Archive for the ‘Technical and ordinary language’ Category

Secretive morning name

March 29, 2018

That would be sebum, which led me almost immediately to semen and smegma: /s/-initial disyllables with accent on the first syllable that refer to bodily secretions.

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Call me by your name

March 1, 2018

The Mother Goose and Grimm, from February 21st:

(#1)

A joke playing on use and mention: Grimmy mentions the name of the Oscar-nominated movie Call Me by Your Name, but Ralph understands him to be using the expression call me your your name, so he calls Grimmy Ralph.

That leads us to the movie and so to a thicket of issues about language, sexuality, gender, and the law.

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Syntext: basic concepts

February 10, 2018

Continuing my 1/23/18 posting “Syntax assignments from 20 years ago”, now with a section of these materials on some basic concepts in syntax.

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Ice Dance in the garden

September 26, 2017

(About plants and their names.)

A row of handsome grassy plants at the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, like these:

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’, a sedge (rather than a grass).

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Tower viewers

September 17, 2017

Today’s Zippy takes us to a scenic lookout and its technology, the tower viewer:

(#1) Binoculars / Telescope on a stalk

Bill Griffith exploits the anthropoid appearance of the device to turn this one into a speaking, grinning, yellow-haired, cheeky, creepy being.

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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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California fuchsia

August 29, 2017

A low-growing sturdy plant, now in bloom in many places around here. Observed yesterday in the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, a small plot of city park land devoted to illustrating “Bay-friendly principles” of gardening.

(#1) Epilobium canum

The plant is commonly known as California fuchsia, a name that’s strictly speaking not subsective, since California fuschia is not in fact in the genus Fuchsia — but its genus, Epilobium, is closely related to Fuchsia, and you could argue that the common name fuchsia takes in a range of plants, not limited to the botanists’ Fuchsia., in which case California fuchsia would be a perfectly ordinary subsective compound, not a resembloid.

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Taking a dark ride

July 21, 2017

Today’s Zippy brings on scary clowns in Laff in the Dark tunnels:

(#1)

— and, worse, threatens to unleash Tom Cruise (and his Outsider Art).

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Words on a wall

July 8, 2017

The latest xkcd (#1860):

(#1)

That’s Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty on that wall, discoursing on semantics as in Through the Looking-Glass. The stand-in for the baffled Alice in the book is the aggressively disputatious Science Girl of xkcd.

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Trailers

June 13, 2017

… in NOAD2’s third sense:

3 a thing that trails, especially a trailing plant.

The occasion was an errand-running walk in Palo Alto a little while ago with Kim Darnell, on which we came across a plant I identified as a fuchsia, remarking that they were often planted in hanging baskets, where their down-hanging flowers spilled attractively over the sides of the basket:

   (#1)

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