Archive for the ‘Semantics’ Category

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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Aquatic carpentry

February 5, 2019

A Wayno & Piraro Bizarro from the 4th, presenting an exercise in cartoon understanding and jogging some reflections on comics conventions:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

To understand the cartoon, you need to appreciate that it shows a situation from everyday life (the office of a carpentry business)  juxtaposed with, or translated into, another, more remarkable, world (an undersea, aquatic, world, populated by specific fish, which you need to recognize).

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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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Better than ABC order

February 2, 2019

Once again, Ruthie grapples with ABC order, in the January 6th One Big Happy:

(#1)

The larger context: test tasks for kids, and what they’re for. Eventually this will take us to queens.

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The natural history of snowclones

February 1, 2019

The title of an abstract of mine for the 20th Stanford SemFest (Semantics Festival), to take place on March 15th and 16th (the Ides of March and National Panda Day, respectively). The SemFests feature reports (primarily 20-minute presentations, plus 10-minute question periods)

on recent work on any topic touching on meaning broadly construed, ranging from traditional topics in semantics and pragmatics to social meaning to natural language understanding and beyond

This posting is primarily about my snowclone paper, but there will also be some very personal reflections on the conference and its significance in my academic life.

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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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Playful anaphoric islanding

January 18, 2019

Adrienne Shapiro on Facebook on the 14th, reporting on a day trip from Seattle with Kit Transue:

Cape Disappointment did not [understood: disappoint].

An instance of the anaphoric construction VPE (Verb Phrase Ellipsis) in which the antecedent for the ellipted material is not an actual expression in the preceding text, but instead is merely evoked by a word-part in this text, the disappoint inside the nominalization disappointment. The configuration requires some processing work on the part of a reader (or hearer) — it presents a kind of puzzle for you to solve — so it’s jokey, likely to elicit a smile from you, in admiration of Adrienne’s condensed cleverness.

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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):

(#1)

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

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Annals of indirection

January 1, 2019

Chip Dunham’s Overboard strip from December 28th:


(#1) Captain Crow and his dog Louie

An exercise in both syntax/semantics and semantics/pragmatics: on syntactic constructions and their semantics, and on the indirect conveying of meaning in context.

Above, what will become example (c) in the syntactic discussion:

(c) I don’t think I’ve told you today what a wonderful dog you are

which will lead to a related example, Sir Van Morrison’s song line in (d):

(d) Have I told you lately that I love you?

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Peppernut Day

December 24, 2018

Having tackled the Christmas season as a whole, Sandra Boynton examines one specific day: on FB yesterday, with “A helpful tip on National Pfeffernüsse Day” (December 23rd):

(#1)

On peppernuts. And on the recipe register (here: Recipe Object Omission in roll thoroughly in confectioners’ sugar).

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