Archive for the ‘Clitics’ Category

The clitic t-shirt and its companion book

May 18, 2023

In my 5/10 posting “No clitic allowed”, a report on a PUT YOUR CLITICS IN SECOND POSITION t-shirt that I designed. It has now arrived, and I have modeled it, out in my little patio garden, among the blooming cymbidiums and in front of the ivy-covered wall, displaying a copy of:

Approaching Second: Second Position Clitics and Related Phenomena, ed. by Aaron L. Halpern & Arnold M. Zwicky (CSLI Publications, 1996)

Photo by Erick Barros:

The cymbidiums are rapidly reaching the end of their season, now that the days are actually hot. One of their flower stalks withers away every day and is chopped up to become compost on the garden. (The plants will then go into dormancy, meanwhile creating new rhizomes for next year’s blooms; during the hot dry season they will serve as handsome foliage plants — and require constant watering).

No clitic allowed

May 10, 2023

On Facebook yesterday about the on-line word game Spelling Bee:

— Polly Jacobson: on a free version (spellsbee) it wouldn’t accept ‘clitic’. (but oddly accepted ‘clit’)

— John Beavers > PJ:  I am still annoyed about clitic.

— PJ: oh I got ‘clitic’ rejected in a slightly different game. I guess they all have the same word list!

— AZ > PJ: As the author of “On Clitics” [Indiana Univ. Linguistics Club, 1977] and other works on clitology [see my survey paper, “What is a clitic?” (in Nevis, Joseph, Wanner, & Zwicky, Clitics Bibliography, 1995)] (and the proud owner of a Put Your Clitics in Second Position t-shirt), I would like to protest this enormity in the strongest of terms. … I see that my old t-shirt eventually devolved into rags after years of hard use. I have ordered a new, spiffier version, to be unveiled when it arrives in a week or so. Watch this space.


Annals of word retrieval: in promiscuous positions

November 4, 2018

(Warning: embedded in this posting is a bit of — just barely euphemized — taboo vocabulary and the image of a hunky guy in his underwear.)

From Sim Aberson on 10/29, from WSVN, channel 7 in Miami FL:

BSO deputies arrest Dania Beach man in child porn case

Dania Beach, Fla. (WSVN) – Deputies have arrested a Dania Beach man on numerous child pornography charges.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested 66-year-old Roger Aiudi on Thursday following a months-long investigation by the agency’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force. Investigators said Aiudi had 13 pornographic images of children and dozens of other images showing children in promiscuous positions.

Well yes, not promiscuous ‘having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships’, but provocative ‘arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately’ (NOAD definitions). This is a very likely sort of word retrieval error, since the words are similar phonologically (sharing the accent pattern WSWW and sharing the initial syllable /prǝ/) and morphologically (both ending in Adj-forming suffixes, –ous vs. –ive) as well as semantically.


What’s he like?

October 18, 2018

In today’s comics feed, the One Big Happy for September 21st:

Playground Lady intends a WH question with (a reduced variant of) the auxiliary V is + a predicative PP headed by the P like ‘similar to’. Ruthie, ever keen on the reading not intended, hears a WH question with (a reduced variant of) the auxiliary V does (a PRS form of the V lexeme DO) + a complement VP headed by the BSE form like of the V lexeme LIKE ‘find enjoyable’. What is he like? (possible answer: He’s short and blond and funny-looking ) vs. What does he like? (possible answer: He likes playing video games).


Still solid, after 20 years

June 8, 2016

(Warning: heavy technical linguistics.)

This morning a linguist working on auxiliary reduction in Scots dialects wrote to ask me about the 1997 Pullum & Zwicky LSA paper “Licensing of prosodic features by syntactic rules: The key to auxiliary reduction” (a paper Geoff and I are still proud of). The abstract is available on this blog, but the handout is not (though other handouts are there). A significant problem with word processing formats was the culprit, but (spurred by my correspondent’s query) Geoff managed to unearth a clean copy of the reading script for the paper, which includes everything from the handout and more. Now available for public consumption here.


Clitics on a t-shirt

February 15, 2012

Stanford alumnus Doug Ball sporting a t-shirt:

If I were a clitic,
I would lean on you.