Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

A bit of Climo and a peek at Farazmand

August 1, 2021

🐇🐇🐇 Cartoonists Liz Climo (who specializes in animal characters) and Reza Farazmand (who has several animal characters), very briefly, in books recently arrived at my house. Climo already has a Page on this blog; she views her animal characters with affection; friendship and the actual physical characteristics of her animals are major themes in her work. Farazmand is new to this blog; his animal characters are essentially people in animal guise; his work is wry, tending toward the dystopian.

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Buzzcut portrait 3: the gay dinosaur

July 29, 2021

(Sexually edgy topics — what do you expect from gay dinosaurs? — so you might want to exercise caution.)

Yesterday it was a rainbow FAGGOT in block letters (in the posting “Today’s garment faggotry”); today it’s all visual: a rainbow tyrannosaurus, a poignant symbol of gay obsolescence:


(#1) Yesterday I was standing in front of a bookcase, at the helm of my indoor walker; today I’m in my work nest with my Window on the World (on my plants, birds, and squirrels) behind me, sitting in my outdoor walker, which doubles as a sturdy chair (photo by Kim Darnell)

Behind me is a crocheted FUCK square, a tribute to Jesse Sheidlower and The F Word; and a postcard tribute to the male art of Tom of Finland. Just above them, not visible here, is a copy of Jump, Paradise Cove, 1987, a Herb Ritts photograph of four men disporting themselves on the beach (see my 9/9/16 posting “Herb Ritts”). Otherwise, it’s reference works on one side, my work table (with visible mouse, on its rainbow-Z mousepad) on the other.

On the shirt, see sense 2 in this NOAD entry:

noun dinosaur: 1 a fossil reptile of the Mesozoic era, in many species reaching an enormous size. … 2 a person or thing that is outdated or has become obsolete because of failure to adapt to changing circumstances.

Sigh.

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Tripping over the signature

July 23, 2021

Yes, I’m not dead yet, but I’ve had grave difficulties in getting even a tiny posting together. So here’s today’s (7/23) Mother Goose and Grimm cartoon, from the meta-cartoon world:

We’ve seen piles of cartoons in which speech balloons play a role as physical objects in the cartoon’s world: people point at their contents, they act as actual balloons carrying someone away, etc. Now it’s the artist’s signature.

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Between the glutes

July 18, 2021

(Some male body parts, depicted and discussed in plain, but not raunchy, terms. So not squarely in the Sex Zone, but not tasteful either. Caution advised for kids and the sexually modest.)

For me, it all started with a recent ad on Facebook for suit sets (sleeveless tank tops with bikini underpants) from the Fabmens company in a variety of intriguing patterns, including a (more or less) rainbow “color block” pattern seen here from the rear:


(#1) The design of the underpants strikingly accentuates the wearer’s ass / butt / bum  cleft / crack / cleavage, in a way that in my queer fashion I (at least) find decidedly hot

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Terrible pun day

July 15, 2021

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro:


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

A pun so terrible it’s wonderful: derivative / the riveter. A distant pun phonologically, sharing the prosodic pattern WSWWW and the medial material /ǝrív…t/, plus the pairing of /d/ vs. /ð/ initially, but with the distant matching of /v/ vs. /r/ finally, and with a single word matched with a two-word sequence. As with notably imperfect puns in general, it’s probably understandable only if you recognize the model for the pun: Rosie the Riveter, the name of the figure on the left in the cartoon and of the figure in the “We Can Do It” patriotic poster from WWII.

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proofreading

July 14, 2021

🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷 The One Big Happy strip from 5/28:

We all, from time to time, come across a word we haven’t experienced before (or didn’t register having experienced it), and just guess, often tacitly, at its approximate meaning as the world goes on around us. Little kids, having had much less linguistic experience, do this all the time; they pretty much have to.

To this end, they use similarities to words or parts of words they do know, and Ruthie is an especially analytic kid, keen on finding word-parts in unfamiliar material — plenty of examples in earlier OBH postings on this blog. In this case, the word is in fact straightforwardly analyzable into two familiar parts, and Ruthie gets that.

Oh, but what are those parts? Phonologically /pruf/ (a N spelled proof) and /rid/ (a BSE-form V spelled read).  No problem with the second, but there are several Ns proof; the compound proofread is an idiom with one of those Ns in it, but not the one that Ruthie detects.

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A snowfall of diacritics, an avalanche of röck döts

July 12, 2021

Like most publications about science news for a general public, the weekly New Scientist has a notable sense of humor: two cartoons about science in every issue (see below), bits of word play inserted all over the place, and the occasional wryly funny news brief, like this one (“Bleak, very bleak”) in the 29 May 2021 issue, p. 56 (a note in “The back pages / Feedback” section):

We are grateful, for some value of grateful, to Michael Zehse for drawing our attention to the music of Nænøĉÿbbœrğ VbëřřћōlöKäävsŧ. We discover, as the extensive use of röck döts [AZ: and other diacritics] was perhaps inviting us to conclude, that this is “an extremely underground band that plays a dank, bleak, light-void music commonly referred to as either ‘ambient cosmic extreme funeral drone doom metal’ or ‘post-noise’.”

Having begun listening to one track, 10^100 Gs of Artificial Gravity, from their album The Ultimate Fate of the Universe, we can’t confirm the accuracy of the first description, but the second seems pretty fair.

The “windy, staticy” tone was achieved by the two band members, researchers who describe themselves as having met while studying carnivorous Antarctic predators, loading a bass, an amp and a laptop onto a dog sled to sample at the precise geographic South Pole during a long winter. Whatever we think of the outcome, this is true dedication to art. Rëspëkt.

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Woof!

July 9, 2021

Today’s Zippy strip — anticipating Teddy Bear Picnic Day by just one day (yes, this is relevant) — has our Pinhead engaged with a fiberglass Doggie head from the Doggie Diner chain (1948-86 in San Francisco and Oakland):


(#1) Doggie is a repeating character in Zippy, and the two are usually quite loquacious with one other — in my 12/27/13 posting “Doggie Diner”, they are in fact in a relationship — but so far in this strip, Doggie hasn’t gotten past the basic canine woof

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An allusion and a pun

July 1, 2021

🐇🐇🐇 The Mother Goose and Grimm strip from 6/30, with an allusion to an item of culture (the catchphrase “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”, quoting from sketches from the Monty Python tv shows and recordings) and perpetrating a (fairly absurd) pun on the phrase:


(#1) The bull terrier Grimm and the cat Attila confront punishment for their household misdeed

So the ostentatiously playful allusion to the Spanish Inquisition is motivated by the situation in the strip.

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The lizard and the flag

June 26, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, with a pun on monitor; and a popular dad joke — even better, a Swiss dad joke, with a pun on plus — retold by Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show yesterday:

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