Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

More for the birds

September 5, 2020

Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky arrived this morning with a collection of astonishing bird-related birthday presents for me: a ground-hugging bird bath, a Water Wiggler for the bird bath, and a hanging metal mesh bird feeder in the shape of a penguin. (There’s always something penguin-related.)

None of these is a standard item for the yard or patio, but Elizabeth has been cultivating birds in her own backyard and now knows a lot about bird gear. (Oddly, though she lives only about six blocks from me, she has bird visitors I do not: hummingbirds, chickadees, and parakeets, in particular).

(more…)

tantrum

August 30, 2020

Today’s morning name. So obviously Latin, a 2nd-declension neuter noun. But apparently not; instead it’s a mystery.

OED2 on tantrum:

Etymology: Origin unascertained.
colloquial.
An outburst or display of petulance or ill-temper; a fit of passion. Frequently in plural. Now often spec. a fit of bad temper in a young child.
[1st cite: 1714 E. Verney Let. 30 Oct. in M. M. Verney Verney Lett. (1930) II. xxi. 18 Our lady has had some of her tanterums as Vapors comeing out etc. Then: 1754 S. Foote Knights  ii. 41 None of your Fleers!..Your Tantrums! You are grown too head-strong and robust for me.]

fleers? From NOAD:

verb fleer: [no object] literary laugh impudently or jeeringly: he fleered at us. noun archaic an impudent or jeering look or speech. ORIGIN late Middle English: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Norwegian and Swedish dialect flira ‘to grin’

Etymology occasionally throws up mysteries like this one. If someone now wants to search collections of texts from the period, they might find some clues as to its source. It’s even possible that the noun doesn’t have an ordinary etymology, but was a mock-Latin invention. Whatever; ya gotta know the territory.

(more…)

Hola Queridx

August 28, 2020

Back on 3/4 on Facebook, from Peruvian linguist Ernesto Cuba, with a photo of him

[Cuba phrase] con mi queridx Iván Villanueva Jordán, traductor queer … lingüistica marica


(#1) Ernesto (right) with his Peruvian student Iván (who’s studied drag queens in Lima)

(Google at the time didn’t try to translate queridx but translated lingüistica marica as ‘faggot linguistics’)

Cuba’s queridx posting led me to discover Dario Cocimano’s song “Hola Queridx” from his 2018 Digno album —

(#2)

— and so to query Cuba about the linguistic usages involved.

(more…)

The Pierogi Western

July 24, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro takes us to a campfire in the Old West:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

A somewhat goofy variant of the Spaghetti Western, with a different starch — so Polish (or, more generally, Slavic) rather than Italian.

(more…)

Fear of furniture

July 23, 2020

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist strip (Wayno’s title: “Out of Frame”):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

And now we’re in the world of phobias, extreme or irrational fears of or aversions to particular things. People are exceptionally fond of finding or inventing unusual phobias — and, correspondingly, of finding or inventing unusual philias (attachments, especially sexually fetishistic attachments, to particular things).

Fear of furniture, as it turns out, is real but rare. There is even a celebrity afflicted with it.

(more…)

Duolingo’s Latin cheese

June 20, 2020

From Mike Pope on Facebook yesterday, this Duolingo exercise:


(#1) Mike’s note: “Duolingo is really great for learning those phrases you need every day”; word by word: ‘Marcus cheese greatly smells’ (with verb-final syntax)

A little hymn to Marcus as a cheesy comestible:

Marcus smells greatly of cheese

ripe, redolent of cheddar, his
pubic bacteria broadcasting his
manscent to any intimate nose, a
deeply tasty hunk, serve him up
with a young cabernet

Well then: some Latin, and some reflections on cheese and male sweat.

(more…)

Smearing and taunting

June 17, 2020

(Adapted and expanded from a Facebook comment of mine a while back. Some coarse sexual language, notably from American newsmakers, but also enough about sexual bodies and mansex from me to make the posting dubious for kids and the sexually modest.)

Every so often, MSNBC commentator Ali Velshi tartly notes — alluding to the Imperator Grabpussy’s smears of President Barack Obama as a Muslim born in Kenya — that he is a Muslim who was born in Kenya (though he grew up in Canada).

There’s a linguistic point here, having to do with relevance and implicature. Why does Velshi say this? Yes, it’s true, but then “The freezing point of water is 32F” is true, but if Velshi had said that it would have been bizarre, because it would have been irrelevant in the context. So Velshi’s religion and nativity are relevant in the context. Cutting through a whole lot of stuff, I would claim that Velshi is implicating something like “Being one myself, I know from Muslims born in Kenya, and I know that Barack Obama is no Muslim born in Kenya”. And THAT brings me to a piece I’ve been wrestling with some time, about Grabpussy Jr. jeering at Mitt Romney, taunting him by calling him a pussy. (I have a Velshian response of my own to that.)

Hang on; this will go in several directions.

(more…)

Annals of sexual slang: peacocks

April 1, 2020

News for penises, in Latin.

Mike Pope, posting on Facebook yesterday, this Duolingo example:

(#1)

Eyebrows were immediately raised.

(more…)

Mourning Son

March 23, 2020

… or Social Distancing. More art of the pandemic: a CGI homage to Edward Hopper’s Morning Sun (1952) by Vadim Temkin:

(#1)

(more…)

Higashi Day cartoon 1: grim Bliss surprise

March 12, 2020

Here at Ramona Electronica, the cartoons have been piling up haphazardly, making awkward barriers to even the smallest simulated movements around the labyrinth of virtual rooms. So now, a modest effort at house-clearing — to celebrate March 15th: Higashi Day, formerly known in these parts as (spring) Removal Day, marking the day when, for roughly 10 years in the fabled past, Jacques and I set off to car-trek east, from Palo Alto (and Stanford) to Columbus OH (and Ohio State).

(Its winter counterpart is December 15th, Nishi Day, marking the send-off for the corresponding trip west, from Columbus to Palo Alto.)

I note that, ominously, March 15th is also — oh, Julio! — the Ides of March, but that the preceding day is that edibly mathematical event Pi Day and that only two days later comes the spring green of St. Patrick’s Day (which J and I experienced annually on the road in northern Arizona).

The inaugural Higashi Day cartoon is by Harry Bliss, in the March 9th New Yorker. But first — surely you saw this coming — a note on compass directions in Japanese.

(more…)