Archive for the ‘Variation’ Category

The Prodigal Tongue

April 13, 2018

Lynne Murphy’s new book, recently released (my own copy is to arrive today). I’m getting the red edition rather than the blue; both are for sale in both the US and the UK, but they’re not quite the same, as you’ll see from looking at their subtitles:

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Bits of culture

March 29, 2018

… and truncated expressions. From Sam Anderson’s “New Sentences” column in the NYT Magazine on the 20th (on-line) and 25th (in print), “From Morgan Parker’s ‘There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé’”, about ‘Summertime and the living is extraordinarily difficult’:

Every culture is a vast carpet of interwoven references: clichés, fables, jingles, lullabies, warnings, jokes, memes. To be a part of that culture means that it only takes a few words, the tiniest head fake, to set your mind racing along a familiar track. You can lead a horse to. There once was a man from. When the moon hits your eye. If you liked it then you shoulda.

One trick of art is to constantly invoke — and then manipulate and complicate — these familiar mental scripts. The artist sets your mind on a well-worn road, and then, just as you settle into that automatic groove, yanks you suddenly in another direction. It’s the same trick as a crossover dribble. Great art is always, if you will, breaking your mind’s ankles.

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Haiku Robot

March 25, 2018

An Instagram site that searches for posted material that can be treated as a haiku (a 3-line poetic form with 5, 7, and 5 syllables in the lines). Recently, the robot took on sex between men (not at all graphically).

An example of a found haiku, based on a posting that went:

I suppose ant-man’s boss could be considered a micromanager

— to which the robot responded with the 5-7-5 version:

i suppose ant-man’s
boss could be considered a
micromanager

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Affective style: chill vs. loud

March 15, 2018

An abstract for a Stanford linguistics dissertation to be defended this coming Monday (March 19th): Teresa Pratt, Affective sociolinguistic style: an ethnography of embodied linguistic variation in an arts high school:

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yoozed

February 15, 2018

The One Big Happy from January 13th, with a widespread nonstandard pronoun:

Freestanding youse /yuz/ (= you /yu/ + pl /z/) and modifying youse in youse guys ‘you guys’. In any case, a 2pl form distinct from 2sg you. The form is complexly distributed according to geography, social class, and other factors — in a way that suggests it has been invented several times in different contexts.

And then there’s the pun on used /yuzd/.

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Two cute guys with accents

February 4, 2018

From the annals of tv watching: Eddie Cahill as Tag Jones in season 7 of the sitcom Friends (and then as Det. Don Flack in CSI: New York); and Lucas Black as Special Agent Christopher LaSalle on NCIS: New Orleans. Both men are strongly physical actors with mobile expressive faces and both smile amiably a lot — they are really cute guys — and both do notable local accents: EC white working-class NYC in CSI: New York and LB white NOLA in NCIS: New Orleans. Both accents build on the actors’ native varieties — EC’s NYC and LB’s Alabamian — but with crafting (quite considerable on LB’s part) to fit their characters.

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Follow-ups: t/d-deletion

November 16, 2017

Following up on my posting on the 14th, “toss salad, fry shrimp, and other t/d ~ ∅”, two complex cases: dark fire tobacco, from Clai Rice’s recent fieldwork, as he reported on ADS-L yesterday; and t/d-deletion as a contributor to eggcorning.

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Revisiting 12: chop salad

November 16, 2017

In the previous installment, on the 14th, there was “toss salad, fry shrimp, and other t/d ~ ∅”; on Facebook, John Lawler noted that toss salad (< tossed salad) sounds like chop salad (< chopped salad). So it does, both in meaning and in form.

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toss salad, fry shrimp, and other t/d ~ ∅

November 14, 2017

Mike Pope on Facebook 9/29/17 (yes, I am many hundreds of postings behind), with this menu photo:

toss salad, like grill cheese, old-fashion, whip cream, ice tea, etc. Final t/d ~ ∅, aka t/d-deletion. In honor of Mike’s example, I have created a t/d-deletion Page on this blog, inventorying Language Log and AZBlog postings on the topic, with extensive quotations from the postings.

Then a bonus: though the menu listings above have fried shrimp, the shorter fry shrimp is also attested, as on this site of stock drawings, including doodles of fried shrimp, some labeled fried shrimp, but a number labeled fry shrimp.

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The perils of parallelism

October 9, 2017

Passed on to me by Ben Zimmer, a tweet, entitled “To Whom Is Responsible for This”, from author Colin Dickey (most recent book: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places) with this photo of extraordinary whom on the hoof:

I see three contributing factors here: (A) a preference for fronting rather than stranding Ps in extraction constructions; (B) a mechanical application of a principle calling for (formal) parallelism in coordination; and (C) an irrational reverence for the case form whom (rather than who) of the (relative or interrogative) pronoun WHOM.

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