Archive for the ‘Count & mass’ Category

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:


(photo by Kim Darnell)


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!



August 10, 2015

A recent PHD Comics:

C (Count) — and PL — or M (Mass) — and SG — that is the question. But, yes, you need more than one data point.

[Addendum: I have added a Page about postings on C/M, here.]

‘male anus viewed as a sexual organ’

July 26, 2013

Yes, there are words — compound nouns — specifically for this meaning, but unless you’re into gay porn, you might not be familiar with man pussy, boy pussy, man cunt, boy cunt, man hole, or boy hole. These are terms strongly associated with gay porn (fiction, scripts of videos, and descriptions of videos) but not much used by gay men in everyday life; they are part of a specialized porn register, akin to the specialized registers in some other domains, for instance, restaurant menus (with vocabulary items like the adjective tasty that rarely occur outside the menu context).


Respecting each other

July 20, 2013

The short version of an ad for a gay dating/cruising app:

MISTER is an online community for men who value themselves and other men. Unlike other gay social networking apps, MISTER encourages users to show their faces, show respect, spend less time searching and more time meeting men in the real world. The users of our app are proud to say, “I am MISTER.”

(There will eventually be a linguistic point.)


Manwich and Beefaroni as portmanteaus

May 16, 2013

My “Grocery store semiotics” posting looked briefly at two canned-food preparations: Manwich and Beefaroni. Manwich: “a canned sloppy joe sauce … The can contains seasoned tomato sauce that is added to cooked ground beef in a skillet” to yield a filling for hamburger buns. And Beefaroni: “pasta with beef in tomato sauce”, essentially a ground beef casserole in a can. Both names are portmanteaus, and both are somewhat opaque in their meaning.


Manliness and money

April 13, 2013

Among today’s cartoons, a Zippy on manliness and a Bizarro on slang for money:


On the masculinity beat

June 3, 2012

An ad in the June/July Details, the grooming issue:

How to read this ad?


software development

September 19, 2011

The initial find, by Megan O’Neil and me a little while ago, while we were looking for something totally different:

Besides VirtualBox, there are in fact quite a number of virtualization software in the market such as VMware Workstation, Microsoft’s Windows Virtual PC (for Win7) and Virtual PC 2007 (for Vista or XP).

In the market, there are a lot of software that claims itself capable of boosting the PC performance. (link)

It takes several steps to get to these two usages for software.



May 26, 2011

Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky ranted in Facebook a while back, when Mothers Day loomed:

As a breeder, let me go on record as saying get over it already and stop turning my ability to produce loin fruit [she meant to type “loinfruit”] into an excuse to plaster the world with commercialized guilt and stereotyping.

First, there’s breeder, which has two salient senses here (both applicable to Elizabeth): ‘a heterosexual’ and ‘someone who has had a child’. But her posting was noticed mainly for its use of loinfruit ‘child, children’, which was new for some readers and struck them as inventive and entertaining.

Elizabeth was in fact using an expression she had learned some years ago on the Usenet newsgroup soc.motss. She and I picked it up from Gwendolyn Alden Dean, who referred to her son as “the loinfruit”. So I asked about the expression on the Facebook descendant of the newsgroup and got the local history of the expression.