Archive for the ‘Pragmatics’ Category

douché!

September 29, 2017

An exclamation reported to me back in June by Lee Tucker, a transparent portmanteau of the slang slur douche (as in douchebag) and the exclamation touché! ‘good / clever point!’. But I didn’t know quite how to analyze his (invented) example. Now I have some simpler examples, and I think I’ve got a handle on it.

(more…)

Revisiting 7: NL:W

September 17, 2017

Yesterday, a posting on the story of a joke (Not Lady: Wife, NL:W for short) whose canonical form is

A: Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
B: That was no lady; that was my wife.

The vector for the spread of the joke seems to have been the vaudeville team Weber & Fields, who allegedly used it in their stage routines over a century ago. But I found no first-hand reports, so I appealed to the hounds of ADS-L for attestations. This netted a clear occurrence from 1859, but embedded in a long and complex back story (though again with the stage German accent of W&F). And an earlier British antecedent.

Then Larry Horn chimed in with some astute observations on the semantics and pragmatics of NL:W.

All will be reproduced here.

(more…)

Terms of endearment

August 27, 2017

Recently in my comics feed, a Calvin and Hobbes re-run with endearments:

pooty pie, bitsy pookums, snoogy woogy — from Wiktionary:

term of endearment: a word, phrase, or nickname used as a term of address expressing affection (synonym: endearment)

(more…)

Bluto says: join or else

August 23, 2017

Aggressive days in the men’s underwear world, in my adaptation of a Daily Jocks ad from the 11th. There will be hot men in their underwear, suggestive captions, and a certain amount of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics; use your judgment.

(more…)

Gay slurs in New Zealand

August 16, 2017

… with quotations from a Stanford linguist.

The story: “Garry Mallett’s explanation of the F-word falls short” by Jeremy Olds yesterday in the NZ website Stuff (stuff.co.nz), about fag(got), beginning with events in Hamilton City NZ (south of Auckland on the North Island):

OPINION: It’s unclear why Hamilton City councillor Garry Mallett believes pink is a “homo colour”. Perhaps he thinks it’s effeminate; perhaps he thinks it’s cute.

Whatever the case, when Mallett described a pink piece of paper from an agenda last week as a “homo colour”, before using the word “fags”, his comments were perceived as homophobic by his colleagues, including councillor Angela O’Leary.

While he apologised for his language this morning, Mallett was last night defending his comments, saying gay people are comfortable with the labels, and to think otherwise is to be “sucked into this politically correct vortex,” The Spinoff reported.

“Many homosexuals freely and willingly identify with these words. Indeed, to some extent, homosexuals have ‘commandeered’ these words such that many non-homosexuals feel uncomfortable using them,” he said.

Ah, the right to use fag openly and proudly as a slur, threatened by the pansies, fruits, and fairies who have begun reclaiming fag for their own use.

(more…)

Hold me

August 13, 2017

Today’s Dilbert:

(#1) Wally gets Asok to wear a ThunderShirt® for anxiety

Wally achieves his end by trickery — by mendaciously telling Asok that he himself had used the device to achieve calm at work.

And it seems to have worked for Asok, quite possibly by the placebo effect.

(more…)

Metalinguistic tasks

August 12, 2017

In a recent One Big Happy, Ruthie’s father tries to get her to play with tongue twisters, but she treats the texts as stories about events in a real world:

Playing with tongue-twister texts is metalinguistic behavior, an activity in which bits of language are treated as objects in themselves, rather than being used to report, inquire, exclaim, instruct, etc. Small children (as above) and people in nonliterate societies are known for sometimes resisting metalinguistic talk of various kinds, instead confining themselves to concrete talk — what I’ll call planolinguistic talk (suggesting ‘flatly linguistic’, rather than ‘beyond and above’ language).

(more…)

The taunt

August 8, 2017

Today’s One Big Happy has James reciting a piece of American childlore, the taunt “X is a friend of mine” (where X is a name, preferably a trochaic one, like Ruthie, to fit the trochaic tetrameter pattern of the verse):

  (#1)

A cornucopia of pop culture references.

(more…)

On offer at Daily Jocks

July 19, 2017

(Men’s bodies, underwear, snarky captions, and some slang.)

A recent offer from Daily Jocks, SUP BRO t-shirts from the Australian company Supawear:

(#1)

That’s my shirt bro
It comes from A U
I’m Buster Brown
Look for me down there too

(more…)

Fixing things

July 9, 2017

Yesterday’s Mother Goose and Grimm, featuring the computer dogs (the bull terrier Grimm at the keyboard, the Boston terrier Ralph advising him):

(#1)

To understand this strip, you need to know about keyboard shortcuts on a Mac computer, in particular the combination

Command-Z: Undo the previous command. You can then press Command-Shift-Z to Redo, reversing the undo command.

⌘-Z undoes, or reverses, keyboard actions. In the cartoon, the dimwitted Ralph suggests using this computer key combination to reverse events in general — in this case, the falling of the lamp to the floor and the breaking that resulted from the fall. ⌘-Z will fix it!

If only.

(more…)