Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

The dog therapist is IN

September 25, 2018

Today’s Bizarro/Wayno collaboration (entitled “Recurring Dream”) is, from the point of view of this blog, quite timely:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

That’s a dog therapist ‘therapist for dogs’ (a Use N + N compound); see discussion in my 9/22 posting “therapist dog, dog therapist”. In this case, for a patient who’s had the canine equivalent of the common nightmare of being naked in public (especially in front of a class or while giving a speech).

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therapist dog, dog therapist

September 22, 2018

Exercises in English N + N compounds (for use in another context), illustrated in cartoons exemplifying the Psychiatrist cartoon meme, with dogs either as patient or therapist (or both): therapist dog ‘dog that is a therapist’ (also ‘dog for therapists (to use, for example as companions)’, a sense I’ll disregard here); dog therapist either ‘therapist that is a dog’ (sense 1) or ‘therapist for dogs (taking dog as patients)’ (sense 2).

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A transatlantic exercise in cartoon understanding

September 21, 2018

To fully appreciate this cartoon (passed on to me on Facebook), you need to have two pieces of pop-cultural knowledge, one originally American, one originally British (though it is the way of such things to cross the Atlantic culturally):

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You need, of course, to recognize — American cultural knowledge — that this is a baseball diamond, with a game in progress, and that there’s an object on first base. Then — further American cultural knowledge — you need to recognize the (note: declarative, not interrogative) sentence Who’s on first as the first move in one of the greatest America comedy routines ever. Then — British cultural knowledge — you need to recognize the thing on first base and connect it to the fact that Who’s on first, both of them elements from one of the most popular British tv shows ever.

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Two bookish Tom Gaulds

September 20, 2018

More from the cartoonist of the bookish class, passed on by Facebook friends: on translation, and on book formats.

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Bridge Over the River Kawaii

September 19, 2018

… for Talk Like a Pirate Day, arrr:

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The cartoon milkman

September 11, 2018

… and a bad grandpa pun, in the One Big Happy from 8/14:

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(The characters, left to right in the first and last panels: the neighbor boy James; the son of the OBH family, Ruthie’s older brother Joe; and Joe’s grandfather.)

Grandpa reproduces a bit of culture lore, about liaisons between housewives and milkmen. The boys are no doubt somewhat vague about what would be involved in a woman’s running off with the milkman. But, more pressingly, they don’t know what a milkman is: the N +  N compound is scarcely transparent semantically, so unless you’ve actually had milkmen in your experience, tales of women and milkmen are just baffling.

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I gotta go

September 11, 2018

The catch phrase of writer and performer Merle Kessler’s alter ego Ian Shoales, just a bit short of the more vernacular I’m outta here. That’s motion go. Then there’s elimination go, and an ambiguity between the two, as exploited by Calvin in this (recently re-cycled) Calvin and Hobbes strip:

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Three bulletins

September 6, 2018

From the annals of naming, a probably inevitable name for a wine blend. From the cartoon files, a recent SMBC with a classic grammar peeve that is newly relevant. And from the news for penises, the image of a bicycle turned into a penis.

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Brush away the blue-tailed skink

September 4, 2018

From Chris Zable on Facebook on August 3rd, a photo from her family’s holiday in Florida, with her comment:

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“Spotted this little lizard with a bright blue tail on a fence rail at the Tallahassee Museum. Much of their space is a zoo of local native species in generously-sized enclosures that are just fenced off bits of native habitat. We saw pumas, red wolves, and foxes among other critters.”

As good a photo of a blue-tailed skink as any you can find on the net. To come: on skinks; on the “Blue Tail Fly” song; and on my gay highjacking of the song, as “Blue Tailed Skink” (with skink as a portmanteau, skank + twink) — taking things far from Chris’s original child-friendly travel report.

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Uneasily cute

September 2, 2018

Today’s Zippy, on cute vs. horrifying, two territories sometimes separated by a chasm, more often by an uneasy borderland:

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The central figure is either a cartoon character or a roadside fiberglass figure, but either way I haven’t found the original. Suggestions welcomed.

Elsewhere in Zippyland, there’s a domain of fun and dreams fulfilled, coexisting uneasily with, next to, a land of terror and nightmare — in amusement parks.

Outside of the darkly cute areas of Zippyland, there’s a huge sweetly cute world, centered on Japan and South Korea, but with a soft pink haze of Hello Kitty, Pinkfong (Baby Shark!), and more blanketing much of the world.

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