Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

News for bears: cities of bears

December 8, 2018

On the 5th here, postings on the patron saint of bears and on Swiss saintly dogs (with a bow to the city of Bern(e)). Now: more on Bern; on the movie BearCity; and on two California cities of bears, Big Bear City in San Bernardino County and Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County.

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Nur in der Schweiz

December 2, 2018

A report from Amanda Walker, one of our corresondents in Zürich, with news of a seasonal product promotion at McDonald’s. It’s gooey cheese time again!


(#1) “Der McRaclette ist zurück … Das gibt’s auch nur in der Schweiz”

It’s back, and available only in Switzerland.

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A grotesque word

November 29, 2018

Tuesday’s Zippy:

(#1)

Another chapter in word attraction: Zippy’s (and Griffy’s) enjoyment of “funny words”. Here, gargoyle, which Zippy, absurdly, analyzes as a compound of the nouns gar (referring to a kind of sharp-toothed fish) and goyle (a rare, mostly dialectal, term for a deep trench) — so, roughly ‘fish ravine’. Turns out the actual etymology of gargoyle is entertaining enough on its own.

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croquet monsieur

November 26, 2018

Tennis, anyone? Croquet, monsieur? Croquette, madame?

I begin in medias res, with croquet monsieur, as used in this announcement on the specials board recently at the King’s College Cambridge servery:


(#1) (photo by Bert Vaux, of King’s, posted on Facebook today)

The staffer who made up the board was presumably unfamiliar with the croque part of the food name croque-monsieur, so they went with the closest thing they knew: croquet.  (Well, it was all French to them.) Go With What You Know is the eggcorning strategy of Ruthie in the cartoon One Big Happy, reported on regularly in this blog.Here it is in an adult variant.

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Annals of error: name retrieval in the news

November 23, 2018

The error, as reported in HuffPo (among many other news sources) on the 13th: by Jenna Amatulli,

New Zealand Newspaper [the Gisborne Herald] Flubs Stan Lee’s Obituary, Writes ‘Spike Lee Dies’

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Inadvertent errors in retrieving words are common, especially in speech. Some are primarily motivated on phonological grounds, some primarily on semantic grounds, but typically both effects are relevant (some details in a moment). Inadvertent errors in retrieving proper names are particularly common, because everyone experiences a monumental number of proper names, with new ones popping up on a daily basis. In this context, Spike Lee for Stan Lee would be an entirely unsurprising error in name retrieval.

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Gesneriana

November 19, 2018

A tribute to the great Swiss natural historian — in fact, polymath — Conrad Gessner (in the biological literature, Gesner), whose name has popped up in my life three times recently: in connection with the striking plants known as gesneriads (among them, African violets); as an early chronicler of mountain climbing (specfically on Mount Pilatus in Switzerland); and as the source of the first description of the alphorn, or alpenhorn (the musical instrument).

Gessner and some of his subjects, as depicted in a set of commemorative stamps issued by the African nation of Guinea on the 500th anniversary of his birth:

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Gessner himself might have been archetypically Swiss, but the gesneriads are tropical plants, of Africa and South America.

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Randy Blue purifies the air

November 18, 2018

(Warning: eventually this posting devolves to references to, though not illustrations of, gay porn; a video of a guy dancing in nothing but his Calvins; and the decidedly raunchy, though not actually X-rated, lyrics of Beyoncé’s song “Blow”. So: rated “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, in particular, kids and the sexually modest.)

Day 11 in the smoke — not nearly as bad here on the SF peninsula as in SF itself (or, of course, closer to the Camp Fire around Paradise) — and today the local AQI (the American Lung Association’s Air Quality Index) has dipped to 129, merely “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, but I’m in several of the compromised groups, and life has been hellish for a long time. [A few hours later: up to 158, “Unhealthy”, period.]

(#1)

Aid arrived Thursday night, in the form of a Blue Pure 121 air purifier, which now stands majestically in the middle of the main area of my Ramona St. house, humming softly as it offers me clean air to breathe. Puckishly, I have named the machine Randy Blue (after a big gay porn company, itself puckishly named), so this posting will segue from pure air to raunch.

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Bite me, Count Bendix!

November 15, 2018

Today’s Zippy, set in the Bendix Diner in Hasbrouck Heights NJ (in Bergen County, in the NJ suburbs of NYC, near Passaic), celebrates grilled or fried ham and cheese sandwiches:

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A word for it: teknonymy

November 13, 2018

On the Linguistic Typology mailing list recently, David Gil (Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany) relayed a query from a friend:

Teknonymy is the phenomenon in which a parent is referred to by the name of his or her children.  For example, my father was addressed and referred to by his Arabic-speaking friends as “Abu Daud”, or ‘father of David’. Teknonymy is attested in many different cultures around the world.

In at least some Arab societies, teknonymy interacts with gender in the following way. Whereas men, once assigned a teknonym, may still be addressed or referred to by their original name, women who are assigned a teknonym [like Umm Malik ‘mother of Malik’] may no longer be addressed or referred to by their original name — their original name is simply lost.

My question: Is anybody familiar with similar cases of gender asymmetry in teknonyms in other languages/societies?

I was familiar with the phenomenon, but didn’t have a name for it. Now I have several.

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Revisiting 19: more proxy names

October 31, 2018

Following up on my 10/20/18 posting “Numbers and names”, where I wrote:

The current avalanche of comments spam comes from a proxies site that creates random usernames for its comments from a gigantic database of names, thus producing many entertaining FN + LN combinations.

Another wave in recent days. Yesterday’s comments spam queue began with:

Frank Gwilt, Sebastian Tentler, Dovie Weasel

I was especially taken by Dovie Weasel, combining a high-positive FN (referring to the bird conventionally associated with peace and love) and a high-negative LN (referring to the conventionally deceitful small furry mammal). Later that day came the remarkable Shawnee Handshoe, which I merely note in wonder here.

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