Archive for the ‘Lexical semantics’ Category

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’:

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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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Amoeba humor

July 17, 2017

A classic Gary Larson cartoon, which came up on Pinterest this morning:

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Pun time at the protist corral, playing on Anglicized Spanish adios, amigos ‘goodbye, friends’ (perhaps better in AmE: ‘so long, buddies’).

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pretzel dog

July 13, 2017

It’s about the N + N compound pretzel dog, and its many possible understandings: a dog that delivers pretzels, a dog that likes pretzels, a dog twisted into the shape of a pretzel (or merely contorted), a dog-like object made of pretzels, and so on.

If I tell you that the dog in pretzel dog is to be understood as short for hot dog ‘frankfurter’, you’ll come up with another set of possible understandings: a contorted hot dog, a hot dog with pretzel bits on it, a frankfurter-like object made of pretzels, and so on. But unless you’ve actually experienced something marketed as a pretzel dog (at a Sonic Drive-In or from the Auntie Anne’s company, say), you probably woudn’t think of interpreting pretzel as a reference to pretzel dough. But that’s where we’re going.

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Words on a wall

July 8, 2017

The latest xkcd (#1860):

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That’s Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty on that wall, discoursing on semantics as in Through the Looking-Glass. The stand-in for the baffled Alice in the book is the aggressively disputatious Science Girl of xkcd.

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Fellows

June 29, 2017

A Dilbert from 9/7/91 (passed on by Tom Limoncelli):

Betty balks at the title fellow — because she thinks of only one of the three lexical items fellow, informal ‘man, boy’. But there are two others, and the one she’s thinking of is the most recent.

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The homely pigeon

June 23, 2017

Well, that’s the sense Ruthie (in One Big Happy) makes of an expression unfamiliar to her, and she’s indignant on behalf of the pigeon:

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Trailers

June 13, 2017

… in NOAD2’s third sense:

3 a thing that trails, especially a trailing plant.

The occasion was an errand-running walk in Palo Alto a little while ago with Kim Darnell, on which we came across a plant I identified as a fuchsia, remarking that they were often planted in hanging baskets, where their down-hanging flowers spilled attractively over the sides of the basket:

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Making fun of Batman

June 11, 2017

Two Batman cartoons have just come to me. Passed on by Chris Hansen, this uncaptioned (and unsourced) cartoon:

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Batman at a bustop with four old women: what to make of the scene?

And in today’s comics feed, this Bizarro:

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(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 13 in this strip! — see this Page.)

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“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:

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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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