Archive for the ‘Inflection’ Category

Crowing

May 22, 2018

The One Big Happy from April 25th:

(Tick-Tocket’s Chicken Crew seems to be a children’s book invented for this cartoon. But the title is plausible.)

Library Lady asks abut the noun crew, Ruthie (who often marches to the beat of her own drummer) responds with crew, a PST form of the verb crow — and then goes on to conjugate

crow (BSE/PRS), crew (PST), crown (PSP)

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The shateria

April 27, 2018

By day it looks like this:

(#1) The washateria ( = laundromat) at 37th and Guadalupe in Austin TX

But UT linguistics professor Steve Wechsler reports that at night, thanks to a defect in the lighting, it looks like this:

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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:

(#1)

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

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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Grammar police on the highway

November 4, 2017

A PartiallyClips from 2014, which somehow slipped my notice:

The officer in the cartoon — I’ll call him Andy, after E.B. White — objects to (1) broke as the PSP of break and to (2) What did you do that for? as (incorrectly) ending a sentence with a preposition, and he’s about to object to the driver’s use of (3) hyperbolic or intensive literally. Meanwhile, Andy’s partner Bill Strunk (note: the Strunk of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style was called Will) is busy doing usage-retributive damage to the car. Not, I think, the world’s greatest usage assholes, but arguably in the asshole pantheon.

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The X-Bulbs, plus Greek Sword

October 27, 2017

It started a while back with a pair of morning names: Ixia and Sparaxis. Two showy bulbs, united by the letter X. They led to (in alphabetical order) ChionodoxaCyanixia, Hesperoxiphon, Ixiolirion, Oxalis, Xenoscapa. And from Hesperoxiphon, through its sword-bearing component (Gk. xiphos ‘sword’), to Xiphion, which we know now in its Latin version Gladiolus.

Along the way, some reflections on categorization and labeling in the plant world.

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Ruthie on meanings

October 19, 2017

Two recent One Big Happy strips:

(#1) What does /sǽtǝn/ mean?

(#2) What does anaphoric do that refer to?

#1 plumbs Ruthie’s knowledge of the English lexicon (satin is unfamiliar to her, so she does the best she can with it from what she knows), #2 her ability to use anaphoric elements in context (she’s an ace at wielding “sloppy identity”).

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The word came down on Pentecost

June 7, 2017

Four language-related strips in my comics feed on Sunday the 4th, which this year was Pentecost,

the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter. (NOAD2)

KJV Acts 2:3: And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them

The word came down. In One Big Happy, Rhymes Wth Orange, Zits, and xkcd.

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An ambiguity you might not have noticed

February 26, 2017

A poster for the latest Star Wars movie:

Is that the last Jedi warrior (sg) or the last Jedi warriors (pl)? You can’t tell for sure, since the noun Jedi ‘Jedi warrior’ is the same in sg and pl, as in these two examples from the Wikipedia page on them:

[pl] The Jedi … are the main protagonists in the Star Wars universe.

[sg] A Jedi’s ideology and strict way of life as a worthwhile challenge to live up to is a recurring theme in the Star Wars universe.

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