Archive for the ‘Scalarity’ Category

The pumpkin spice cartoon meme

October 23, 2017

From my 10/20/17 posting “A processed flavor”, this Kaamran Hafeez cartoon:

(#1) pumpkin spice ‘top of the line, top-grade, high-end’

The Hafeez is at the end of a series of mocking Pumpkin Spice cartoon memes, ranging from the most concrete (on pumpkin spice lattes, especially as a sign of the fall), through pumpkin spice more generally as a flavor (especially in foods that wouldn’t normally have such a flavor), and then just a scent (especially in non-food products), to the fully abstract sense in #1.

Note that though premium, or high-octane, usually names the top grade of gasoline in the US, in #1 pumpkin spice is used to name an extra-premium grade, a grade above even premium. This is what we might call grade expansion, a recurrent strategy in naming grades of products for the purposes of advertisement: if grande (lit. ‘large’) is used to name the largest size of coffee available, then, pretty predictably, new, even larger, sizes will be invented to go beyond grande — at Starbucks, first venti (lit. ’20’), then trenta (lit. ’30’). Gold or golden level, once the top of the line (above silver and bronze), will be out-done by even more excellent or desirable platinum, then maybe by still-better diamond.


Amoeba humor

July 17, 2017

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


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


Annals of spiciness

June 30, 2017

On my posting on the 27th, “Scalarity on the menu”, about a Korean restaurant in Berlin offering food with sauces that were: not spicy, medium spicy, German spicy, Korean spicy — this comment on Facebook from Antonia Clicquot:

Reminds me of the menu of an Indian restaurant in Erlangen [in Bavaria, not far from Nuremberg] – they do all their meals germanisch, indogermanisch and indisch scharf.

The adjective indogermanisch leaps out to a linguist’s eye, because for us it picks out not a kind of food but a kind of language, namely Indo-European.