Archive for the ‘Context’ Category

Easter egg quotations

April 13, 2019

From my 1/25/19 posting “Pythonic curtain line in the Economist”:

The Economist is ridiculously fond of this sort of jokiness, dropping allusions left and right (unattributed of course), to both high and low culture, to idioms, proverbs and sayings, and so on. In the Vaccine X story, the sting is in the tail

— in the very last sentence: “All this may then eliminate the fear, surprise and ruthless efficiency of unexpected viruses”, a variant of a quotation from the Monty Python “Spanish Inquisition” sketch.

If you catch the quotation — not every reader will — that doesn’t contribute substantively to your understanding, but it does provide a kind of side pleasure, not unlike that afforded by Easter eggs in video games and the like. So I’ll refer to them as Easter egg quotations.

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The SemFest 20 handout

March 12, 2019

A long long day getting this handout together; my paper is on Friday afternoon. Ides of March. But first, the doctor is in:


Matt LeBlanc, playing Joey Tribbiani on Friends, playing Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives

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Annals of misreadings: the Cthulhu caper

February 26, 2019

From linguist Avery Andrews on Facebook:


(#1) Avery: “My first reading of this was ‘Cthulhu Towers’, indicating that whatever the top-down constraints on my linguistic processing may be, real world plausibility has at best a delayed effect”

To judge from my own misreadings — some of them reported on in the Page on this blog with misreading postings — real-world plausibility has virtually no role in initial misreadings; we tend to notice these misreadings, in fact, because they are so bizarre.

On the other hand, they sometimes clearly reflect material currently or persistently on the hearer’s mind — if you’ve been thinking about cooking some pasta for dinner, Italian pasta names are likely to insert themselves into your peceptions; if you’re a gardener, plant names will come readily to mind, even if they’re preposterous; and of course it’s common to see sexual vocabulary where none was intended —  but often they look like the welling-up of material from some deep chthonic place in memory, inexplicably in the context.

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individuals, people, persons

February 13, 2019

From a mail pointer to a 1/30/19 article in the journal Psychological Science, “Similarity Grouping as Feature-Based Selection” by Dian Yu, Xiao Xiao, Douglas K. Bemis, & Steven L. Franconeri:

Individuals perceive objects with similar features (i.e., color, orientation, shape) as a group even when those objects are not grouped in space.

Point at issue: individuals rather than people, a mark of a consciously formal, “scientific” way of writing, appropriate (some believe) for reporting on research in psychology.

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Smoke from an island

December 11, 2018

An anaphoric island. The smoke signalling another Page on this blog for anaphoric islands. Created back on 5/27/15, an Anaphoric islands Page, with links to postings about anaphoric islands (like this one). Now, today, a new Page with examples of them.

Today’s example was distributed to an informal group of anaphoric islanders (we collect the things — hey, it’s an innocent hobby) by one of our number, Larry Horn, who noted it back in the 1970s. Out of context, it’s a real challenge to interpret:

(1) I don’t think that non-smokers should have to put up with people who do

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O happy day! Annals of hypallage 2018

December 6, 2018

Three bulletins on hypallage on the net: a Page on this blog; a review of some net and media discussion from 2007-09; and recent Facebook discussion of a class of cases that I’ll refer to as food-source hypallage.

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What room am I in?

October 20, 2018

This photoon passed on to me by Karen Chung on Facebook (I have no idea of its ultimate source):

(#1)

Context, context, context.

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What’s he like?

October 18, 2018

In today’s comics feed, the One Big Happy for September 21st:

Playground Lady intends a WH question with (a reduced variant of) the auxiliary V is + a predicative PP headed by the P like ‘similar to’. Ruthie, ever keen on the reading not intended, hears a WH question with (a reduced variant of) the auxiliary V does (a PRS form of the V lexeme DO) + a complement VP headed by the BSE form like of the V lexeme LIKE ‘find enjoyable’. What is he like? (possible answer: He’s short and blond and funny-looking ) vs. What does he like? (possible answer: He likes playing video games).

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Attaching an 8-page essay at Wheaton College

September 30, 2018

Reported back on the 19th, a stunner of a 2017 headline about Wheaton College (IL) events dating back to 2016. First, the story from a source other than the one that produced the remarkable headline: from the Daily Mail (UK) by Jennifer Smith on 2/14/18: “Christian college ‘punished’ football players who ‘kidnapped, beat and sexually assaulted’ freshman in brutal hazing ritual by asking them to write an eight-page essay and complete community service”:

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In case of cartoons, see therapist

June 11, 2018

It started with this John Deering cartoon from 11/23/12 (passed on by a series of Facebook posters):

(#1)

In the tradition of the signage

IN CASE OF FIRE, BREAK GLASS

and introducing the cartoonist Deering, who’s fond of the Psychiatrist cartoon meme.

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