Archive for the ‘Compounds’ Category

Note: the insect apocalypse

December 2, 2018

In today’s NYT Magazine (on-line on 11/27), “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here: What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?” by Brooke Jarvis: an alarming tale of scientists tracking huge declines in the insects in our environment: in raw amount of biomass, in numbers of species, in numbers of individuals in particular species.


(#1) The dramatic cover for the magazine

This is a note on the N + N compound insect apocalypse.

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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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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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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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Molesting and abusing ambiguously

September 2, 2018

The news stories are appalling, but this is about an expression in one of the stories:

(1) More needs to be done to protect children from molesting priests. (Gregory Ward in e-mail on 8/29, reporting on a WBEZ-FM (Chicago) news story)

Which led to the contemplation of the N + N compounds:

(2) child molester

(3) child abuse

All of them ambiguous, though all with a (dire) conventionalized sense.

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Rainbow. Sharks. Rainbow sharks.

August 16, 2018

First, rainbow: from Andrew Winnard on Facebook, a photo of a rainbow-lit Metro escalator in Stockholm.

Then, sharks: in my posting earlier today “Central Shark”, about Sharknado Week on the SyFy channel (Trailer Park Shark (2017) is just about to begin!).

Which led me to the Italian clothing company Paul & Shark, with its sharky logo — and its line of rainbow shark t-shirts. And to a slew of artworks depicting rainbow sharks. And to a popular aquarium fish, the rainbow shark.

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