Archive for the ‘Chiasmus’ Category

Why are they pets?

May 25, 2015

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

(Note the title: “Linguistics 101”.)

For the people:

We call them pets because we pet them.

For the cats:

We call them feeds because they feed us.

The two cases of nouning aren’t parallel, but reversed — in a sense, chiastic.

May 26th. Note of etymological truth, which I playfully omitted in the original posting. This is a cute story for pet, but it’s etymologically backwards. The noun came first, for ‘indulged child’, then for ‘animal companion’, and then the verb was derived from the noun, meaning something on the order of ‘to treat like a pet’, specifically ‘to stroke’.

A chiastic riddle

May 17, 2015

From Benita Bendon Campbell, a riddle and its answer:

I wondered about the source of the image and of the riddle. (Bonnie found this version on the Writer’s Circle Facebook group, with no indication of its earlier history.) The riddle has appeared with quite a collection of artwork (on ecards, in particular), none of it attributed, and some posters characterize it as “an old riddle”, but that just might mean that they recall it from when they were younger; we could be looking at the Antiquity Illusion here.

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Bizarro’s 30th

January 24, 2015

The Comics Kingdom site tells me that the 21st was the 30th anniversary of Bizarro comics by Don Piraro, the first having been published on 1/21/85. Here are two Bizarros with linguistic content that haven’t been blogged on here: one from 12/18/13, one from much earlier, possibly from 3/29/89 (I have trouble reading the data):

(#1)

(#2)

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Nick Danger: an appreciation

April 29, 2013

My iTunes woke me this morning with “The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye” (from Firesign Theatre’s How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All (1969)). It’s packed full of playfulness, silliness, and absurdity, much of it linguistic.

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Body language and Lithuanians

April 12, 2013

Today’s Zippy returns to the topic of facial expression and gesture in Dingburg:

Five stances (or gestures), each with an absurdly specific meaning (some of which suggest, in snowclonish way, proverbs or quotations). Plus an appearance of Lithuanians.

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