Archive for the ‘Speech acts’ Category

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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Asking questions and giving commands

August 21, 2018

The text for the day is a dialogue posted on Facebook on the 19th by John Beavers (a guitarist who moonlights as a linguistics professor at the University of Texas, Austin), between John’s son Ezra and John’s wife / Ezra’s mother Janice Ta:


Ezra on his 3rd birthday (July 28th)

Ezra: Mommy, do “boy” and “toy” rhyme?

Janice: Yes, they do! You’re very good at rhyming. Do “boy” and “man” rhyme?

Ezra: No. You’re not very good at rhyming.

Ah, a significant ambiguity in the use of interrogative sentences: between information-seeking interrogatives (infoseek questions, I’ll call them), like Ezra’s do “boy” and “toy” rhyme?; and examination interrogatives (test questions, I’ll call them; they’re also known as quiz questions), like Janice’s do “boy” and “man” rhyme?

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Book flash: New Work on Speech Acts

August 16, 2018

What looks to be an excellent report on work in semantics/pragmatics on speech acts, from OUP:

(#1)

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Two occasions, four cartoons

August 6, 2018

(There will be talk of men’s bodies, among a number of other things, so you might want to exercise some caution.)

Yesterday was National Underwear Day (utilitarian garments elevated to objects of play, desire, and fashion display), today is Hiroshima Day (remembering the horror of an event of mass destruction, death, and suffering). An uncomfortable, even absurd, juxtaposition, but there is a link in the symbolism of the two occasions. In my comics feed for these occasions: four language-related cartoons on familiar language-related themes, none of them having anything to do with either underwear or nuclear holocaust, probably for good reason.

Cartoons first, then the underwear and atomic bombs.
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scratch and sniff card

March 10, 2018

The One Big Happy from February 10th:

The sign says (but with reduced and):

SCRATCH AND SNIFF CARDS

Is that to be parsed as conjoined imperatives — you are to scratch and to sniff cards — or as an NP describing some cards — these are cards you can scratch and sniff, cards for scratching and sniffing?

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Can you say “cat”? Can you spell “cat”?

November 4, 2017

Two recent One Big Happy strips:

(#1) Can you say … “cat”… um, “sheepshank”?

The Mister Rogers trope Can you say X? ‘Say X’ (in a pedagogical tone); idiomatic go/get (all) X on Y

(#2) Can you spell “cat”?

Spanish ‘yes’ vs. English /si/ C (the letter of the alphabet); linguistic and natural mean; and more.

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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.

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More Magrittean disavowals

June 28, 2017

Today’s Zippy:

(#1)

One in a long series of Zippy strips about Tod Browning’s film Freaks, the characters in it, and the actors who played them (only some of them posted about here). Also one in a long series of strips referring to the Magrittean disavowal, a contradiction between text and image: in this case, the title of this comic strip, This is not a comic strip.

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Sexting with emoji

March 19, 2017

(Talk of sexual bodyparts and sexual acts, but with symbols rather than pictures of carnal reality.)

From the NYT‘s Fashion & Style section on the 14th, “Gaymoji: A New Language for That Search” by Guy Trebay, with the hot gay news from West Hollywood CA:

You don’t need a degree in semiotics to read meaning into an eggplant balanced on a ruler or peach with an old-fashioned telephone receiver on top. That the former is the universally recognized internet symbol for a large male member and the latter visual shorthand for a booty call is something most any 16-year-old could all too readily explain. [Maybe most any 16-year-old, but not a lot of older people; see below.]

As with most else in our culture, demographics define the future, particularly those describing an age cohort born with a smartphone in hand. That, at least, is the calculation being made by Grindr, the successful gay meeting app with ambitions to overhaul itself as an internet commons for a generation of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their pals.

And so, starting this week, Grindr will offer to users a set of trademarked emoji, called Gaymoji — 500 icons that function as visual shorthand for terms and acts and states of being that seem funnier, breezier and less freighted with complication when rendered in cartoon form in place of words.

One of the new emoji,  an image of semen / ejaculăte — jizz, spooge, cum, cream, spunk, etc.:

(#1)

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Gentle mockery

May 11, 2016

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin in one of his roles, as a 6-year-old boy in love with the clash of titans and destruction on a massive scale (he also has his moments of knowledge and opinion beyond his years, about art, for instance), and Hobbes in one of his roles, as an affectionate older-brother figure (he also has his moments as a tiger with tigerish instincts and as a playmate for Calvin). But what is Hobbes’s gently mocking speech act here.

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