Archive for the ‘Style and register’ Category

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:

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

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The maiden, the monster, and the hero

April 15, 2017

In the LGBT precinct of Facebook recently, this Jim Benton cartoon (eventually this posting will be about Benton, but first the folktale scenarios):

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The basic scenario is Beauty and the Beast: a beautiful maiden (that is, a virgin), often a princess; and a monster, a grotesque creature, either literally an animal (a gigantic ape, a dinosaur, a mutant lizard, a dragon, whatever — but male) or a man animalistic in form, sometimes in nature as well. The monster desires the maiden: to devour her (literally), to despoil her (sexually), or merely to love her (romantically).

A third character, the Knight, figures in an extended scenario: a hero, a handsome and virile young man, often in armor, often a prince, whose role is to challenge the monster in battle and overcome him, thereby rescuing the maiden — for himself; she is his prize. In the extended scenario, two males are rivals for the maiden.

In Benton’s version, the hero challenges the monster, demanding that the monster deal with him rather than the maiden. And so the monster does. Sometimes in a love triangle, the rivals become lovers. (Combat between men is sometimes a route to mutual respect, male bonding, and friendship; in this case, the relationship goes one step further.)

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Tough talk

March 4, 2017

The most recent One Big Happy:

A not uncommon theme in strips with kid characters: the kid who’s learned how to “do” characters, mimicking styles and registers, prosodies, jargon, and so on. They practice from a very early age, talking in imaginative play in imitations of motherese, for instance.

Here, Ruthie does Tough Cop, except for the panel 3 side business in her own voice, with her own opinions (the soothing raisins are a nice touch).

Ten language cartoons

February 25, 2017

On the Comic Kingdom site on the 21st, “Tuesday’s Top Ten Comics on Language” (where language is understood broadly), with comments from the site.

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Demented p.r. pitches, absurd ad copy

February 24, 2017

Recently the admirable Margalit Fox has been posting on Facebook a series “Demented P.R. Pitch of the Day” (Margalit seems to read more of her nonsense mail than I do). I’ll give the two most recent examples and then turn to some long-standing advertising themes in my own postings: absurd ad copy for premium men’s underwear and for gay porn. (So, yes, in the second case there will be some incidental sex talk.)

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 4, 2016

That was yesterday, December 3rd, using the rather awkward name recommended by the UN. And the Comics Kingdom (King Features) blog offered a set of comics for the occasion, most of which I didn’t find particularly funny, though I liked this Bizarro:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

V cripple, Adj crippled, N cripple. The cartoon has the V cripple, which seems not to have (yet) picked up the opprobium piled on the Adj crippled, and (worse) the N cripple (and its slang short form crip).

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Gross and flying penguins, Barsotti and flying squirrels

August 15, 2016

Unearthed in today’s clearing out of material piled up in a cabinet, two New Yorker cartoons: a Sam Gross (published in the 9/4/95 issue) in which a penguin achieves flight, a Charles Barsotti (published in the 8/12/96 issue) in which squirrels question whether they are in fact flying squirrels (there are tree squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, and questioning squirrels — TGFQ):

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If you try harder, you might succeed; and if you give it a try, you might discover your identity.

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Constructing a Voice of Authority through Persona

June 19, 2016

A highlight of Stanford’s graduation last Sunday for me was Andrea Lawson Kortenhoven’s “walking through” our departmental ceremony for her PhD in Linguistics, tentative title above. Something personal for me, since I had the pleasure of encouraging Angi when she was a BA student in Spanish at Ohio State (graduating 1995), before coming to Stanford. Her husband Matthew and their four kids were there to cheer her on; I wasn’t able to make it, but I was cheering.

First, a photo (courtesy of Lelia Glass) of Angi with her immediate academic family — her thesis advisers, sociolinguists Penny Eckert and John Rickford — then Penny’s summary of the dissertation, and then some remarks on Angi’s academic regalia in the photo (in black, green, gold, and red).

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