Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

Prosthetics on an anaphoric island

December 12, 2018

I posted yesterday on anaphoric islands — “Smoke from a island”, here — and then of course immediately came across a wonderful example, in a 12/1 Economist article on prosthetic limbs, where the anaphor is a bit of conspicuous language play. (The Economist is strongly inclined to language play in its heads and lead paragraphs.)

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Song of the season

December 12, 2018

It’s time for that moving, rousing carol that makes this time of the year so special. I refer of course to the great seasonal song of Okefenokee County, the Pogolicious, Kellytastic “Deck us all with Boston Charlie”:

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Wok it to the golden Lab for analysis, har-de-har-har

December 3, 2018

3 x 3: three cartoons of linguistic interest for the 3rd of December: a Dave Blazek Loose Parts with merged phonemes; a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro with an ambiguity; and a Zits with an onomatopoeia.

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A morning in the Blue Period

December 2, 2018

That morning was 10/29, and the morning name then was Paloma Picasso: an alliterative double amphibrach. Bringing with it an allusion to her fashionable clothes and accessories, and to her father’s paintings.

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A seasonal groaner

December 1, 2018

A terrible Xmas pun committed by Scott Hilburn in a 12/23/13 cartoon (hat tip to Mike Reaser):

(No ‘L’ – Noel)

I figure this is fair game, since tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent, putting us into the religious Christmas season broadly understood. (Then Wednesday is Krampusnacht, and Thursday is St. Nicholas Day).

What do you have?

November 25, 2018

The One Big Happy from October 12th, a dialogue between Joe and James in which we experience a tiny bit of the fabulous flexibility of the English verb have:

(#1)

James seems not to have registered the noun hobby (‘an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure’ (NOAD)) and so takes hobbies in have hobbies to be the name of a disease, infection, or medical condition, like (the) mumps. For him, chickenpox and the mumps, but not hobbies is just an ordinary coordination, but for the rest of us, it’s prime-grade zeugma, like (I had) asthma and artistic inclinations — with the extra wrinkle that though both chickenpox and mumps end in a plural-resembling /s/ (and so superficially resemble the PL hobbies), both are grammatically SG:

chickenpox / (the) mumps once was / *were a common childhood disease, but vaccines have nearly eliminated it / *them [SG for subject-verb agreement and also for anaphor selection]

Two notes: on the morphosyntax of disease names; and on the extraordinary versatility of have (which just invites zeugmas and zeugmoids).

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Giving thanks with Roz Chast

November 22, 2018

A Roz Chast New Yorker cartoon from 11/22/10, “The Last Thanksgiving” — how could I possibly please them all? — and now her cover for the latest (11/26/18) New Yorker, “Thankfulness”, for the Technology Issue of the magazine.

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Randy Blue purifies the air

November 18, 2018

(Warning: eventually this posting devolves to references to, though not illustrations of, gay porn; a video of a guy dancing in nothing but his Calvins; and the decidedly raunchy, though not actually X-rated, lyrics of Beyoncé’s song “Blow”. So: rated “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, in particular, kids and the sexually modest.)

Day 11 in the smoke — not nearly as bad here on the SF peninsula as in SF itself (or, of course, closer to the Camp Fire around Paradise) — and today the local AQI (the American Lung Association’s Air Quality Index) has dipped to 129, merely “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, but I’m in several of the compromised groups, and life has been hellish for a long time. [A few hours later: up to 158, “Unhealthy”, period.]

(#1)

Aid arrived Thursday night, in the form of a Blue Pure 121 air purifier, which now stands majestically in the middle of the main area of my Ramona St. house, humming softly as it offers me clean air to breathe. Puckishly, I have named the machine Randy Blue (after a big gay porn company, itself puckishly named), so this posting will segue from pure air to raunch.

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Shake, shake, shake that death rattle

November 15, 2018

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes re-play has the two protagonists engaged in a heavy game of Cowboys and Indians:

(#1)

A play on two senses of rattle, denoting either a sound or a thing that makes a sound.

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Cartoon understanding in parallel worlds

November 10, 2018

Two cartoons that have come by me recently that work only if you have a fair amount of cultural knowledge in two dfferent domains, which are presented in the cartoon as parallel worlds equally present there. A Brevity strip by Dan Thompson from 4/27/18 (thanks to Joe Transue for help in identifying the strip); and a Wayno & Piraro Bizarro from yesterday:

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