Archive for the ‘Dialects’ 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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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…)

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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/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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The art of everyday objects

August 3, 2020

A theme connecting two otherwise very disparate cartoons in my comics feed for today: in a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, an absurdist strip about Claes Oldenburg in the (mythical) American Old West; and in a Zippy, musings by Bill Griffith on a mystery Z structure in his part of rural Connecticut.

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Buttocks IV: cake(s) and tail

July 18, 2020

(It’s about slang, but there are going to be buttocks, mostly men’s, some startlingly bare, so this posting will not to be everyone’s taste.)

Following up on yesterday’s posting “Buttocks III: (mainstream) art, male art, porn”, Timothy Riddle offered some recently fashionable slang for ‘buttocks’: the M(ass) noun cake, as used by (straight) pornstar Johnny Stone (who has a famously fine ass, and is proud of it, even though it’s not an especially relevant feature in his porn work); and by DC Comics on its Twitter site, showing a photo of the superhero Nightwing (the former Robin / Dick Grayson), played by Brenton Thwaites, who’s also famous for his fine ass, which is much featured on the series.

So: into still more buttocks slang, both M cake and (more commonly) PL C(ount) cakes.

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Learn to Drawl

July 2, 2020

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro from 6/20:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

The two big things in #1: the stereotype of Southern charm (associated here with the 2pl pronoun y’all and the “drawl” of Southern speech, plus a characteristic Southern drink, sweet tea); and the Learn to Draw family of advertisements (which evoke social worlds in which most people smoked cigarettes and in which earnest young people sought to advance themselves by taking risks to learn a new skill).

These are lost worlds: very few people smoke, and then only in highly constrained circumstances; and the US now appears to be close to be bottom of the developed economies for advancement in social class (of the sort that moved my family from the farm and factory floor to a distinguished university professorship in two generations).

Plus, a personal Wayno bonus in #1, an homage to Sam Elliott in The Big Lebowski.

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