It’s Just Stuff

*on the potential multivalence of all sorts of symbols. In postings on AZBlog.

2/28/12: Trendsetting:

a bit of linguistic stuff — vocal fry, uptalk, and the discourse particle like are the three examples the article focuses on — is just a resource, which can be used in many different ways by different groups of speakers (that is, there’s no intrinsic meaning to a resource — as I’ve taken to saying, it’s “just stuff” — but only meanings as expressed by particular groups of speakers and meanings as interpreted by others).

6/30/15: That goes without:

The fact is that different people are doing different things with uptalk, and that different people are doing different things with vocal fry. These phonetic features are “just stuff”, just material that’s available for becoming associated (within particular social groups) with semantics, social meanings, pragmatic functions, discourse functions, and so on. Similarly for lexical items: for example, different people use discourse markers like well for different purposes. And for syntactic constructions: for example, there is plenty of variation in how Subject-Auxiliary Inversion is used. And so for syntactic truncation.

3/23/18: What does a wooden penis mean?”

Objects are not inherently anything, especially not any particular thing; they just are. But they can be subject to being understood as symbols in many ways. Penises can be fertility symbols, they can be symbols of sexual pleasure, they can be symbols of play, and so on.

5/1/19: The May flower:
les muguets pour le premier Mai: conveying beginnings, affectionate respect, or the power of unions marching in the streets

3/28/20: Reading faces:
Economist piece: a smile does not always mean someone is happy; facial expressions are not usually a reliable guide to how people feel
AZ: the expression itself just is; it’s a gesture, and that’s all

3/31/20: The smoulder:
expressing anger, hatred, or another powerful emotion (including sexual desire, but also intense attention, dominance, disdain, and more)

2/10/22: Hustle and trick: the cruise pose:
meanings of pale pink in clothing for men; foot-against-wall pose advertising availability for sex, or as a fashion pose

2/11/22: About “It’s Just Stuff”:
announcement of this Page

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