Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

freak shows

September 19, 2017

Today’s Zippy reflects on a bit of culture — a fascination with deformed and otherwise outrageous human beings — name-checks Lady Gaga, Anderson Cooper, and (indirectly) the current residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington — and exploits the ambiguity of the compound freak show:

(#1) At the menagerie / side show

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Tower viewers

September 17, 2017

Today’s Zippy takes us to a scenic lookout and its technology, the tower viewer:

(#1) Binoculars / Telescope on a stalk

Bill Griffith exploits the anthropoid appearance of the device to turn this one into a speaking, grinning, yellow-haired, cheeky, creepy being.

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not agree with

September 16, 2017

The One Big Happy in my comics feed yesterday has Ruthie v Idiom, once again:

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Steak bombs

September 16, 2017

Yesterday’s Zippy:

(#1)

Steak bomb as the name of a type of steak sandwich was new to me. Steak sandwiches in general are torpedo-shaped, hence bomboid, but the point of the name is probably to assert that it is in fact the/da bomb, the best: the best of all possible steak sandwiches, because it has everything.

The play of steak bomb vs. stink bomb then just makes the name more memorable.

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Antique technology (and its songs)

September 6, 2017

For two days in the Zits strip, Jeremy’s mother worked at getting him to submit his application to renew his automobile registration via what some have come to call, retronymically, postal mail, using the antique technology and infrastructure of cards and letters, stamps, mailboxes, and a system for transporting and delivering physical pieces of mail. Today, Jeremy admits to his buddy Pierce that he capitulated to this exotic technology, and rather enjoyed the experience —

(#1)

but Pierce treats the technology involved as not merely antique, but literally ancient.

Yesterday I refrained from playing the Swiss card: the music of the PostBus service. But now I’ll dive into the great ocean of mailmusic.

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Obsolete technologies and middle verbs

September 5, 2017

A pair of Zits strips, from yesterday and today:

(#1)
(#2)

The theme is the looming obsolescence of technologies and their supporting infrastructures and social practices, in this case the system of mail delivery (cue Thomas Pynchon’s novella The Crying of Lot 49), with all its parts and accompaniments: postage stamps, envelopes and postcards, mail boxes, mail transport and delivery systems, posthorns and their tunes, delivery personnel in uniforms, mail slots, post offices, conventions for the form of letters, and more. If you’re young and well wired these days, this all could be as mysterious and exotic as analog clocks.

Jeremy is wary of the whole business.

And yes, Pynchon is relevant.

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Sea foam

September 4, 2017

The Zits from August 31st:

(#1)

About color naming, and its association with sex/gender. The stereotype is that males use only a small number of color names, but that females draw on a much more diverse collection of names, and that this difference follows from differences — perhaps learned, but perhaps inborn — in the interests and inclinations of the sexes, with females engaged in fashion and interior decoration (where a rich color vocabulary is useful) in a way that males are not.

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Terms of endearment

August 27, 2017

Recently in my comics feed, a Calvin and Hobbes re-run with endearments:

pooty pie, bitsy pookums, snoogy woogy — from Wiktionary:

term of endearment: a word, phrase, or nickname used as a term of address expressing affection (synonym: endearment)

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Speaking, writing, bubbles

August 25, 2017

The Mother Goose and Grimm for the 23rd:

When Grimm speaks in a cartoon bubble, what he says appears in printed English — because, after all, a cartoon bubble (aka speech bubble) is piece of visual representation. Consequently, his speech is spelled, and is therefore subject to misspelling. Yes, this is all a bit dizzying.

Then there’s the bit of ironic silliness in Grimm’s misspelling misspelling.

Revisiting 4: Luna Park

August 25, 2017

The last of these revisiting postings for today, on the Zippy for today, which revisits my 5/27/17 posting “Dreams and nightmares”:

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