Archive for the ‘Morphology’ Category

All they will call you will be “escapees”

September 13, 2020

Well, maybe also “escapers”, or even “escapettes”, as in this One Big Happy cartoon from 8/17, which taps into a much-studied phenomenon in English morphology:

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From my 1/9/15 posting “-ee” (warning: this goes, unavoidably, pretty deep into the technical weeds of syntax and semantics):

The great resource on [the English derivational suffix] –ee is a 1998 paper by Chris Barker in Language (74.695-727), “Episodic -ee in English: A thematic role constraint on new word formation” (stable URL here), which uses a database of “fifteen hundred naturally occurring tokens of some five hundred word types” to analyze the semantics of the suffix; it also has a full bibliography of relevant literature on the subject.

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The croup

September 12, 2020

The One Big Happy strip from 8/21:

Ruthie, faced with the unfamiliar medical term the croup, does her best to assimilate it to what she knows, namely the ordinary-language term for a physical condition, the creeps. But this time, she guesses that croup is a portmanteau, of group and creeps.

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Crossed folk stories

September 9, 2020

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro cartoon:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page)

The strip explicitly refers to the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, but also alludes to the Piper’s son as having stolen a pig. This is baffling unless you know a particular English nursery rhyme, so we have another exercise in cartoon understanding.

Ok, let’s assume you get that. Then the cartoon is a kind of conceptual portmanteau, a cross between the Piper legend and the Piper’s son nursery rhyme. Then set in a modern law-enforcement context, juxtaposing some (stereotyped) version of the real world with the world of these two folk stories. Cool.

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Christopher Robin Hood

August 12, 2020

Yet another Bizarro POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) — Dan Piraro is very fond of them — from 12/22/19:


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

So: Christopher Robin + Robin Hood — plus, of course, the outrageous Robin Hood pun: he steals from the rich and gives to the Pooh.

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August flora and fauna

August 9, 2020

… mostly fauna, the birds and creatures, squirrels especially. From the little world that I see in my long confinement (now into its sixth month), on the narrow patio outside the big window by my work table. The view from that window on 6/27:


(#1) From the inside of the house: the bird feeder, attached to the outside of the window; in the foreground, succulents (notably a silver Echevaria); a planter with tall-standing calla plants; and an assortment of cymbidium orchid plants; with an ivy-covered wall in the background

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Towards the high end of the hardness scale

August 4, 2020

(All I need to tell you is that this posting takes off from a line of Cumdump jockstraps offered by the Breedwell company in deliberately provocative ads, and you should see that it’s totally not for kids or the sexually modest.)

A Daily Jocks ad from 11/4/19 shows us the jock in red, with a model presented faux-naturalistically as a tough working-class guy in a blue-collar setting (a railyard, shipyard, or truckyard). Ad copy for the jock:

The new Breedwell Cumdump Jock [available in white, black, red, yellow, and blue] is a take on the classic, old-school woven jock.

Features a black centre patch with the Breedwell logo and signature “Dirty By Choice” motto. The back of the jock features ‘Breedwell’ across the entire back.

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Eat me

July 25, 2020

Well, maybe not. A lot depends on how squick works for you. What I’m talking about here are some chocolate candies, innocent enough, but in the shape of an anus, maybe now a challenge. I came across these Edible Anuses — their trade name — entirely by accident, in a search for something utterly unrelated.

A single (milk) chocolate:

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Now, it’s not hard to view this as an abstract art form (and delicious chocolate). It’s certainly not especially realistic in appearance, despite the fact that it was molded from a specific human body — though few people have in fact ever had such a close-up view of an anus (gay men who are into anuses being an obvious exception).

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Zipfixation

July 19, 2020

Today, Zippy returns to Billy’s Burg-O-Rama in Oxford MA (last visited in 2016), where he concludes that “Life is an endless panorama of o-rama word endings”:

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Against a background of the inventive food establishment name Burg-O-Rama, Zippy cites early examples of –orama words that served as the models for the development of the libfix -((o/a)r)ama.

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At the Paleo Cafe

July 15, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strip (Wayno’s title: “Farm to Slab”):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

A combination of two cartoon memes: the familiar Caveman meme, plus  a Remarkable Restaurant meme that’s a specialty of the Bizarro strips.

Plus the portmanteau word play in filet magnon (filet mignon + cro-magnon). And a subtle play on a systematic ambiguity between raw and cooked understandings in certain food names, in particular for cuts of meat. You ask for a filet at the Paleo Cafe, you get a hunk of raw meat.

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Death trap

June 5, 2020

The 5/27 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo brings us two Grim Reapers confronting what might be a trap for them:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

If you want to catch Death in a trap, what do you use as bait? Obviously, not the conventional chunk of cheese, but dead cheese: moldy cheese. (Moldy cheese is, of course, not actually dead; in fact, the cheese is alive with the swarms of microbes.)

The cartoon nicely exploits an ambiguity, between the semantics of the conventionalized compound death trap / deathtrap, and the semantics of a compound Death trap, parallel to mouse trap / mousetrap.

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