Archive for the ‘Taboo language and slurs’ Category

Reciprocity in the profane domain

November 16, 2018

At the request of colleagues who are working on reciprocal and symmetric expressions in English, yesterday I scanned in a classic paper on the topic, which is also a classic paper in profane-domain linguistics (aka scatolinguistics ‘the linguistics of dirty talk’): Quang Phuc Dong’s “A note on conjoined Noun Phrases”. Having gone to the trouble, I’m reproducing the scans here so that they will be generally available through this blog.

(more…)

Panda Puffs and Fruity Pandas

November 4, 2018

A few days ago, on the 1st, another adventure in sugary breakfast cereals (and their names and their mascots): “Sweet stuff”, with a section on Trix Fruity Shapes. From the conglomerate General Mills, with a hyperactive rabbit mascot and the — to some ears — suggestive fruity in the name, plus enough sugar to make the stuff eligible to be labeled candy.

Now, thanks to a visit to the cereal section of my local Whole Foods, I can report on lower-sugar alternatives from two small environmentally earnest companies — still with adorable mascots and cute names. On the panda watch: Panda Puffs (from EnviroKidz) and, I suppose inevitably, Fruity Pandas (from Wild Kratts). Yes, fruity poofs, playful and good for you too.

(more…)

Annals of euphemism: degrees of avoided expletivity

November 4, 2018

From Georgia Morgan on 10/29:·

I guess if you want to use profane language in emails to your senators, you need to tone it down. I wrote “Mass gun violence events are becoming [f$%king] commonplace!” and my message was rejected by the Senate server as a security risk, but “[expletive deleted]” was OK. I’m guessing “freaking” would have passed muster also.

Ah, [f$%king] is insufficiently euphemistic in this context. I imagine [f**king] and [f–king] would also be out, but I wonder about

[f$%@ing], [f***ing], [f—ing]

And then there’s freaking, fracking, farking, the Good Place‘s forking, the antique frigging, and many more, all of them patiently logged one place or another.

And meta-expletive euphemisms like “[expletive deleted]”. And on and on, detailed in many many postings on LLog and this blog (I’ve posted dozens of times just about the practices of the New York Times).

But the idea that fucking, or anything really close to it, would be a security risk, that’s a novelty to me. One motherfucker uttered or written in public, and our nation’s tender belly is ripped open, exposing us all to hordes of godless pinko Commies! Who knew we were so vulnerable?

(more…)

Sweet stuff

November 1, 2018

Three candy bulletins from the last month: the news (which came to me from Scott Schwenter on Facebook, reporting exultantly from Pickerington OH) that Trix Fruity Shapes (from General Mills) are back on the shelves; today’s Wayno & Piraro Bizarro cartoon with cotton gin ‘gin(-flavored) cotton candy’; and the Sunday 10/28 NYT Magazine Candy Issue.

(more…)

Revisiting 20: X Places

November 1, 2018

The Scenes From a Multiverse of 10/9, entitled #NOTALLPLACES:

A riff on Michael Schur’s sitcom The Good Place, with Kristen Bell (as Eleanor, apparently sent wrongly to the place after her deathGood Plae modality is harsh.) and Ted Danson (as Michael, the designer of the place). Also a comment on social media (Twitter vs. Facebook).  And of course on the nature of reality and our perceptions of it.

(more…)

Chic peas and more

October 13, 2018

The fall special at Dan Gordon’s (on Emerson St. in Palo Alto), as it first appeared on the menu, about a month ago:

Summer Stew $16.95
smoked pork / cippolini onions / chic peas / prunes / red rice

(with the very notable spelling chic peas and with the misspelling cippolini for cipollini). But now the ingredients list reads:

smoked pork / cippolini onions / chickpeas / dehydrated plums / red rice

(with the notable dehydrated plums). Actually, all four ingredients have linguistic interest.

(more…)

I gotta go

September 11, 2018

The catch phrase of writer and performer Merle Kessler’s alter ego Ian Shoales, just a bit short of the more vernacular I’m outta here. That’s motion go. Then there’s elimination go, and an ambiguity between the two, as exploited by Calvin in this (recently re-cycled) Calvin and Hobbes strip:

(#1)

(more…)

Brush away the blue-tailed skink

September 4, 2018

From Chris Zable on Facebook on August 3rd, a photo from her family’s holiday in Florida, with her comment:

(#1)

“Spotted this little lizard with a bright blue tail on a fence rail at the Tallahassee Museum. Much of their space is a zoo of local native species in generously-sized enclosures that are just fenced off bits of native habitat. We saw pumas, red wolves, and foxes among other critters.”

As good a photo of a blue-tailed skink as any you can find on the net. To come: on skinks; on the “Blue Tail Fly” song; and on my gay highjacking of the song, as “Blue Tailed Skink” (with skink as a portmanteau, skank + twink) — taking things far from Chris’s original child-friendly travel report.

(more…)

“The hell is that guy doing?”: predator-truncated QuEx

August 23, 2018

The word from predators, in this Jake Likes Onions cartoon (by Jake Thompson):


(#1) Title: “Maybe he’s running from the truth”

Predator 2 omits the what of what the hell (in a Wh, or constituent, question What is that guy doing? with the question word what emphatically extended by the expletive the hell).

About the syntax, and then about the strip and the artist…

(more…)

Book flash: New Work on Speech Acts

August 16, 2018

What looks to be an excellent report on work in semantics/pragmatics on speech acts, from OUP:

(#1)

(more…)