Archive for the ‘Grammatical categories’ Category

I say it sounds yucky, and I say the hell with it

December 4, 2017

A Calvin and Hobbes re-run in today’s comics feed:

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Food aversions have many bases: appearance, taste, smell, texture, intensity of flavor, novelty, objections to ingredients (would you eat Bambi? Thumper? Fido? Fluffy? Porky? Sam the Clam?, Charlie the Tuna?), allergic reactions, unpleasant previous experiences — and aversion to the name, as with Calvin.

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Guess I’ll go eat worms

November 26, 2017

A follow-up to my posting on the 23rd, “Two Thanksgiving meals”, in which one of the meals had as its main dish vermicelli Singapore-style, with rice vermicelli as the base. So now I’m all about vermicelli.

Warming up to the pasta topic, let’s consider Zesty Anderson Davis consuming some string pasta made from wheat:

(#1) #2 in a 6/23/13 posting, showing Zesty AD sucking up worms (well, spaghetti) in a panoply of sexual imagery
(#2) Abasement, comfort food, or oral sex?

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Attenuative morphology

November 5, 2017

From a posting to the Linguistic Typology list, a proposal for a workshop on Attenuated qualities in a cross-linguistic perspective, beginning attenuatively:

Our smallish-to-middling workshop focusses on the diverse morphological and lexical means of expressing attenuation (reduced degree of a quality) in the languages of the world.

More of the proposal to follow. First, a few notes on two more familiar grammatical categories related to attenuatives.

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A processed food flavor

October 20, 2017

That’s from the NYT on the 17th (on-line), Frank Bruni’s op-ed column “Will Pumpkin Spice Destroy Us All?”:

(#1) In the labyrinth of pumpkin spice

It’s invention run amok, marketing gone mad, the odoriferous emblem of commercialism without compunction or bounds. It’s the transformation of an illusion — there isn’t any spice called pumpkin, nor any pumpkin this spicy — into a reality.

Pumpkin on its own is bland. What to do, if you’re not fond of bland? Pumpkin pie can get some pizazz from spices — especially cinnamon and nutmeg, also used to flavor eggnog, for similar reasons.

Such spice mixtures have been around for centuries, but only in recent years has pumpkin (pie) spice achieved commercial superstardom. Leading to Bruni’s comic savaging above, and to a Kaamran Hafeez cartoon (yesterday’s daily cartoon for the New Yorker).

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Pizza Boy outtakes

October 12, 2017

(About English, but in the context of a gay porn flick, with plain-language discussions of men’s bodies and mansex, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Two items of linguistic interest that came up in preparing a posting (soon to appear) on pizza boys as cultural figures, especially in gay porn, the great work of the genre being William Higgins’s 1986 The Pizza Boy: He Delivers. From scene 5 of the movie, the sexual slang canyon yodeling ‘anilingus’ and an occurrence of underwear as a plural count N.

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Squid Pro Quo

May 20, 2017

This Non Sequitur cartoon by Wiley Miller:

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squid / quid. And squid as a source of ink, squid as food. .

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Special counsel appointed

May 19, 2017

Informed opinion has been very positive about the appointment of Mueller as special counsel to investigate allegations in the semolina affair. Commenters are generally agreed that Mueller is a respected authority in such matters, with a long public career in the field and experience in both semolina matters and the byzantine world of elbow-cheese casseroles.

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ice plants

May 16, 2017

… that is, plants in the Aizoaceae, or ice plant, family. On the occason of recent visits to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden, where there’s a spread of gorgeous Lampranthus spectabilis (syn. Mesembryanthemum spectabile), trailing ice plant:

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(photo by Kim Darnell)

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Technical terms

March 13, 2017

A recent One Big Happy, in which Joe faces a test question on the term collective noun:

Joe hopes that he can use what he knows about the verb collect and its derivatives to guess at what the grammatical term collective might mean. Ah, a mail carrier collects the mail (from a mailbox) and delivers it (to a mailbox), so mailbox must be a collective noun. BZZT!

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Tom Toro

June 9, 2016

Caught in the May 9th New Yorker, this Tom Toro cartoon:

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A little slideshow on time adverbials and the times they refer to, understood figuratively.

Toro hasn’t appeared on this blog before, but he’s a prolific cartoonist with an ear for language and an inclination to play with classic cartoon memes (like the desert island or, as below, penguins and their discriminability).

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