster of 1896 advertising the Montmartre cabaret Le Chat Noir

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (November 10, 1859 – December 13, 1923), was a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker. Born in Lausanne [in Canton Vaud in Francophone Switzerland], Steinlen studied at the University of Lausanne before taking a job as a designer trainee at a textile mill in Mulhouse in eastern France.

He then found his spot, the place that suited him in life: the Montmartre district of Paris.

And became Swiss French (in the narrow sense): a French person who emigrated from Switzerland. Narrowly Swiss French, in the way that distinguished 19th-century scientist Louis Agassiz was narrowly Swiss American: from my 2/7/13 posting “Swiss American”:

Agassiz was Swiss American in the narrow sense; he emigrated from Neuchâtel (in Francophone Switzerland) to Boston and took American citizenship.

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Taboo book notice

December 13, 2018

… that is, a notice of a book on taboo language: The Oxford Handbook of Taboo Words and Language, ed. by Keith Allan, publisher’s site here.

Cover art: Namarrgon the Lightning Man (aboriginal rock art from Western Arnhemland); he comes to earth as a lightning strike and brings the fierce tropical storms in Western Arnhemland during the monsoon season (notable testicles are a common feature of representations of him)

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Books of the year

December 9, 2018

… in the Economist‘s 12/1 issue,”Books of the year: The big read”, (p. 76), in the Culture category: 6 books selected, including:

The Prodigal Tongue. By Lynne Murphy. Penguin Books; 368 pages; $17. Oneworld, £16.99.

The first and perhaps only book on the merits of American and British English that is dominated by facts and analysis rather than nationalistic prejudice. For all its scholarship, this is also a funny and rollicking read.

And in “The Economist’s journalists unbound: A short hstory of moonlighting: Here are the books our writers published in 2008” (p. 77):

Talk on the Wild Side: The Untameable Nature of Language. By Lane Greene. Economist Books/Hachette; 240 pages; $26. Profile Books: £14.99.

Our Johnson columnist argues that English is a living organism; language rules are often preferences in disguise. “He is open-minded and discerning,” the Spectator said; “no zealot and no snob.”

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