Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

There oughta be a word

May 16, 2018

Darya Kavitskaya on Facebook yesteday:

This is sour cherry clafoutis. No more food for today.

I commented:

I think French needs a verb clafouter ‘to cook a clafoutis; to devour a clafoutis’.

Come to think of it, I could use an English verb clafoute /kla’fut/ with these senses:

I think I’ll clafoute for tonight’s dessert. Maybe plum.

Terry piggishly clafouted. Seven at a sitting!

To come: a reminder about what clafoutis is; about the forms of the invented French verb clafouter; on “having no word for” some concept; about needing — or at least wanting — a word for it; about the ambiguity of these invented verbs (both ‘to cook’ and ‘to eat’); about the source of such ambiguities in marker-poor combinations of elements (lacking explicit indicators of the semantic relationship between the elements — there’s nothing in French clafouter or English clafoute to indicate the semantic role of the referent of their subjects, as creator or consumer); and about the motivation for marker-poor combinations, in a drive for brevity (vs. clarity). French and English could be clearer, less ambiguous — I’ll illustrate with still more invented French verbs — but only at the cost of greater length and effort.

All this from (delicious) French sour cherry flan.

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Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar

May 12, 2018

(On the social and sexual lives of gay men, with photos, so not to everyone’s taste. Almost surely not to Facebook’s taste.)

Recent Facebook conversation, initiated by poster J1:

First time being called “Daddy” while playing with a guy at a bar. Bittersweet!

With a response from J2:

Yeah, I can see the bittersweet part, for sure. Heh. I remember you as a total twink.

And from me:

Ah, those days. For me, it was papacito from a cute server at a Mexican restaurant. I was charmed.

daddy here is the name of a social identity, a gay “type” (like twink, bear, muscle-hunk, or leatherman); and by extension, of a subculture of men of this type; and by a different extension, of a role or relationship between men, between an older and a younger man. Such identities, subcultures, and roles can intersect and combine, as here:

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Food news in the neighborhood

April 30, 2018

Two recent developments: the closing in December of the neighborhood homey Mexican restaurant La Morenita (at 800 Emerson St., across Homer Ave. from Whole Foods and around the corner from my house, to the southwest) and its replacement a week ago by Taverna, a stylish Greek restaurant; and the recent opening of the Georgian restaurant Bevri (at 530 Bryant St., a couple of blocks from my place, to the northeast).

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Pride Time #5: on Barceloneta beach

March 30, 2018

(From June 2017. Underwear men, Catalonia, gay life, Barcelona beaches, art and architecture, and, eventually, food. First, underwear with my captions.)

The saints of Catalunya
Pretty in purple and pink

(#1)

Sant Jordi the savory in heat
Stretched out on rocks
Homage to Barceloneta
Between sail and fish

(#2)

Sant Joan the sweet
Celebrant of gay pride
Summer solstice confection
Of fruit and nuts

It’s all about Barcelona, the beach, and swim briefs.

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Lexical adventures in the Sacred Harp

February 23, 2018

Two explorations in the vocabulary of The Sacred Harp, 1991 Denson revision, provoked by songs called at shapenote singings in Palo Alto: most recently, the occurrence of dragon(s), serpent(s), and hurricane(s) in Florence #121 (all of them unique in the book, according to Chris Thorman’s 1992 Concordance to the songbook); and a while back, the striking use of vice in Mission #204’s “luring scenes of vice” (one of two occurrences in the book, the other being in Columbus #67).  Elsewhere, there’s Cambridge #287, a hymn of resistance to temptation; and O Come Away #334, a rousing temperance hymn (with a history in German student drinking songs).

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Adventures in alcohol

February 21, 2018

A recent Pinterest e-mail with boards on food and drink offered a number of remarkably named drinks, including two that were new to me: the Purple Fuck (powerfully alcoholic and powerfully sweet) and the German drink Gockelsperma ‘cock’s cum’, lit. ‘rooster sperm’ (made with Waldmeister syrup, from the sweet woodruff plant).

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Reindeer and lynx — and wolves and bears, oh my!

January 16, 2018

Latest ad from the Daily Jocks folks, for the newest line of Helsinki Athletica underwear, with the ad copy:


(#1) ilves ‘lynx’ at top, front view; peura ‘reindeer’ at bottom, rear view

Helsinki Athletica: Ilves & Peura: Limited edition of Helsinki Athletica underwear featuring Finnish native animals. The low rise design is great for everyday wear with the soft, stretchy cotton fabric ensuring all day comfort and you can be sure of excellent support in the dual layered pouch.

A whimsical turn for a company mostly noted for its homo-steamy Lukas line of briefs, jockstraps, and trunks:

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Theft and retrieval

January 14, 2018

A posting about my life, though there will be incidental music (Glenn Gould’s 1955 recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations) and a linguistics book (Julie Tetel Andresen & Phillip M. Carter, Languages in the World, 2016).

The story starts with the music, piped during the night from my laptop computer (a MacBook Pro 15.4 from 2010) in the front of the house to my bedroom in the back. Around 2 a.m. yesterday, I came partially to consciousness, feeling the beginning of an old man’s need to take a middle-of-the-night leak but enjoying the Gould Goldberg in a semi-conscious state — when the music cut out. This sometimes just happens, for reasons I can’t discern, so wasn’t alarmed but dozed for a while, then did the bathroom thing and stumbled into the front of the house to check out the computer’s settings.

And discovered that the laptop was gone. Vanished, which would explain why the music had died. Everything unplugged, the scraps of notes on top of the laptop put aside on a chair, but nothing else disturbed in any way. Creepy.

This is Act 1, The Theft Discovered.

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The silence of the H’s and the nastiness of the narg

November 9, 2017

Two recent One Big Happy strips on linguistic themes, one phonological / orthographic, the other semantic / pragmatic:

(#1)

(#2)

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Comics about comics

November 9, 2017

Recently in Zippy, two poignant strips about cartoonist Bill Griffith’s childhood and the cartoon character Little Max; and then today, a strip in which Zippy wakes up three days in a row transformed into a cartoon character, only to emerge from these dreams on the fourth day — but as yet another cartoon character.

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