Archive for the ‘Semantics’ Category

Combos

August 14, 2017

Today’s Bizarro, in which Mr. Peanut (a registered brand) and Ms. GrapeJella (my invented name), a jar of grape jelly, face off:

(#1)

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

So many ways to combine the grape and the peanut, directly or via their metonymic associates (Ms. GrapeJella and Mr. Peanut) and their metonymic associates (grape jelly and peanut butter); and by combining things or by combining words (more carefully: linguistic expressions denoting those things).

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Reduced coordination, joke forms, and sociocultural categories

August 13, 2017

Two days ago, I set a competition for readers:

Compose a follow-up to the following lead-in to a joke:

Tom, Taylor, and Jonathan Swift walk into a bar…

Three matters, having to do with reduced coordination, joke forms, and sociocultural categories.

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Fungus gnats

August 13, 2017

Appearing around the drain of my bathroom sink on Friday, a small swarm of tiny black flies, which fled from my investigations by running, rather than flying, away. Ah, fungus gnats — usually found in soil, as around houseplants, rather than in household drains, but there probably was organic material in the trap for them to feed on.

A shot of bleach, followed by flushing with hot water, cleaned up the infestation.

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Kangaroo Paste, the Australian hair gel

August 10, 2017

Viewed the morning of the 8th, S2 E9 (“Bounty Hunters!”, 2007) of the tv series Psych, with several references to a (fictional) Australian hair gel for men, Kangaroo Paste, which the central character of the series, Shawn Spencer, really likes. This bit of mischievous product placement led quite a few people to ask where they could get the stuff.

For the record: there is an Aussie brand of hair-care products for women, which offers (among other things) Aussie Instant Freeze Gel, Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Gel, Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Mousse, Aussie Mega Gel, and Aussie Headstrong Volume Spray Gel (I have no idea how these products are distinguished from one another); and there is a product called Kangaroo Paste, but it’s a Korean shoe polish (a Korean knockoff of Kiwi Shoe Polish).

To come: the tv show (with a digression on the actor Kevin Sorbo); hair gel; the Aussie brand; Kangaroo Paste shoe polish (with a digression on compounds like Kangaroo Paste shoe polish); Kiwi Shoe Polish; and product placement.

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Adventures in compounding

August 2, 2017

xkcd strip #1681 Laser Products:

Two main axes of variation:

the parsing of the 3-part compound X Y Z as
[ X Y ] [ Z ] vs. [ X ] [ Y Z ]

and various possibilities for the semantic relation between Y and X in a 2-part compound X Y

Note: eye removal ‘removal of an eyeball’ is known technically as enucleation.

Christian Sauce

July 29, 2017

As on this advertisement, recently noticed in New Orleans by John Dorrance, who posted it in Facebook with only the comment “Seriously?”:

(#1) Available at the French Market, next to the Voodoo Sauce?

Well, yes, seriously. It’s a Hispanic man’s name Christian Sauce /krístian sáwse/, not an English compound noun Christian sauce, though commenters on John’s page (including the one who provided the basis for the caption of #1) preferred to have sport with the English compound noun, which affords a number of entertaining understandings.

Then there’s Christian Sauce, un abogado bilingüe practicing in Gretna LA, especially providing services to the Hispanic community (though not restricted to that). Of some linguistic interest with regard to both parts of his name.

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look pretty Adj

July 24, 2017

In a recent One Big Happy, Ruthie and her mother stumble through Ambiguityland:

An ambiguity both lexical and structural.

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Superficial oxymorons

July 21, 2017

A John Atkinson Wrong Hands cartoon:

An assortment of expressions (almost all Adj + N) that might at first glance seem to be internally contradictory — that is, oxymorons — but which are nevertheless sensical.

It would be a useful exercise to go through these examples and show how they gain their meaning.

(Note: there is now a Page on this blog on John Atkinson cartoons.)

More pipe philosophy

July 21, 2017

On the Philosophy Matters Facebook page, this take on Magritte’s The Treachery of Images (which comes up on this blog every month or so):

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Ovaltine mornings

July 20, 2017

On Facebook, from several sources, these vintage ads for Ovaltine, notable (these days) for their use of the adjective gay ‘light-hearted, carefree’:

(#1)

(#2)

Two things here: the lexical items gay; and the beverage Ovaltine. Along the way we’ll pick up some Los Angeles lesbian rap.

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