Archive for the ‘Style and register’ Category

Him wear saurian monitor

September 10, 2019

The Scott Hilburn cartoon from 10/26/16, with a bit of caveman dialogue:

(#1)

Three things: the Caveman cartoon meme; the simplified register the two cavemen  talk in; and the juxtaposition of two parallel worlds, everyday life vs. a remarkable fictive alternative.

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with all the fixin’s

August 28, 2019

The One Big Happy from 7/28, all about fixin’s (also known as fixings):

(#1)

The cartoon turns on a culinary distinction between main, or principal — essential — ingredients and accompanying, or accessory – in principle, optional — ones, the fixin’s. Without the leafy greens it’s not a green salad (though it could be a chopped salad), but if it’s got the leafy greens and no fixin’s (with nothing else except dressing), it’s a green salad.

From AHD5:

noun fixings: Informal Accessories, trimmings: a holiday dinner with all the fixings.

The example here has the full conventional collocation, or stock expression, with all the fixings, usually pronounced as informal (esp. Southern) fixin’s (spelled with or without an apostrophe). Simplifying considerably: nominals in –ing (as in beatings and singings) do have variants in /n/ rather than /ŋ/, but these pronunciations are mostly characterstic of South Midlands and Southern speech, especially in informal speech.

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individuals, people, persons

February 13, 2019

From a mail pointer to a 1/30/19 article in the journal Psychological Science, “Similarity Grouping as Feature-Based Selection” by Dian Yu, Xiao Xiao, Douglas K. Bemis, & Steven L. Franconeri:

Individuals perceive objects with similar features (i.e., color, orientation, shape) as a group even when those objects are not grouped in space.

Point at issue: individuals rather than people, a mark of a consciously formal, “scientific” way of writing, appropriate (some believe) for reporting on research in psychology.

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Peppernut Day

December 24, 2018

Having tackled the Christmas season as a whole, Sandra Boynton examines one specific day: on FB yesterday, with “A helpful tip on National Pfeffernüsse Day” (December 23rd):

(#1)

On peppernuts. And on the recipe register (here: Recipe Object Omission in roll thoroughly in confectioners’ sugar).

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Sports commentary

December 20, 2018

Thanks to Facebook friends who provided a link to an xkcd cartoon from way back (5/27/11): #904 Sports:

The point is that sports color commenators treat essentially random day-to-day fluctuations as indicators of trends — because they have lots of time to fill and not a lot of substance to fill it with (play-by-play coverage is something else), and because like all of us they are narratophiles (lovers of story) and seek to find a coherent narrative in pretty much anything that happens. Meanwhile, color commentators can fall back on all that accumulated data, to wield fan statistics as another time-filler.

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The rainbow pillars of Montréal

August 3, 2018

A photo from Arthur Prokosch yesterday:


(#1) “I have arrived at queer station. — in Gay Village, Montreal.”

The occasion was/is the 31st motss.con — annual gathering of folks from the net group soc.motss (lgbt-folk and friends) — in Montréal. (Con Central is the Hotel Le Saint Andre, 1285 Rue Saint-André, a half-block from Rue Ste-Catherine E, at the edge of the Gay Village.)

One notable thing in the photo is the colors of the six rainbow pillars at the station: not the usual saturated bright colors of the rainbow flag, but less saturated and lighter — elegant, fashion colors. We’re here, we’re gay, and we’re stylish.

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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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