Archive for the ‘Morphology and syntax’ Category

Syntactic phrase, compound word, portmanteau

May 24, 2018

(Gay sex talk in street language: use your judgment.)

Encountered today in reports of the slang of young gay men, three words for ‘male anus viewed as a sexual organ, male sexcavity, (figurative) vagina of a man’:

munt /mʌnt/; mussy /’mUsi/, bussy /’bUsi/ (bunt /bʌnt/ is not recorded, but has probably been coined on occasion)

These are portmanteaus derived from the compound nouns man / boy + cunt / pussy, as examined in my 7/26/13 posting on expressions for the male anus viewed as a sexual organ.

Three steps in the tightness of connection between the elements participating in an expression:

(more…)

Psychiatrist Meme Day

May 14, 2018

… at King Features Syndicate, or so it seems. In my feed today, three cartoons (of my five regulars from King) with a psychoanalyst and his couch: a Bizarro/Wayno with an empty couch; a Zippy with Zippy on the couch; and a Mother Goose and Grimm with the dog Grimm on the couch.

(more…)

Books from Stanford

February 13, 2017

Recent books from Stanford-connected authors, some my colleagues, some my former students (so I have warm feelings). Two in sociolinguistics / educational linguistics, one on the (gasp) morphosyntax-phonology interface.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Raining subjunctives

May 2, 2016

Today’s Zippy dips into morphosyntax:

The three panels are far from parallel. Adjective and Adverb are the names of major syntactic categories, while Past Subjective and Present Subjunctive are (intended to be) the names of infectional forms of Verb words: the Present Subjunctive in things like

(1) I insist that Sandy be promoted.

and the Past Subjunctive in things like

(2) Were Sandy my friend, I would be proud.

(more…)

A batch of back-formations

November 4, 2012

Three two-part back-formed verbs of interest came past me recently: an old acquaintance, to executive-produce ‘act as executive producer for’ [in film, tv, recordings, etc.]; to open carry ‘(lawfully) openly carry (firearms), (lawfully) carry (firearms) in the open’; and to way-find ‘to find one’s way (using some scheme or device)’.

(more…)