Archive for the ‘Tongue twisters’ Category

The fan, the spathiphyllum, and the impressionist garden

September 10, 2017

Juan came by on Friday to replace the left fan in my laptop (it had reached airplane takeoff mode) and bring me small birthday presents: some mini-cheesecakes from Whole Foods (one berry, one espresso), an excellent but hard to pronounce houseplant, and a visit to the Gamble Garden to view ranks of gauzy late summer and autumn plants in bloom.

The computer repair took only a few minutes — I am now enjoying the silence of the fans — so I’ll focus here on the vegetative side of things: the birthday plant, a spathipyllum (say that three times fast!); and those seasonal flowers, which are gauzy only to a cataractive guy like me (but the Monet impressionist-garden effect is actually quite pleasing, one of the very few positive consequences of gradual vision loss).

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Metalinguistic tasks

August 12, 2017

In a recent One Big Happy, Ruthie’s father tries to get her to play with tongue twisters, but she treats the texts as stories about events in a real world:

Playing with tongue-twister texts is metalinguistic behavior, an activity in which bits of language are treated as objects in themselves, rather than being used to report, inquire, exclaim, instruct, etc. Small children (as above) and people in nonliterate societies are known for sometimes resisting metalinguistic talk of various kinds, instead confining themselves to concrete talk — what I’ll call planolinguistic talk (suggesting ‘flatly linguistic’, rather than ‘beyond and above’ language).

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Three more Reapings

April 13, 2017

The latest bulletin from Pinterest featured a Reaper Jokes board maintained by Kathy-Lynn Cross. More Grim Reaper cartoons, including one that especially caught my eye because of the two idioms in the text. A Mark Parisi showing one (angry) Reaper confronting another (disconsolate) Reaper: “I’ve had it with you! From now on, you’re alive to me!”. Nice reversal of the idiomatic you’re dead to me ‘I disown you, cut you off, will never see or speak to you again’. Spoken by Death to Death, you’re alive to me conveys the same.

More on this cartoon, then two more Grim Reapers, to add to the 14 already posted on this blog; it’s a very popular cartoon meme.

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