Archive for Linguistics in the comics

Get the rope, Bill

It's been a while since we featured a Partially Clips comic — here's the most recent one:

 

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Nanook of the South

From the current New Yorker:

allrecipes.com has "more than 50" grits recipes (I count 64 on display), and there are lots more on other sites, so (costume aside) this is entirely region-appropriate. It's still linguistically naive, since the recipes have mostly-transparent phrasal names like "Raspberry Kielbasa over Cheese Grits"; but hey, it's a cartoon, and I guess the point is to mock those southerners with all their different approaches to grits, using the "Eskimo words for snow" trope as a vehicle.

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Plural data

Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title: "If you want to have more fun at the expense of language pedants, try developing an hypercorrection habit."

That should be "…developing another hypercorrection habit", since making data plural in that situation is exactly analogous to using whom in "Whom are you, anyways?". But then, as Ben Zimmer has pointed out to me, that would spoil the joke involved in the choice of an in "an hypercorrection".

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Behekitninerpillar

Left-handed toons from 8/13/2010, "Jasper got a dog", starts like this:

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Technicality Club

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Too close for comfort

Today's Zits:

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Metrics

In today's xkcd, a list of

The relevant bit of the song goes like this:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Mutual appreciation

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Compound semantics

Tank McNamara for 7/31/2014 explores the protean semantics of English complex nominals:

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Default reasoning

Yesterday's Tank McNamara:

For further discussion, see e.g. R. Reiter, "A Logic for Default Reasoning", Artificial Intelligence 1980; or Robert Sugden, "Salience, inductive reasoning and the emergence of conventions", Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 2011.

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Honesty about leadership

The Dilbert strip continues to make me laugh out loud almost every morning. If you missed the day when the boss asked Dilbert for an "honest assessment" of his leadership, go back to it and catch up. Dilbert's 30-minute response to this invitation ended with the words "like being stabbed by an angry clown while drowning in a septic tank." Simile of the week, for sure. I wonder if anyone told Microsoft's Satya Nadella anything similar in the past few days.

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Canada Day: Sorry!

Apparently it's a stereotype that Canadians are always apologizing. Thus Jordan Rane, "10 things Canada does better than anywhere else", CNN 7/1/2014:

In Canada, apologies happen constantly — "sorries" flying in from all sides like swarms of affable killer bees.

Apologies are issued not just for some negligible mishap, but for actually having the gall to be on the receiving end of one.

A Queen's University poll titled "Sorry … I'm Canadian," found that 90% of Canadians aged 18-25 will immediately apologize if a stranger bumps into them.

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That symbol again

Today's Zits:

For some background, see "The 'pound sign' mystery", 7/18/2010.

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(Prosodic) foot fetish

Today's xkcd:

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Sticky stereotypes

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