Archive for the ‘Figurative language’ Category

A failure of parallelism, sort of

May 22, 2017

In this headline from the 21st:

The crucial part is the NP

(PA) child- and gang-rapes

a reduced variant of the coordination child rapes and gang rapes — with rapes “factored out” of the full coordination, leaving the two-conjunct constituent child and gang. What gives this reduced coordination the whiff of non-parallelism is the difference in the way the factor rapes is semantically related to the two conjuncts child and gang: the first conjunct, child, functions as patient, or affected participant, with the factor rapes (like a canonical syntactic object; in a child rape, someone rapes a child), while the second conjunct, gang, functions as agent, or active participant, with this factor (like a canonical syntactic subject; in a gang rape, a gang rapes someone).

The coordination of patient with agent has a mildly zeugmatic flavor. It probably adds a bit of processing difficulty to this example — and it’s certainly enough to make a linguist like me take notice of the headline.

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Marco, Marco, Marco

May 19, 2017

(Men’s underwear, but nothing hard-core.)

The Daily Jocks ad from the 9th, featuring the Marco Marco brand, with my caption:

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Maximum Marco in boxer briefs.
Middle Marco in briefs.
Minimal Marco in almost nothing,
Beyond the pecs, the abs, and the thighs,
Nothing like one another, but they’re
Totally tight —
All three for Subcomandante Marcos, the
Subcomandante for all of them.

Four things here: the Marco Marco firm, which is trés gai; the play on All for one and one for all (most famously alluding to the motto of the Three Musketeers)); the play on Marcos the plural of the personal name Marco vs. the surname Marcos; and the reference to the Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos. Plus a whiff of an allusion to Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Marco Midi is just right). And of course the differences in the three men’s body types.

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What is figure, what is ground?

May 8, 2017

David Sipress in the latest (May 8th) New Yorker:

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“I can’t remember—do I work at home or do I live at work?”

Which is the ground — home (living place) or workplace — and which is the figure — working or living?

A question framed in the caption as a chiasmus, abstractly of the form X … Y / Y … X?

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The maiden, the monster, and the hero

April 15, 2017

In the LGBT precinct of Facebook recently, this Jim Benton cartoon (eventually this posting will be about Benton, but first the folktale scenarios):

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The basic scenario is Beauty and the Beast: a beautiful maiden (that is, a virgin), often a princess; and a monster, a grotesque creature, either literally an animal (a gigantic ape, a dinosaur, a mutant lizard, a dragon, whatever — but male) or a man animalistic in form, sometimes in nature as well. The monster desires the maiden: to devour her (literally), to despoil her (sexually), or merely to love her (romantically).

A third character, the Knight, figures in an extended scenario: a hero, a handsome and virile young man, often in armor, often a prince, whose role is to challenge the monster in battle and overcome him, thereby rescuing the maiden — for himself; she is his prize. In the extended scenario, two males are rivals for the maiden.

In Benton’s version, the hero challenges the monster, demanding that the monster deal with him rather than the maiden. And so the monster does. Sometimes in a love triangle, the rivals become lovers. (Combat between men is sometimes a route to mutual respect, male bonding, and friendship; in this case, the relationship goes one step further.)

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snatch

April 8, 2017

(Plain sex talk of several kinds, not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Yesterday’s morning name, and it was clear to me when I woke up that this was the vulgar sexual noun snatch ‘woman’s genitals’. and not the grabbing snatch or the stealing / kidnapping snatch or the weightlifting snatch — but then it turns out they’re all related.

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Sparky, Jasper, and Bunky

April 3, 2017

Three morning names a few days ago: used as nicknames, address terms, common nouns. Each with its own story.

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Ejaculatory pop

March 11, 2017

(This will end up going way into graphic man-man sex territory, so it’s not for kids or the sexually modest.)

It started mildly enough, with an ADS-L posting yesterday by Joel Berson entitled

“pop”, noun, = ‘an ejaculation’ in 1722? As a verb, it dates from 1958

about the sexual slang verb pop ‘ejaculate’ (a natural metaphorical extension of explosive pop) and its nouning pop ‘an ejaculation’. The OED has the verb from 1958 on, but doesn’t have the noun at all, yet Berson found a 1722 quotation that might conceivably have an instance of the noun — though the text is far from straightforward in its interpretation.

According to the evidence in OED3 (Dec. 2006) and in GDoS, taken together, the verb seems to go back only to the mid-20th century, while the noun might go back as far as the mid-19th century (which would bring it much closer to Berson’s 18th-century text).

And then I have a vivid recollection of my first experience with the verb, which is what will take us into graphic mansex territory.

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News for penises: a friend request

March 11, 2017

(Well, yes, men’s bodies, sex talk, and man-man sex. Not for kids or the sexually modest.)

A friend request on Facebook, from someone using the name Nick Petersucker (some time ago, FB obviously ceased to care a great deal about its policy of insisting that posters use their real names; now, all sorts of remarkable names come past me on FB). His profile picture, a selfie of someone, first posted in 2012:

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Body works, Part II: Mytilid Matters

March 5, 2017

(Some frank discussion of the female body, with a racy food photo. Use your judgment.)

A photo on Facebook from John Dorrance, with the comment “These things are obscene”:

Well, they’re striking vaginal symbols (vulvar symbols would be more accurate anatomically, but just think of this commonplace use of vagina as metonymic).

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Two Ztoons on language use

February 27, 2017

The Zippy and the Zits in my comics feed today:

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