Archive for the ‘Semantics’ Category

Pop, ejaculated the weasel

March 14, 2017

I set it off with my 3/11 posting on “Ejaculatory pop”, about the vivid ejaculatory V and N pop. On ADS-L the next day, Larry Horn cracked:

And it does add a whole new perspective on that hanky-panky between monkey and weasel in the neighborhood of that mulberry bush…

And then the discussion branched into dispute over what the right words were for the nursery rhyme/song “Pop Goes the Weasel” and what the words meant (everybody wants texts to tell coherent stories, and that applies even to nursery rhym — despite their frequent bizarrenesses). There’s a nice Wikipedia page on the subject, which is good on the variant words and on the interpretations, most of which are ingenious inventions.

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On the N + N compound watch

March 6, 2017

Passed on by Ken Callicott, presumably from his browsing in supermarkets:

As I note from time to time, N + N compounds (like infant water) are always subject to multiple interpretations, even if we stick to interpretations that involve only the relatively small set of canonical semantic relations between the parts. Usually knowledge about the world and about the context in which a compound is used is sufficient to make one interpretation by far the most likely one. But that doesn’t stop  mischievous people from seeking out possible but unlikely interpretations and making antic hay out of them. (And cartoons often show henighted people fixing on possible but unlikely interpretations.)

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Two Ztoons on language use

February 27, 2017

The Zippy and the Zits in my comics feed today:

(#1)

(#2)

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Pretty in pink

February 26, 2017

Another little bulletin from my house: the third of the cymbidium orchids to bloom this season (they’re winter-blooming flowers):

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Ten language cartoons

February 25, 2017

On the Comic Kingdom site on the 21st, “Tuesday’s Top Ten Comics on Language” (where language is understood broadly), with comments from the site.

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Objects in compounds

February 22, 2017

A recent One Big Happy:

Ruthie has heard her father use the N + N compound student loan but doesn’t know the conventional meaning of the compound (in which the first N functions as Indirect Object: ‘a loan (of money) to a student’), so she (erroneously) gets another possible reading for student loan (in which the first N functions as Direct Object: ‘a loan of a student (to someone)’.

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IN in the news

February 21, 2017

The lesson for the day begins with a news story. From yesterday in the Guardian:

British Muslim teacher denied entry to US on school trip: Juhel Miah from south Wales was removed from plane in Reykjavik despite suspension of president’s travel ban … A council spokesman said Miah was left feeling belittled at what it described as “an unjustified act of discrimination”. The council said the teacher is a British citizen and does not have dual nationality.

Then from Nadim Zaidi on Facebook, commenting on this:

These stories are becoming so commonplace that I don’t even bat an eye at them anymore. And that is how it starts, through normalization. More specifically, banality, the banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt wrote.

That’s normalization, the nominalization of innovative normalize (IN) — ‘render normal [‘acceptable’] that which was previously deemed beyond acceptable bounds’  used in a political context. From Emily Dreyfus in Wired 11/23/16:

Long before [[REDACTED]] became the president-elect, his detractors warned against “normalizing” his myriad violations of campaign decorum: the bigotry and misogyny, the Putin-philia and cavalier talk about nuclear weapons. Since [his] election …, “don’t normalize this” has become a liberal mantra, a reminder to stay vigilant in the face of aberrant presidential behavior that Americans may feel tempted — or emotionally bludgeoned — into excusing as just the way the country works now.

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ON in the comics

February 20, 2017

A Zippy I’ve been saving since it came out on 11/25:

Another piece of what’s turning into a very large project on the English words normal (Adj), normality (N), and normalize (V) — plus related vocabulary — and the conceptual (and sociocultural) categories associated with them. The Zippy involves only long-standing senses of normal and normality — what I’ll call O (for old (senses of)) N (for the three normal-related words) — plus the Adjs abnormal and deviant. (The contrast is between ON and what I’ve called IN, for innovative senses of the words.)

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They don’t get it

February 18, 2017

Short, very common words tend to have a great many senses — more exactly, in such cases there tend to be a great many homophonous lexical items from the same historical source (thanks to semantic shifts and syntactic changes). So, in its main entry for the verb get, NOAD2 has 32 subentries (and then there are lots of idiomatic phrases with get and phrasal verbs with get). And we, um, get things like this scene in a recent One Big Happy:

  (#1)

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Felix d’Eon: on normalizing gay

February 17, 2017

On Wednesday, in “The news for penguins and, oh yes, penises” on this blog, image #5 has a “Love Rocket” image by the artist Felix d’Eon. Now on AZBlogX I’ve posted seven of d’Eon’s gay gay gay works. Here’s an eighth, which is penisless:

“The Little Death 4”, in a series showing men’s O-faces, their faces at the moment of ejaculation, of le petit mort.

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