Archive for the ‘Categorization and Labeling’ Category

BOY Party!

September 12, 2019

E-mail from the Stanford linguistics department on the 10th, under the header:

Save the Date: BOY Party 9/27

Whoa! I thought, conjuring up images of a department party featuring attractive young men — as entertainers (maybe some lesser-known boy bands), as guests of honor (very young up-and-coming NLP entrepreneurs, perhaps), as party staff (a phalanx of Ganymedes, in costume), purely as eye candy (twinks on parade), whatever — things are really loosening up in Margaret Jacks Hall!

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with all the fixin’s

August 28, 2019

The One Big Happy from 7/28, all about fixin’s (also known as fixings):

(#1)

The cartoon turns on a culinary distinction between main, or principal — essential — ingredients and accompanying, or accessory – in principle, optional — ones, the fixin’s. Without the leafy greens it’s not a green salad (though it could be a chopped salad), but if it’s got the leafy greens and no fixin’s (with nothing else except dressing), it’s a green salad.

From AHD5:

noun fixings: Informal Accessories, trimmings: a holiday dinner with all the fixings.

The example here has the full conventional collocation, or stock expression, with all the fixings, usually pronounced as informal (esp. Southern) fixin’s (spelled with or without an apostrophe). Simplifying considerably: nominals in –ing (as in beatings and singings) do have variants in /n/ rather than /ŋ/, but these pronunciations are mostly characterstic of South Midlands and Southern speech, especially in informal speech.

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Annals of category labels: food from a hole in the ground

August 28, 2019

… or edible roots (with root covering any underground plant organ), or whatever you call the stuff. In the 7/30 One Big Happy, Ruthie, confronted with /hol fudz/, takes it to be just such a label, hole foods, when her mother is referring instead to a grocery store, Whole Foods:

(#1)

The conventional (semi-technical) label for the category in question is root vegetables.

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The opossum joke

July 30, 2019

(I posted a version of this under the heading “The opossum” on July 30th, but by a WordPress glitch the link to that posting was later re-directed to the next posting in line, “Ralph at the Port Authority” (here), so that my earlier posting disappeared completely. I lamented this loss on Facebook, and eventually archivist and quote investigator Garson O’Toole magicked up a Google Cache version of the text for me. Thanks to Garson, here’s a reconstituted version.)

(Totally baffled addendum. WordPress has published this revised posting with the date 7/30, though it was actually posted on 8/1.)

A very sweet One Big Happy from 6/30: Ruthie and her grandfather:

(#1)

A granddad joke — well, actually, two of them in sequence, the first sledgehammer simple (a classic dad joke), the second delightfully subtle (a meta-joke in which the audience response becomes a crucial part of the joke).

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The artist Tove Jansson

July 20, 2019

Appearing in my Facebook feed a couple of days ago, passed on by Joelle Stepien Bailard, this self-portrait of Swedish-speaking Finnish artist Tove Jansson:


(#1) Tove Jansson (1914-2001), Self-portrait in a fur hat (1941)

From my 10/19/14 posting “Tove Jansson tomorrow”:

Another multiple talent who doesn’t usually get pegged as Artist (without qualification), like many others I’ve written about on this blog (Edward Gorey, for instance). Charming but complex [Moomintroll] books for children (a favorite in our household when my daughter was young), among other things.

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My industry

July 9, 2019

In my e-mail on the 7th, this offer — merely the latest in a long series of virtually identical such offers from a wide assortment of sources — to provide postings on this blog:

I manage some relevant blogs and ecommerce sites in your industry and can write a feature blog, article or other piece with a link to our site.

Occasionally, these offers come with the suggestion of a possible payment for this site use, but usually not: the transaction is conceived of as one of mutual benefit, providing greater public access — eyes on the page — for both host and guest (the guest presenting themselves as experienced in the art of SEO, search engine optimization; the host having an already-established audience).

Characteristically, the offer above is pure boiler-plate, utterly vague about what industry the prospective host is in. What, in fact, is my industry?

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Am I a bird?

July 4, 2019

The 7/3 Rhymes With Orange takes us to the Home for Aged Superheroes, where Superman is unsure of the volant creature he sees in the mirror and fears he’s going blind, or slipping into dementia (an unusually poignant theme for a cartoon):


(#1) In the land of the caped superheroes

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Semantics of compounds

May 28, 2019

The semantics of English modifier + head nominal composites — but especially of N + N compounds — is a recurrent topic on this blog; the array of semantic relationships exemplified in the data here is enormous, and might give the impression that things are just chaotic, though I’ve tried to pull out frequent patterns that dominate the data. One way to approach the matter in more nuanced fashion is to search for preferences for certain kinds of interpretations according to the semantics of the component elements.

And now, just appeared, we have “Systematicity in the semantics of noun compounds: The role of artifacts vs. natural kinds” by Beth Levin, Lelia Montague Glass, and Dan Jurafsky, in the De Gruyter journal Linguistics. Published online 5/16/19; I’ve found no volume, issue, and page numbers for the print version, but this is the DOI, and Lelia now reports that a pdf is freely available here. The abstract:

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Parade of Fangs, Eye of the Pumpkin

May 12, 2019

I’ll get to the fangs and the pumpkin eventually, but first a taxonomic puzzle in botany and two botanical puzzles in (Mexican) Spanish, triggered by this Pinterest photo from a while back:


(#1) [as captioned by its (Mexican) poster] Lirio plantasonya

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A coincidence of days

May 6, 2019

(Several shirtless people, in case that annoys or distresses you, but otherwise mostly about music.)

According to my calendar, today is both World Naked Gardening Day and World Accordion Day, which naturally led me to imagine a naked gardener playing the accordion. But my calendar turns out to be half wrong: World Accordion Day is fixed on May 6th; World Naked Gardening Day, on the other hand, is a movable feast, the first Saturday in May, which this year was the 4th.

However, the two occasions did coincide exactly in 2017, and at least one accordion-playing gardener squeezed nude for that occasion.

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