Archive for the ‘Morphology’ Category

Grammar pirate

February 25, 2019

The title of this cartoon, which turned up yesterday in FB’s Our Bastard Language group:

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The captain is both a pirate and (as it turns out, once you figure out what the man intends to say) a grammar nazi, bent on correcting his crew’s inferior (as he sees it) English — hence the portmanteau grammar pirate. So the cartoon is, primarily, about (stereotypical) pirate talk (which will take us to the West Country of England), but also about peeving.

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For gay penguins, science and Canada!

February 21, 2019

A few days ago, this full-page magazine display made the rounds of Facebook:


(#1) Deriding the “Libtard Agenda” while imitating the Johnson Smith Co.’s ads for novelty items in the back pages of comic books and other publications aimed at children

The first copies I saw didn’t identify the creator or the publication the page came from, and there was some question whether it was (as George V. Reilly, invoking Poe’s Law, put it) “a right-wing parody of progressive views, or a left-wing parody of right-wing opinions of progressive views”. Parody, certainly, but from what viewpoint?

So in its form it’s a parody of a genre of advertising hucksterism. And then in its specific content it’s a parody of a style of political talk (either mocking what’s framed as a preoccuption with kale, gun control, facts, and the like, or mocking those who engage in such mockery).

Much has now become clear. To start with, the copy of the page in #1 identifies the creator as Mary Trainor, and that provides enough context to eventually sort things out.

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Presidents Day weekend in Berkeley

February 16, 2019

A bit of personal and intellectual history, having to do with the fact that there was a period of years when on the Friday before Presidents Day my husband-equivalent Jacques Transue and I would drive from Palo Alto to Berkeley for the annual meeting of the BLS, the Berkeley Linguistics Society, then held in Dwinelle Hall at UCB over the three-day weekend. (It has since moved its dates to less crowded times during winter quarter.)

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Annals of sweevory food: my Japanese Valentine

February 12, 2019

On the Japan Times site on February 9th, “Say ‘I love you’ a different way with Kourakuen’s chocolate ramen” by Patrick St. Michel”:

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Cowboy casserole

February 4, 2019

On Pinterest this morning, this Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole:


(#1) Two stages in preparation and the final product

Ah, the N + N compound cowboy casserole. Clearly not an Ingredient compound (‘casserole made from cowboys’), but instead a Use compound, roughly ‘casserole for cowboys (to use)’, or — most likely — an Object compound, roughly ‘casserole of the sort that cowboys (like to) eat’.

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Mandolin Orange

February 4, 2019

Alerted by NPR this morning and entertained by the band’s name, I checked out Mandolin Orange and really liked what I found.


(#1) Mandolin Orange recording “Wildfire” 11/2/16 at Paste Studios in NYC

And they’ll be playing at the Fillmore in SF next month:

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Another family food holiday, and alternatives to it

February 3, 2019

The Hi and Lois cartoon from 2/7/16:

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Super Bowl Sunday — today, this year — joins Thanksgiving and Christmas as a holiday that serves as an occasion for gatherings of family and friends plus a spread of characteristic food. A family food holiday, for short.

The SBS holiday crucially involves the Super Bowl football game, for the NFL championship: this year, SB LIII  (El Ay Ay Ay!), New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta GA (6:30 ET).

While much of the US population gathers around tv sets for the game, its half-time show, and its ads — virtually emptying out many public spaces —  others seek out alternatives. (I myself have an unbroken record of studied inattention to the game, from SB I in 1967 on.) Alternatives that are cultural, recreational, commercial, and even sexual. (This posting will devolve into tales of SBS mansex, but I’m putting that material at the end, so kids and the sexually modest can enjoy the rest of this material and then bail out when the gay guys strip and go at it with one another like weasels in heat.)

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The party linguist

January 28, 2019

The 1/17 Wayno-Piraro collab on a Bizarro:

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

There’s a lot in this; I’ll start with the purely linguistic question: What does the N + N compound party linguist refer to? Then turn to the question of what’s happening in the cartoon, in particular how the notions of minority and diversity figure in it.

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hunter gatherers

January 27, 2019

The Bizarro from 2/7/15, noted on Facebook today by Nancy Caplow, who commented, “Potentially ambiguous compounds; subtly different prosody”:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

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Nighthawks on New Year’s

January 2, 2019

A memorable New Yorker cover for the New Year: an Owen Smith parody of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (one of a great many such parodies):

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Three things: Nighthawks parodies, Owen Smith, and party hats.

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