Archive for the ‘Variation’ Category

Nobody expects the Yinglish interjection

September 29, 2021

An e-mail exchange on 9/28 between Richard Vytniorgu and me, thinking out loud together on various topics, including the prejudice within the LGBT community against  the twinkish, the sexually receptive, the submissive, and the effeminate amongst us queers — all, apparently, on the grounds that such men are wanting in conventional masculinity and so are defective even as queers; they’re just too gay-acting, in the view of some of our number. Richard is an effeminate submissive sexually receptive twink, so he’s got a huge emotional investment in the matter; I am merely a bottom by preference, but I’ve been becoming increasingly militant and outspoken in this arena, moving towards the view that Richard and his kind should be seen as central to the larger community, not as peripheral misfits.

But that’s not what I’m after in *this* posting. Instead, it’s what happened in this exchange between us:

RV: I feel for Tannor [Reed] as I do for all twinks in the [gay porn] industry. Gays can be so hypocritical sometimes: they love to watch us, but will publicly punish or shame us when it suits them. You may have heard of [twink X; his story isn’t the point here, just his being treated with contempt]

AZ: Oi.

RV: What does this mean?

Here’s where I need to remind you that Richard is British and I am American.

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Unfree variation, summer of 2007

September 18, 2021

From a wildly defensive comment of mine on my 9/16 posting “The pengring”, a comment about my loss of an audience in linguistics:

Story. My proposal for a course at the 2007 Linguistic Institute (at Stanford) was rejected on its merits, but was added at the last minute (after I appealed in wounded anger) because I was a local faculty member. (This is the position of the applicant for college admissions who would not be admissible on the merits but is accepted as a legacy.) The course was, by all accounts, a tremendous success and I’m proud of what I did. (I’ll post the course description and my course-end summary of its content; all of the material for the course is in a Page on this blog.)

So here it is.

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The snow border collie

September 1, 2021

🐇🐇🐇 It was 8/30, and the comic strip Mother Goose and Grimm went POP!, exploded in a phrasal overlap portmanteau, the one in the title:


(with the snow-sliding dog seen doing an airborne trick in the second panel of the strip).

Not your everyday POP, because it works straightforwardly in pronunciation but works only imperfectly in spelling:

snowboarder + border collie = snow border collie

Distinct spellings, boarder vs. border, homophones in both AmE and BrE (but see below).

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Harry’s Jockstrap

August 19, 2021

(Well, yes, jockstraps, depicted and described, with attention to their contents, so not to everyone’s taste.)

In a comment on my 8/15 posting “Jock Robin” (a posting about jockstraps in beautiful colors, masculinity, and sexuality), Mike McManus  noted the relevant novelty song “Harry’s Jockstrap” (a jock that’s pale blue, suggesting that Harry is a fairy),  a burlesque on the French nursery rhyme (and round) “Frère Jacques”. I had somehow missed “Harry’s Jockstrap”, but here it is, in all of its pale blue fairy glory:

Harry’s jockstrap, Harry’s jockstrap
It’s pale blue, it’s pale blue
They say that he’s a fairy. But Harry is so hairy
So are you, so are you

(Call this verse HJ.) The burlesque goes on and on through many more verses; I’ll give you a transcription and a recording of the whole thing — but first, some background. (more…)

Twirly and girly

August 3, 2021

The One Big Happy from 6/5, in which Ruthie struggles, eggcornishly, to rationalize an unfamiliar name with familiar parts:

Mary, Susan, whatever.

Meanwhile, I now have “Honey Bun” from South Pacific in my head:

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Beat Zippy said to Beat Griffy

April 8, 2021

In the Zippy strip from 3/2, Beat Zippy and Beat Griffy walk MacDougal Street in 1961:


(#1) “Yowl” is Zippyish for “Howl”, Ginsberg’s most famous poem

The basics, from Wikipedia:

Reality Sandwiches is a book of poetry by Allen Ginsberg published by City Lights Publishers in 1963. The title comes from one of the included poems, “On Burroughs’ Work”: “A naked lunch is natural to us,/we eat reality sandwiches.” The book is dedicated to friend and fellow Beat poet Gregory Corso.

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Lay, goosie, lay

December 30, 2020

Liz Climo’s cartoon for today, 12/30, the 6th day of Christmas (“Six geese a-laying” — that is, laying eggs):

(#1)

Prescriptively incorrect, but extraordinarily widespread, lay down (in an imperative to the geese to lie down).

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/ol/ vs. /old/

December 16, 2020

In the One Big Happy from 11/23, recently appeared in my comics feed, Ruthie and her grandfather spar over the choice between /ol/ and /old/ as the PST form of the verbs STEAL and TELL and the BSE/PRS forms of the verb HOLD.

There are, as it turns out, two quite different phenomena here, one having to do with the choice of an inflectional form (the PST of STEAL), the other having to do with the omission of word-final /d/ in casual pronunciations in connected speech (in the PST of TELL and the BSE/PRS of HOLD).

Ruthie’s grandfather, however, treats the two phenomena as comparable, and also, unreasonably, treats the casual pronunciations as requiring correction.

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More comforting presents

October 26, 2020

(About my life, though with a linguistic note along the way)

From Ann Burlingham in Pittsburgh, locally sourced gifts to comfort me in very tough times. In particular, cookies from Barlow Bakes in Ford City PA; and a flour sack tea towel (from the “love, Pittsburgh” site) with text on Pittsburghese.

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The xkcd dialect quiz

October 19, 2020

A recent xkcd cartoon (#2372) plays with the sort of questionnaire that lexicographers and linguists have long used for investigating dialect differences:

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