Archive for the ‘Lexical semantics’ Category

“Farley”, the dog said, “get me a slice”

May 23, 2017

Three cartoons in today’s feed: a Bizarro with a talking dog; a One Big Happy with a slice that OMG might grow into a pizza; and a Zippy riff on Farley Granger and They Live by Night:

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missing it

May 13, 2017

Yesterday’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

(#1)

Ok, a simple ambiguity. The relevant subsenses of the transitive verb miss, from NOAD2, with my sense id codes:

— in the set of 12 failure-miss senses:
[1f] fail to attend, participate in, or watch (something one is expected to do or habitually does): teachers were supposed to report those students who missed class that day. [Mother Goose’s sense]

— in the set of 3 absence-miss senses:
[2c] feel regret or sadness at no longer being able to go to, do, or have: I still miss France and I wish I could go back. [Grimm’s sense, a willful misunderstanding of Mother Goose]

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base(ly)

April 29, 2017

On the moral adjective base (and its derived adverbial basely), with a note on its occurrence in Sacred Harp music (in Leander 71 and Confidence 270), setting up the, um, basis for a future posting on interpreting a Daily Jocks underwear ad with double meaning (moral and anatomical).

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National PB&J Day

April 2, 2017

Right after April Fool’s Day, April 2nd is a sweet day that sticks to the roof of your mouth. So I learned from bon appétit magazine this morning, with this (somewhat puzzling) photo:

(#1)

(The photo is part of a big ad push to get people to subscribe to the magazine, but I’ve extracted the photo so we can study it without distractions.)

And from the National Calendar Day site, proclaiming the holiday (though nobody seems to have any idea who created it or why they chose April 2nd):

(#2)

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Bizarro compounds

March 28, 2017

The Bizarro from the 22nd:

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

Interpreting N + N compounds can be the very devil, as I point out on this blog every so often, sometimes in connection with cartoons (where the possibilities for ambiguity are easily exploited). What to make of Girl Scout cookies (Girl Scout + cookies)?

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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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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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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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