Archive for the ‘Morphology’ Category

Shake, shake, shake that death rattle

November 15, 2018

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes re-play has the two protagonists engaged in a heavy game of Cowboys and Indians:

(#1)

A play on two senses of rattle, denoting either a sound or a thing that makes a sound.

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Cartoon understanding in parallel worlds

November 10, 2018

Two cartoons that have come by me recently that work only if you have a fair amount of cultural knowledge in two dfferent domains, which are presented in the cartoon as parallel worlds equally present there. A Brevity strip by Dan Thompson from 4/27/18 (thanks to Joe Transue for help in identifying the strip); and a Wayno & Piraro Bizarro from yesterday:

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Arousing the beast

November 7, 2018

In today’s comics feed, a One Big Happy that requires a double dose of pop-cultural moon knowledge to understand:

(#1)

A defiant gesture, a bit of lycanthropic folklore.

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Sweet stuff

November 1, 2018

Three candy bulletins from the last month: the news (which came to me from Scott Schwenter on Facebook, reporting exultantly from Pickerington OH) that Trix Fruity Shapes (from General Mills) are back on the shelves; today’s Wayno & Piraro Bizarro cartoon with cotton gin ‘gin(-flavored) cotton candy’; and the Sunday 10/28 NYT Magazine Candy Issue.

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PUMP!ing it up

October 17, 2018

(Homowear: male models in underwear, displaying their bodies homoerotically, with archly queer ad copy. Not X-rated, but not to everyone’s taste.)

The Daily Jocks ad for PUMP! underwear from the 15th:

(#1)

Underwear model as sculptural form. Mahogany Man.

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Chic peas and more

October 13, 2018

The fall special at Dan Gordon’s (on Emerson St. in Palo Alto), as it first appeared on the menu, about a month ago:

Summer Stew $16.95
smoked pork / cippolini onions / chic peas / prunes / red rice

(with the very notable spelling chic peas and with the misspelling cippolini for cipollini). But now the ingredients list reads:

smoked pork / cippolini onions / chickpeas / dehydrated plums / red rice

(with the notable dehydrated plums). Actually, all four ingredients have linguistic interest.

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Angerland

September 26, 2018

The One Big Happy from 8/30, in which Ruthie hopes for semantic transparency in morphology:

Ruthie’s reading from a book, so she can see the LAND in IRELAND (in pronunciation, it’s reduced to unaccented /lǝnd/ and might not be so easily identifiable). So she hopes the IRE part will be another word she knows that will make sense in combination with LAND in the way that the first elements in, say, ICELAND and WOODLAND do.

And her dad helpfully explains IRE.

 

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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Stormy compounds in English

September 23, 2018

(Extensive references to male genitals, with photos of phallic simulacra, so not to everyone’s taste.)

About a hitherto unstudied class of English N + N compounds that I will call Stormy compounds (in honor of Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Gregory Clifford), or Stormies for short. In a stormy, one N is mushroom and the other is a N referring to the penis (penis, phallus, dick, cock, in particular). For example, the subsective resemblance compounds mushroom penis ‘penis resembling a mushroom’ and penis mushroom ‘mushroom resembling a penis’.

Resemblance is one of a small set of canonical semantic relations between the head N2 and the modifier N1 in an N + N compound — relations that are in some sense always available for interpreting such compounds (within the bounds of  real-world and contextual plausibility). Otherwise, there’s an essentially open-ended universe of interpretations specific to the context and the shared experiences of speaker and addressee. In my writing about semantic relations in compounds, I’ve referred to the first set of relations as O-type (to suggest ordinary-type) and the second as X-type (to suggest extraordinary-type); others have used other terminology.

But even for O-type relations, there’s some room for specificity in how particular compounds are understood, and this fact is signficant for stormies.

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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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