Archive for Linguistics in the comics

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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Unfair Turing Test handicaps

Today's PhD Comics:

As in the recently-celebrated case of an alleged 13-year-old Ukrainian, there are circumstances in which the humanity of correspondents may be somewhat obscured.

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Peak Friend

Today's Bobbins — another "peak X" sighting:


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WaPo nixes midget

Yesterday brought new information about the Sunday comic strip I discussed in "Refreshing the S-word", 3/30/2014. We learned from Michael Cavna ("PEARLS BEFORE ‘NEIN’: Stephan Pastis finds irony in Post nixing strip about word choice…because of word choice", Washington Post 3/31/2014) why the Washington Post decided not to run that strip:

IN YESTERDAY’S “Pearls Before Swine,”, creator Stephan Pastis used his characters to engage in a playful dialogue over word choice. In the strip, Rat is talking to Goat about how certain words fall out of favor for more politically correct or gender-neutral terms. The culturally obsolete terms, Rat says, include “maid,” “stewardess,” “secretary” and “midget.”

Post editors were with Pastis … right up until “midget.” The M-word was enough to get the strip spiked. The print edition of Sunday’s comics ran an old “Pearls Before Swine” instead. (The “midget” strip did run, however, in the online version of The Post. Pastis said he had not heard of the strip being spiked by any other of his 600-plus newspaper clients.)

Post comics producer Donna Peremes flagged the strip and discussed it with Deputy Style Editor Eva Rodriguez. “We thought that ‘midget’ just wasn’t the same as ‘secretary.’ … Sort of apples and oranges,” Peremes explains to Comic Riffs. ” ‘Midget’ just carried a lot more of a charge — seemed more of a slur — than ‘stewardess’ or ‘secretary.’ ”

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Refreshing the S-word

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It was a russet!

Today's Dilbert exemplifies a "Rule of Polite Discourse" that's missing from Wikipedia's version:

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A/B testing

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Skim listening

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The future of conversation

… and everything else, maybe, from yesterday's SMBC:

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"Wicked" as an intensifier

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