Archive for the ‘Morphology’ Category

STIR FRYS

January 12, 2018

From the recent Linguistic Society of America meetings in Salt Lake City, via Mike Pope, this sign in the window at the downtown restaurant Mollie & Ollie:

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Of linguistic note: the spelling STIR-FRYS — rather than STIR-FRIES — for the plural of the C[ount] noun STIR-FRY (most commonly spelled as hyphenated STIR-FRY, but occasionally solid STIRFRY or separated STIR FRY). This spelling preserves the identity of the base word FRY and so treats the noun STIR-FRY as an inviolable unit.

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Puns and metatheses

January 10, 2018

Two recent cartoons: a Rhymes With Orange from the 8th, with a hall / howl pun; and a One Big Happy from December 13th in which Ruthie struggles with the word permanent:

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tooken by the senses taker

January 4, 2018

The 12/5/17 One Big Happy, which came by in my comics feed a few days ago:

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Three things here: Ruthie’s eggcornish reshaping of the unfamiliar word census (ending in /s/) as the familiar senses (ending in /z/); her tooken as the PSP of the verb take; and (in the last panel) her use of take ‘tolerate, stand, endure’ (here with the modal can of ability and also negation; and with the pronominal object this).

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A double regularity

January 3, 2018

Arnold M. Zwicky, A double regularity in the acquisition of English verb morphology. Papers in Linguistics 3.3.411-8 (1970). Also in OSU WPL 4.142-8 (1970).

From OSU Working Papers in Linguistics No. 4: Papers by Gaberell Drachman, Mary Louise Edwards, Charles J. Fillmore, Gregory Lee, Patricia Lee, Ilse Lehiste, and Arnold M. Zwicky

to pizza-make

December 26, 2017

Another chapter in the story of synthetic compounds and 2pbfVs, most recently treated (at some length) in my 12/23 posting “they kitchen-kissed again”. The new datum came to me from Mike Pope, who found it in a piece on the Ozy site, “The World’s Most Beloved Food is Under Serious Threat” by Silvia Marchetti on 9/28/16, where I’ve boldfaced the 2pbfV to pizza-make (in its PRS form):


Gamal, an Egyptian pizza chef in the Rome neighborhood of Ostia (link)

When you stop by for a quick lunch at a pizzeria in Rome, you expect to see Roman or Neapolitan chefs in front of brick ovens throwing pizzas in the air to give them that roundish shape. Today, though, the pizza makers you encounter are more likely to be Egyptian, Pakistani and Indian, who pizza-make with sublime artistry. In fact, according to Confcommercio, Italy’s food retail association, 2 out of 5 pizza makers in Italy are Egyptian or Moroccan.

But there are still aren’t enough hands to make dough into discs: The country that invented the world’s most heavenly flatbread, says Confcommercio, needs 6,000 pizza chefs.

Why pizza-make, and not make pizza? Both are possible; the second is stylistically unremarkable, while the first is notable; the first is a word (albeit a compound), while the second is a syntactic phrase; and they are truth-functionally equivalent, but the first implicates something beyond the semantic content that they share — that the making of pizza is framed as a distinctive, unitary activity, involving the pizza-maker directly and essentially. Anybody can make pizza, but it takes someone special  — an expert, a craftsman, a professional, someone like Chef Gamal — to pizza-make. (more…)

they kitchen-kissed again

December 23, 2017

A Xmas data-gift from Larry Horn, from a novel (Sylvia Brownrigg, Pages for You (2001)) about an affair between an undergraduate and her universty TA. The two excerpts Larry sent are, in his words,

separated by various (recoverable) activities, but the reader is expected to remember what had gone on between the lovers on pp. 93-94 [They kissed in the lit kitchen] when she gets to pp. 99-100 [They kitchen-kissed again].

So, in the latter: the verb to kitchen-kiss, either a 2pbfV (a 2-part back-formed V) based on the (well-attested) synthetic compound kitchen-kissing ‘kissing in the kitchen’ or a verbing of the (also well-attested) N + N compound kitchen-kiss ‘a kiss in the kitchen’. It turns out that kitchen-kissing and kitchen kisses are a (sociocultural) thing, which has attracted websites, Pinterest boards showing the activity, and the like — so it’s no surprise that there’s a one-word (compound) verb referring to the activity.

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Is that all there is? Just platypi and clichés?

December 19, 2017

Today’s Zippy has our Pinhead hero trading diner thoughts with a Pinhead named Nesbitt:

For two panels, Zippy spouts the idea that nothing represents, or stands for, something else; things are what they are, and that’s all there is. Meanwhile, Nesbitt runs through two idioms that he thinks of as clichés (rock s.o.’s world, takeaway), and the pair ping-pong plural platypi.

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The news for mammoths: toy stories

December 18, 2017

Previously on this blog — in #9 in a 12/16 posting “A tale of a bed: from removal to revival” — we met the stuffed woolly mammoths I called Mammuthus Major and Mammuthus Minor on the headboard of my new bed. Elsewhere in my bedroom there are two more toy mammoths, much bigger than these: a once-“animaltronic” hulk with a dark brown rubber-like plastic skin; and a somewhat smaller and more fanciful stuffed toy with a purple, blue, and yellow cloth skin — creatures I call Fey and Butch, shown here (in their native teak and blue habitat) in a somewhat impressionistic photo:


(#1) Fey and Butch, bathed in yellow light

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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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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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