Archive for the ‘Metonymy’ Category

The signs of speechlessness

December 7, 2019

What do you say to convey that you can’t find any words to describe your state of mind? What’s the verbal equivalent of the speechlessness emoji 😶 ? (Which literally has no mouth, indicating an inability to speak.)

Some people have conventional expressions for this purpose. Here’s one of them, homina, in today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

(#1)

As a cartoon bonus, we get the (metonymic) conversion of an expression evincing some state of mind — homina evincing bewilderment, surprise, or shock to the point of speechlessness —  to a measure noun denoting a degree of the evinced state of mind — homina as a unit of bewilderment etc. A special sort of nouning, generally available for interjections:

I give that experience three eeks / ughs / ewws / ouches / …

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A regular festival of ambiguity

November 20, 2019

(Later in this posting there are a couple of raunchy men’s underwear ads, and some cautiously worded references to men’s bodies and mansex, so some readers might want to exercise caution.)

Ruthie and Joe in the One Big Happy from 10/9:

(#1)

Three senses of (ir)regular in just four panels. All traceable ultimately to the Latin noun regula ‘rule’, with rule understood as in NOAD:

noun rule: 1 [a] one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere: the rules of the game were understood. [b] a principle that operates within a particular sphere of knowledge, describing or prescribing what is possible or allowable: the rules of grammar. …

The range of senses of regular is impressively large, and illustrates a whole variety of mechanisms of semantic change; the three senses above are a microcosm of this greater world.

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Space Candy

October 14, 2019

(Highly sexualized men’s underwear, leading to blunt talk of men’s bodies and mansex. Lots of other content, but this is enough to put it out of bounds for kids and the sexually modest.)

Today’s Daily Jocks ad, for a new line of underwear for the PUMP! company — the image is meant to be outrageous, fey, macho, and funny, all at once — with their ad copy:


(#1) The all new Space Candy Collection from PUMP! has launched. A new take on PUMP’s classic shape, available in Space Candy Pink & Purple. [available as a boxer (boxer brief), (low-rise) brief, and jock]

An image crammed with content — incuding those little candy-themed patches on the front (on the hip or pouch) and the back (on one cheek) of the garments.

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A man, his hands, his pants

October 5, 2019

(That’s AmE pants, roughly equivalent to BrE trousers. This posting is about men’s clothing and men’s bodies and gets fairly racy — it starts with a guy with his hands in his pants and sex on his mind — so some readers might want to exercise caution.)

So you’re a straight white guy, from North America or some place culturally similar. A photographer wants to take your picture. How do you pose your body? In particular, what do you do with your hands? More generally, what do you do with your hands when they’re not actually involved in your current activity? Then, what role do your lower garments — trousers, shorts, maybe underpants — play in the placement of your hands? And what, if anything, does your choice of placement signify?

So: adventures in hand-pants (or manual-bracal) kinesics.

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Gender notes: the pinup push

September 28, 2019

(Dense with references to buttocks and their possible sexual portents, so not to everyone’s taste.)

From The Mary Sue site, “We’re All Kinds Of Obsessed With Nicola Scott’s Nightwing Drawing Highlighting His Assets: Gotham’s ass indeed”, by Kate Gardner on 9/20/19:


(#1) Dick Grayson evolves into pinup-push Nightwing (hat tip to Kim Darnell)

The title says it all. In her latest art depicting DC characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman throughout the years, comics artist Nicola Scott drew the evolution of Nightwing, a.k.a. Dick Grayson, ending with art of him in a pose usually reserved for male artists drawing female characters, and we’re totally obsessed with it. It’s about damn time that men had to push their tush out alongside their female counterparts.

A pose signifying (women’s) sexual availability, with a long history, but especially as made famous by movie star Betty Grable in 1943:

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bricks ˈnˈ mortar

August 31, 2019

Roz Chast in the September 2nd New Yorker:

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An exercise in the semantics of N + N compounds, exploiting an ambiguity that might not have occurred to you:

in the semantics of the modifying N, N1 (here, the coordinate N bricks and mortar);

in the semantics of the head N, N2 (here, the understood N store);

and in the semantics of the relation between N2 and N1  (here, ‘N2 for N1, (specifically) N2 selling N1’, in this case ‘store selling bricks and mortar — rather than the ‘N2 (made) of/from N1’ relation in the familiar conventionalized compound brick(s) and mortar store ‘store (made) of/from bricks and mortar’.

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Blue and black at the Gamble Garden

August 15, 2019

In anticipation of a visit to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden with motss.conners on Saturday, two items from my last visit to the garden (on 7/31): blue flax-lilies, which are neither flax nor lily plants, but do have bright blue berries; and dark purple, almost black, hollyhocks.

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The Dickson Poon School of Law

July 24, 2019

(As you might guess from the title, this posting treats several English expressions of varying degrees of offensiveness, so some readers might want to avoid it.)

A message from Gadi Niram a month ago:

I can’t get past the name of this school: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/law
The Dickson Poon School of Law in the University of London

— and wondering if poon doesn’t have the meaning in BrE that it does in AmE. (And then there’s the dick in Dickson.)

Briefly, the answer is: no, the lexical item poon ‘vagina, pussy’ is largely unknown in BrE. But it is an estimable Chinese name, especially in Hong Kong. If they had known about the crude offensiveness of poon in AmE, Dickson Poon’s family might have chosen another variant of their name in English, say Pan. Or maybe not; they might have decided that it’s their family’s English name and they’re proud of it. (I will compare it to the Hindi surname often spelling Dikshit in English.)

Then there’s the question of why the University of London has anything named after Dickson Poon. That’s where I’ll start.

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The boys of Boris Beauville

July 22, 2019

(An politico-sexual riff, with steamy underwear photos, on BoJo, the MP for Bone Juice and South Blowjob and the Man Who Would Be PM; you should be able to tell from this description that this posting is not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Passed on to me on Facebook by Dean Calbreath on 7/20, a link to a Business Insider article, “Boris Johnson called gay men ‘tank-topped bumboys’ and black people ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles'”, by Adam Bienkov on 7/12/19.

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Why is he calling her his thesaurus?

May 28, 2019

Today’s morning name was the Italian phrase il mio tesoro, and there’s no mystery where it came from: on my overnight iTunes, the 1959 Carlo Maria Guilini recording of Don Giovanni had reached Luigi Alva singing “Il Mio Tesoro” just as I woke. What was odd was that my still sleep-addled brain was puzzling over why Don Ottavio was calling Donna Anna his thesaurus.

Attribute it to an overactive mental-association apparatus connecting It. il tesoro ‘treasure’ (but also ‘darling, honey, dear’) to Engl. thesaurus referring to a specialized type of dictionary (derived ultimately from Greek). In this case, one reproducing a historical connection between It. tesoro ‘darling’ and It. tesoreria ‘thesaurus’, which are, etymologically, second cousins, more or less.

After this, on to the aria, with performances by Alva, Araiza, and Domingo.

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