Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

Moby Chick, Moby Duck, Moby Dip

December 17, 2017

… and more, starting with Moby Chick in today’s Bizarro:

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(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 8 in this strip — see this Page.)

Watch out for the big white one — you could lose your leg!

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Xmas, Zippy, Sartre, the Big Duck, and Nedwig, too

December 16, 2017

It started to look a lot like Christmas back at the end of October, and now the great wave of celebration impels us towards the day. I have my personal holiday dates: the 15th of December, for years my evacuation day from Ohio (immediately after grades were due at Ohio State); the 20th, my arrival day in California, by then transformed from dry-season gold to the rainy-season green of rebirth; the 16th, today, marking for me not only the birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven but also the birthday of my friend Ned Deily, a day I came to see as Nedwig, by association the feast day of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. (Extended discussion of these significant events in my 12/17/16 posting “Two late December holidays”.)

Meanwhile, Bill Griffith has several times connected the coming of Christmas with Jean-Paul Sarte and the Big Duck of Flanders NY (on Long Island), and here I’ll follow him a bit along that rocky, twisted path. Enjoy the journey with me.

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Ruthie falls into the deontic-epistemic pit

December 12, 2017

The One Big Happy cartoon from 11/4, in today’s comics feed:

You can’t sell candy without a license.

Compare: I can’t talk.

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Son of Snowman

December 10, 2017

Today’s Rhymes With Orange takes another swipe at Magritte’s The Son of Man:

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This is mildly entertaining as a joke about some kid who makes weird, non-standard snowmen. But for it to fully work you need to know that Magritte was a surrealist painter, the creator of The Son of Man (crucially featuring the bowler hat and the green apple):

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The Hollywood sign in a time of troubles

December 8, 2017

Among recent editorial cartoons on sexual harassment cases are three that use the Hollywood sign as a symbol of things gone wrong in la-la land.

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Monkey see, monkey fear

December 7, 2017

Today’s Bizarro brings us a talking monkey facing the news:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Funny enough as it stands, but much funnier if you recognize the monkey as the character Curious George and his companion The Man With the Yellow Hat. So: a cross-comic reference, and because of that, a challenge to understanding.

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The saguaro in bloom

December 7, 2017

Here in northern California, we’ve had some early rain — not very often and not a lot, but enough to turn the golden hillsides to bright new green. And enough to convince the cacti and succulents in Stanford’s Arizona Garden that Their Time Has Come, so they’re bursting with new growth and breaking out in flowers. Notably, a big ol’ saguaro cactus has thrown out huge creamy blossoms, much like these in this photo from the net:

(#1) The state flower of AZ; NM claims the yucca

Meanwhile, the saguaro serves as an anthromorphic symbol — a man with both arms in the air — and a phallic symbol (an interpretation encouraged by the fact that the cactus is, oh dear, prickly).

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100 years of independence

December 6, 2017

Though today is one of the dark days of early December alluded to in my recent posting — it’s Mozart’s death day, a sad occasion indeed — it’s also St. Nicholas’s day (gifts!), and Chris Waigl’s birthday (eggcorns, remote sensing of wildfires in the Arctic, Python, knitting, and more, in three languages!), and Independence Day in Finland. As Riitta Välimaa-Blum reminds me, this year’s Independence Day is something spectacular: the centenary of Finland’s declaration of independence from Russia.

(#1) The Finnish flag

So raise a glass of Lakka (Finnish cloudberry liqueur) or Finlandia vodka, neat, to honor that difficult moment in 1917 — the year should call to your mind both World War I (still underway then) and the Russian revolution, and these enormous upheavals were in fact crucial to Finland’s wresting its independence from Russia.

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Ruthie verbs

December 5, 2017

The One Big Happy in today’s comics feed:

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Ruthie’s taken the predicative idiom in cahoots (with) — Dad is in cahoots with Joe, Dad and Joe are in cahoots — and extracted from it (by back-formation) a noun cahoot, which she then verbs, to get an activity verb cahoot with rather than the stative be in cahoots with.

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I say it sounds yucky, and I say the hell with it

December 4, 2017

A Calvin and Hobbes re-run in today’s comics feed:

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Food aversions have many bases: appearance, taste, smell, texture, intensity of flavor, novelty, objections to ingredients (would you eat Bambi? Thumper? Fido? Fluffy? Porky? Sam the Clam?, Charlie the Tuna?), allergic reactions, unpleasant previous experiences — and aversion to the name, as with Calvin.

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