Archive for the ‘Style and register’ Category

The way I write now

May 9, 2018

Or: Arnauld le flâneur.

(Edward Gorey caught unawares.)

On 3/15/17 in “Lauren la flâneuse”:

[from Wikipedia] Flâneur … means “stroller”, “lounger”, “saunterer”, or “loafer” [the person of leisure, the idler, the urban explorer, the connoisseur of the street]. Flânerie is the act of strolling, with all of its accompanying associations.

Here flânerie refers not just to the act, but also to the reporting of the act — to a literary genre, of which I am an exponent.

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Another signage ambiguity

May 1, 2018

Ambiguity is everywhere, but by eliminating useful redundancies in texts, telegraphic registers — headlines, signage, instructional labels, graffiti, and so on — hugely increase the opportunities for unintended multiple meanings. As in this photo that just turned up in Facebook:

(1) N + N compound ‘area for pets (to use)’ OR an imperative, V + NPobj ‘pet the area’

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The Legend of Hercules

March 22, 2018

… and the stages of shirtless Kellan Lutz.

A little while back, I stumbled into watching the 2014 The Legend of Hercules for the, omigod, second time. Starring an immensely muscled Kellan Lutz as the great hero of myth, embedded in a famous stinker of a movie whose faults are at least in part linguistic. Though it does offer tons of glistening male flesh for aficionados.

(#1) Exhibit #1: Lutz as Hercules

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Affective style: chill vs. loud

March 15, 2018

An abstract for a Stanford linguistics dissertation to be defended this coming Monday (March 19th): Teresa Pratt, Affective sociolinguistic style: an ethnography of embodied linguistic variation in an arts high school:

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Exercises in high macho style

December 11, 2017

Passing between channels on my tv on the 6th, I caught a moment from the show Mr. Robot (S3 E9) in which Terry Colby, an exec at the Allsafe Corporation, spins out a riff in high-macho figurative language, a piece of crude poetry:

That’s all teddy bears and hand jobs, but what are your financials?  We can’t wake up one day and find ourselves tits up, dicks blowing in the breeze.

The masterstroke in all this is all teddy bears and hand jobs, an invention intended to convey an ironic, dismissive version of the high-toned all sweetness and light or, better, the vernacular all beer and skittles ‘all fun and pleasure’ (skittles, the game of ninepins)

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??That is aliens for you.

November 21, 2017

From Mike Pope on Facebook a few days ago, this excerpt from Ian Frazier’s “New York’s Majestic Passage in the Sky: Revamping the Bayonne Bridge to make space for megaships” in the 11/13/17 New Yorker:

(#1)

Mike wrote:

I can’t decide here whether this is weird. In the New Yorker, a sentence where I think I’d expect a contraction (“That’s xxx for you!”). Is this an editor bending the idiom to house style, or is this a not untypical variant?

Two things: the acceptability of the example (at best, it merits the stigma ?? of great dubiousness); and the circumstances that might have given rise to ??That is aliens for you (not at all clear, but advice on style and usage might be part of the story).

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Exercises in commercial style

November 6, 2017

Two recent pieces of p.r. ad-talk: one over the top with business jargon; one framed as a lifestyle or fashion ad. Both touting a preposterous product: a podcast about the “facets and opportunities” of death; a notebook of paper infused with the proprietary scent of a tech company.

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The perils of parallelism

October 9, 2017

Passed on to me by Ben Zimmer, a tweet, entitled “To Whom Is Responsible for This”, from author Colin Dickey (most recent book: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places) with this photo of extraordinary whom on the hoof:

I see three contributing factors here: (A) a preference for fronting rather than stranding Ps in extraction constructions; (B) a mechanical application of a principle calling for (formal) parallelism in coordination; and (C) an irrational reverence for the case form whom (rather than who) of the (relative or interrogative) pronoun WHOM.

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BBC for Labor Day

September 1, 2017

(Men’s bodies and talk of mansex, unapologetic and carnal, in street language. So not for kids or the sexually modest. Not without linguistic interest, but still…)

The Michael Lucas gay porn firm has sent around its Labor Day sale ad, an exercise in minimalism. As I said in a posting on AZBlogX, where the hard-core stuff lives:

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On offer at Daily Jocks

July 19, 2017

(Men’s bodies, underwear, snarky captions, and some slang.)

A recent offer from Daily Jocks, SUP BRO t-shirts from the Australian company Supawear:

(#1)

That’s my shirt bro
It comes from A U
I’m Buster Brown
Look for me down there too

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