Archive for the ‘Lexical semantics’ Category

BOY Party!

September 12, 2019

E-mail from the Stanford linguistics department on the 10th, under the header:

Save the Date: BOY Party 9/27

Whoa! I thought, conjuring up images of a department party featuring attractive young men — as entertainers (maybe some lesser-known boy bands), as guests of honor (very young up-and-coming NLP entrepreneurs, perhaps), as party staff (a phalanx of Ganymedes, in costume), purely as eye candy (twinks on parade), whatever — things are really loosening up in Margaret Jacks Hall!

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Lexical adventures: kinks

September 2, 2019

Recently in Facebook postings from Steven Levine, issues of a Popular Mechanics annual supplement Home Kinks from the 1940s and 1950s, supplying illustrated advice on home maintenance. Two things: some of the covers are entertainingly sexually suggestive, just as pictures. But then there’s the title of the series, with a sense of kink that seems now to have been swamped by the sense ‘mental twist, esp.in sexual matters’; it’s now easy to see these illustrations as images of fetish practices.

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bricks ˈnˈ mortar

August 31, 2019

Roz Chast in the September 2nd New Yorker:

(#1)

An exercise in the semantics of N + N compounds, exploiting an ambiguity that might not have occurred to you:

in the semantics of the modifying N, N1 (here, the coordinate N bricks and mortar);

in the semantics of the head N, N2 (here, the understood N store);

and in the semantics of the relation between N2 and N1  (here, ‘N2 for N1, (specifically) N2 selling N1’, in this case ‘store selling bricks and mortar — rather than the ‘N2 (made) of/from N1’ relation in the familiar conventionalized compound brick(s) and mortar store ‘store (made) of/from bricks and mortar’.

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Annals of category labels: food from a hole in the ground

August 28, 2019

… or edible roots (with root covering any underground plant organ), or whatever you call the stuff. In the 7/30 One Big Happy, Ruthie, confronted with /hol fudz/, takes it to be just such a label, hole foods, when her mother is referring instead to a grocery store, Whole Foods:

(#1)

The conventional (semi-technical) label for the category in question is root vegetables.

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shaker of salt

August 26, 2019

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo:


(#1) A parade of unidiomatic prepositional alternatives (with the P of) to the synthetic compounds cheese grater, nutcracker, meat cleaver, egg timer

(Wayno’s title: “Rhyme & Punishment”; see comments below)

To understand the relevance of these nominals, you need to know not only who Jimmy Buffett is and that his most famous song is the notoriously ohrwurmisch “Margaritaville”, you actually need to know a crucial couplet from the song:

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Sexy Dark Swiss

August 22, 2019

Specifically “pinksalt floyd rocks” Sexy Dark Swiss. Oh, it’s chocolate and it’s really trendy, because it’s prebiotic, and it’s whimsical too (the name Gutsii playing on gutsy and alluding to the gut, the playful allusion to the rock band Pink Floyd), plus it parades itself as dark and sexy, like a forbidden lover who steals into your bed in the dark of night. It came to me from the snack drawer at LiveJournal, brought by Kim Darnell, who works there.

From the Food Navigator site, the piece “Prebiotic chocolate? Gutsii enters US market on a mission to make gut health simple” by Mary Ellen Shoup on 2/11/19:

(#1)

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Pedaltecture

August 18, 2019

Saturday’s Zippy takes us to southeastern Pennsylvania, the land of my childhood:

(#1)

Not in escrow, but in Hellam Township, in York County PA. Specifically, in the Haines Shoe House. Which is a house in the form of a shoe (rather than a shop that sells shoes, or a storage place for shoes, or …).

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I do like a bit of cowboy butter to my meat

July 17, 2019

The original spur was this Pinterest item:


(#1) [ cowboy butter ] [ dipping sauce ]

On the dipping sauce in #1; the cowboy butter that is its basis; the interpretation of cowboy butter and other cowboy X compounds (cowboy casserole, cowboy rub); the combination of cowboys, butter, and meat (each with possible sexual associations); Jackson Hole Cowboy Cream; and cowboy cheese bites.

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The clown barber of Custard Street

July 12, 2019

Friday’s Wayno/Piraro collabo Bizarro strip (titled “Shaving Cream Pie”):


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

Ordinary barbers use shaving cream; clown barbers use cream pies. It’s just like spas: ordinary spas use facial creams (for moisturizing); clown spas use cream pies.

Bonus: the cartoon shows a clown barber twice over: a barber who is a clown, and also a barber for clowns.

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Books on tape

June 26, 2019

More word play in John Atkinson’s Wrong Hands:

(#1)

Exploiting an ambiguity in the preposition on and a concomitant ambiguity in the noun tape — an ambiguity that’s been around ever since magnetic tape was first used to record readings of books (quite some time ago, though audiobooks didn’t become a significant business until the 1980s). Meanwhile, the Books on Tape company was founded in 1975, but book on tape is still commonly used as a synonym of audiobook.

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