Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

Research papers

May 7, 2021

It started in late April with Randall Munroe’s wry xkcd cartoon #2456, “Types of Scientific Paper”:

(#1)

Though the cartoon is primarily gentle ridicule of the natural sciences, some of the topics are applicable to the social sciences as well: My colleague is wrong and I can finally prove it; Some thoughts on how everyone else is bad at research. And several are adaptable to linguistics with only small changes: Check out this weird thing one of us heard while out for a walk; We ran experiments on some undergraduates.

The xkcd cartoon immediately set off an avalanche of variants in various specific fields, including at least two in areas of linguistics: Indo-European studies and syntax.

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Musk, leather, and the lumberjack forest

April 30, 2021

… the smell of men fucking

(Clearly not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

The story begins with the Etat Libre d’Orange fragrance Tom of Finland:


(#1) Aromatic, woody, leathery ($149 for 100 ml, $98 for 50 ml)

From the perfumery’s site, with a certain amount of perfumer-talk:

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Pictographs for dogs

April 28, 2021

A Mark Stivers cartoon from 4/20/19 (first encountered in the Funny Times for May 2021):

(#1)

Dogs also can’t interpret pictographs, certainly not such abstract ones as the slash of prohibition, the NO symbol (seen here in a non-standard orientation and missing part of its conventional accompaniments). It’s doubtful, in fact, that they can recognize dog pictographs, highly stylized representations of a dog — and incredibly doubtful that they can recognize a pictograph of a dog taking a poop, and understand that a prohibition against dogs pooping applies to them. In fact, it’s beyond doubtful that even if they recognize the sign above as a prohibition against dogs pooping, they understand that the sign is locationally deictic, applying not just to the spot where the sign is planted, but to some contextually (and socioculturally) determined area around the sign — in this case, applying to the whole strip of lawn on this side of the fence (but not to any larger area).

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A free cartoonist in Paris

April 27, 2021

Today’s Zippy strip has Griffy (Bill Griffith’s counterpart in the strip) drawing up a cartoon storm in fin de siècle Paris, in competition with a disdainful local painter (call him PP, for peintre parisien):

(#1)

Their dispute is about cartoons, in terms familiar to Griffy:

… but is it art?

(here, asked about cartoons). PP emphatically says no, calling them “gaudy daubings … dégoûtant!” — while Griffy returns the insult by referring to PP’s work as “post-fauvist, pre-cubist, elitist scribbling”, while Griffy’s own work “recognizes th’ absurdity of life”.

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Houdini’s cat

April 26, 2021

Today’s Rhymes With Orange cartoon is a takeoff on Schrödinger’s cat:

Looking ahead a bit, a Schrödinger’s cat joke (SCJ) involves the pairing of a concrete object (in this case, a cat) and a pair of opposed states (in this case, present vs. absent (in a carrier)) and maintains, preposterously, that the object is simultaneously in both states (in this case, that the cat is simultaneously present and absent in the carrier). In the SCJ above we don’t have evidence that the cat is or was both present and absent at the same time, but instead some simultaneity of the two states is inferred from other facts: like Houdini in one of his escape tricks, the cat was in the carrier when its owner left the house and there was no way it could escape from it — see the chains and lock — but it’s now, at the vet’s, visibly no longer there.

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Felonious Penguin Appreciation Day

April 26, 2021

For Penguin Appreciation Day yesterday (4/25), the Half Moon Bay company (a UK firm offering themed merchandise: “Home to TV, Film and Popular Culture fans”) exhorted:

The only water bottle you need this #WorldPenguinDay…
Buy yours here: http://aard.mn/feathersbottle


(#1) The Feathers bottle, a metal water bottle modeled on the felonious penguin character Feathers McGraw from the Wallace and Gromit animated movie The Wrong Trousers

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Zippy’s pod-ophilia

April 25, 2021

In today’s (4/25) Zippy strip, our Pinhead — no podophile ‘foot fetishist’ — instead celebrates the linguistic formative pod — as a word, in one of its many meanings (here, its ‘small building’ sense); as part of a fixed expression pod people (using pod referring to a plant part); and as piece of the word podcast (where it’s a piece of the proper name iPod, and that takes it back to a functional unit on an aircraft or spacecraft):


(#1) There’s more, lots more, but the pods here are all trace back.in metaphorical flourishes, to the plant parts

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Getting validated

April 24, 2021

A Nathan Pyle (of Strange Planet) cartoon passed on by Jeff Shaumeyer on Facebook yesterday:


(#1) JS: This is my reaction every time I use my credit card. I crave the validation.

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Briefly: another April 23rd holiday

April 23, 2021

It’s St. George’s Day (honoring the patron saint of England, and a number of other places too); now Sandra Boynton notes that it’s also Shakespeare Day — traditionally celebrated as his birthday (in 1564), and clearly his death day (in 1616). For the Shakespearean occasion, she provides one of her visual puns:

2 bees oar not 2 bees: “To be, or not to be”

Size cartoons

April 23, 2021

From the latest issue of the New Yorker (for 4/26 & 5/3 2021), two cartoons (by Benjamin Schwartz and Zach Kanin) that qualify the magazine to be, not only the Technology Issue, but also the Size Issue: body size in the Schwartz, penis size in the Kanin.

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