Archive for the ‘Semantics of compounds’ Category

tribute time

June 7, 2020

Annals of pandemic vocabulary: the N + N compound tribute time ‘a time (moment in a day) for tribute’, specialized for a specific form of tribute (largely, clapping) to a specific group of tributees (medical workers). The practice has been around for several months, but the label seems to have emerged more recently (I don’t have the resources to track these things down), and now it figures in today’s wry Doonesbury cartoon, about Zonker Harris and his nephew Zipper:

(#1)

(more…)

Death trap

June 5, 2020

The 5/27 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo brings us two Grim Reapers confronting what might be a trap for them:


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

If you want to catch Death in a trap, what do you use as bait? Obviously, not the conventional chunk of cheese, but dead cheese: moldy cheese. (Moldy cheese is, of course, not actually dead; in fact, the cheese is alive with the swarms of microbes.)

The cartoon nicely exploits an ambiguity, between the semantics of the conventionalized compound death trap / deathtrap, and the semantics of a compound Death trap, parallel to mouse trap / mousetrap.

(more…)

Minnesota hotdish

May 7, 2020

Today, Alex [Alessandro Michelangelo] Jaker (posting from Toronto) on Facebook:

So unfortunately I can’t go home and visit my family in Minnesota 🚗🚗🚗🛣🏡 because of the virus, so I decided to just go ahead and make my own hotdish 🍄🥕🍅.

… Although actually, it’s sort of a hybrid between hotdish and lasagna 🍅🧀🇮🇹.


(#1) Jaker Hotdish (photo from the author)

… [about hotdish] Apparently it is what people from other places call a “casserole”. In the present case, I used ground mutton 🐑, onions, celery, carrots 🥕, a leek, tomatoes 🍅, mushrooms, a can of cream of mushroom soup 🥫, parmesan cheese 🧀, and noodles. And beans. First stir fry all the ingredients except the noodles, and boil the noodles separately, then combine into a baking dish and bake for ~40 minutes.

(more…)

The triune Emperor of the Swamp: a muskrat, a fox, and a bear

April 3, 2020

The swamp is Pogo’s Okefenokee, and its emperor has three faces: Deacon Mushrat (a muskrat and a moral monster); Seminole Sam (a grifter fox); and P.T. Bridgeport (a huckster bear). Powerful members of the emperor’s inner circle include Mole MacCarony (aka Molester Mole) and Simple J. Malarkey, a malevolent wildcat.


(#1) The Deacon, Malarkey, and Mole (plus Mole’s minions, the bats Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred) at a 5/6/53 meeting of the Jack Acid Society

I found myself pulled into this world by Lisa Cohen, who wrote on Facebook on 3/31 that she’d just heard someone on the radio referring to [REDACTED] as a rabid muskrat, which made her suddenly feel more cheerful. Indeed.

The reference to metaphorically fanatical muskrats immediately, of course, called to mind Deacon Mushrat [Muskrat], a hypocritical conservative who speaks in Gothic text (as above), in Walt Kelly’s Pogo comic strip. And from that everything else fell out.

(more…)

Higashi Day cartoon 5: hoods and newts

March 15, 2020

(Little kids, but I pursue them into the weeds of sexual anatomy, though without the photos or raunchy talk. Take appropriate cautions.)

The One Big Happy cartoon from 2/9:


(#1) Once again, about the kids finding a word (un)familiar in a particular sense: the apparel noun hood

And the OBH from 2/17:


(#2) And minute ‘extremely small, tiny’

(more…)

Revisiting 43: the Socka Hitsch nominal on the rural Swiss roadside

February 15, 2020

In my “Socka Hitsch” posting yesterday, Christian Zwicky / Socka Hitsch described by the nominal

old eccentric rural Swiss roadside sock vendor ‘old, eccentric sock vendor on the roadside of rural Switzerland’, ‘seller of socks along the road in the countryside of Switzerland who is of advanced age and exhibits unconventional behavior’

An unusually long nominal — I was showing off some — but not one with unusual components, put together in unusual ways. In the middle of it, rural Swiss roadside, with the complex adjectival rural Swiss, modifying the compound noun roadside — a perfectly routine and unremarkable expression    (compare rural Dutch in the attested rural Dutch landscape, urban English in the attested urban English roadworks, etc.), but one of some interest to people who fret about how the form — the morphology and syntax — of expressions (like rural Swiss) links to their meaning — their semantics and pragmatics.

(more…)

On the rubber fowl beat

November 22, 2019

In my writing, it goes back a dozen years to a Language Log posting on rubber ducky, with further duck notes over the years; notable from the outset were items like the vinyl rubber ducky, a rubber ducky made of vinyl. And then today Bob Eckstein burst onto Facebook with a new Christmas item from the Archie McPhee company, a rubber chicken Christmas ornament — yes, a glass rubber chicken.

(more…)

Muscle Milk

November 21, 2019

(Yes, much about sexual meanings of this expression, so there will be much about men’s bodies and bodily fluids and man-man sexual practices, so not advisable for children or the sexually modest.)

Muscle Milk. A creamy sports protein supplement, with an entirely descriptive N + N compound name: ‘milk-like substance [a creamy drink] for (building) muscle(s)’. But as something of an enthusiast of both male genitals and semen, I immediately saw a sexual reading, ‘milk-like substance [semen] from a (metaphorical) muscle [a penis]’. Salacious smiles ensued.

I doubt that a sexual reading occurred to the makers of Muscle Milk, but then they didn’t reckon with people like me. (And in their defense, I should say that though the sexual senses of muscle and milk are both attested, the combination muscle milk seems to have been used only in the name of their product and not to be attested in a sexual semse.)

As a bonus, most of their original flavors are crèmes.

(more…)

Revisiting 37: pie charts

November 15, 2019

Follow-ups on two themes: pie chart referring to a graphic display of information; and categories and labels in the domain of desserts, notably in the PIE, SWEET-PIE, and CAKE categories. Spurred by a link (from Kim Darnell) to this posting on the edible Austin site (as in Austin TX), “A Guide to Deciphering Dessert” by Bambi Edlund:


(#1) Another sense of pie chart: ‘chart of pies, a charting of pies, a chart showing pies’ (parallel to flower painting, room diagram, and part(s) list), vs. pie chart ‘chart resembling a pie’ (parallel to penguin suit, penis mushroom, and mushroom penis)

(more…)

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!

(more…)