2005-02-25

Urbandictionary entry: "semantics"

While I was at urbandictionary.com doing research for the previous izzle post, I decided to see what the site had to say about some other words that are a bit closer to home at the moment. There appears to be nothing on pragmatics, syntax, or phonology. There is, however, quite a lot contributed on "linguist" and "linguistic", and more to the point of this post, there is an entry for "semantics" which I reproduce below in its entirety (with a little cleaning up of 4 letter words):


1. Semantics
A stupid part of the english language in which people actually argue the meaning of words. As if I want to argue with you about what the damn word means to you. Go f--k yourselves you self absorbed bastards.


ex. I'm not going to argue semantics with a jerk off like you.

Obviously the lexicographer who contributed this definition has never read the SIL glossary, let alone Chierchia and McConnell-Ginet.

Fo’ rizzle, dizzle: A short history of izz and izzle

[...]The infix izz appeared early during the gestation of hip hop— emerging in the 1985 song “Roxanne Roxanne” by the Brooklyn rap group UTFO. While izz didn’t immediately integrate into common vernacular, it did flower in avant-garde hip hop. For instance, the izz re-emerges in the 1991 Another Bad Creation song “Coolin' at the Playground Ya’ Know” with the lyric “Into the Mizzark chillin in the pizzark … mother said be home by dizzark.” [...]

This article presents a fine piece of etymological detective work. I was always under the impression that izzay and izzle, as in Snoop Dogg's famous fo' shizzle 'for sure' originated with Snoop, back on Dr. Dre's The Chronic album (1992). This article puts the infix at least seven years prior to that in 1985 with UTFO.

Interestingly, the infix has ingrained itself in the language to the extent that it has apparently undergone at least minor semantic shifting, as is evidenced by the several entries at urbandictionary.com. Check it out fo yo sizzelf.

2005-02-23

Koko's UNATTENTION


This is Koko's UNATTENTION sign. I post it here in honor of Larry Horn's lecture on UN-words in Negation seminar today. Apparently, as an UN-noun, this particular construction is quite rare, netting only 181 Google hits--many of which relate to Ms. Koko herself.

2005-02-18

Gorilla Foundation rocked by lawsuit

Two former employees of the Gorilla Foundation, home to Koko the "talking" ape, have filed a lawsuit contending that they were ordered to bond with the 33-year-old female simian....

This is truly one of the strangest stories I have read in a long time. Who would have ever thought of Koko having a fetish such as the one mentioned? It's very sad, as this is bound to have an incredible impact on the credibility of the research coming out of this project.

2005-02-08

Underwear Police? Virginians May Be Fined For Low-Cut Pants

ExpLing readers may remember 30%'s previous post of muffins and low-riding jeans. It appears now though that a state representative from Virginia stands poised to "crack down on people" who wear low-riding pants. Norfolk Delegate Algie Howell Jr. proposes fines of $50 for people whose undergarments are exposed, saying in a beautiful piece of logic: "That's why they're called undergarments. They're supposed to be worn under something else." Beautiful.

Apparently, the bill was taken up in subcommittee, and the response was "sympathetic yet skeptical because of legal issues."

The bill faces a floor vote soon, and ExpLing readers can count on 30% to keep them posted.

2005-02-06

Velum-lowering, Googlewhacking, and Metapornolinguistics

The The Neologiac Spooneristocrat has written quite suggestively of the lovely young pop tart Britney Spears and her moaning while lowering her velum. Further, the bit of discussion concerning GoogleWhacking with performative hydrostats has been suggestive in its own right. Part of the fun of linguistic study is observing the lengths to which words can be pushed. Even more entertaining to see the none too nubile linguistic terminology made so. Which brings me to the point. The note quoted below inaugurated the at the time pristine (although not virtuous) field of Metapornolinguistics in 1971 or thereabouts. It was written as part of a Festschrift in honor of James McCawley's 33rd or 34th birthday. As such it seems quite appropriate to commemorate the 33rd or 34th birthday of the note and field itself by including it here, on Experimental Linguistics.

Conjunctive Ordering

by E. Clifton Gamahuche
(also known as Háj Ross)

The following note lays down a definitive order for a number of rules that have been discussed in so-called generative grammar. There has been an astonishing amount of disagreement among otherwise reputable scholars on this childishly simple question of rule ordering. There is only one conceivable ordering which will yield maximal satisfaction. I will refer to this ordering as Conjunctive Ordering.

1. In Conjunctive Ordering, at some time after Aux Attraction, Copula Agreement may take place. Then, after (optional) Scrambling, it is obligatory that Subject Raising, and other expansion rules, occur. After the maximal strip of the adverb has been obtained, Adverb Lowering will naturally take place, closely followed by Swooping. Since Scrambling is an anywhere rule, more of it may be in order; do not hesitate.

Thus far we have not endeavored to attain the goal of observational adequacy, for which some showier rules may be employed. I refer of course to Subject-Verb Inversion. Scrambling will almost certainly recur, and soon, too soon, Affix Hopping will obligatorily ensue.

Pausing briefly to catch our breath before the next block of rules, we may wish to limit our generative capacity by imposing an output condition. If so, we will undergo Neg Placement. But conjunctive ordering without this device is preferred.

We are now ready for Gapping! Making sure that all conditions on the input configuration for this next, crucial, role are met, we embark upon the glorious rule of There Insertion. Clefting follows. More Scrambling. If Extraposition is desired, a variety of rules suggest themselves, such as Right Dislocation and Left Dislocation, and even for advanced students, Verb Final.

Now is no time for the Passive! Conjunct Movement must take place and Tough Movement too! The next two rules are ordered so closely that many scholars regard them as simultaneous. Vocative Formation and the justly celebrated Particle Movement.

Alas, the time will come for Conjunction Reduction. If there has been no Neg Placement, or if this process has been succeeded by Neg Hopping, Sluicing may be advisable, in order to ensure Tense Prevention.

I can see no justification for Chomsky’s suggested constraint that would prohibit the insertion of material into an already processed clause, so I see no reason (unless Performative Deletion has applied) for not recycling through the greater part of the list of rules above – although before the first rules, Do Support may be necessary.

Copula Agreement will be required again. In its absence, there is but one possible rule: Reflexivization.

2005-02-05

Googlewhipping and Whacking

Great news! My favorite GoogleWhack "performati[v]e hydr[o]stat" from a much earlier post is now a GoogleWhack again. It seems that as the ExpLing blog entries added up, pushing the older overflow entries into archive status, my disqualifying mention of "performati[v]e hydr[o]stat" has been pushed out of Google bounds. It seems now to be invisible, thus my former whack is once again a real whack.

This is a very small triumph, but I will take it. Raging against the machine!

2005-02-03

In the land of Pele, legal names are dropped

By Harold Olmos

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Brazilians seem to have trouble holding on to their official names. Sports stars, politicians and other celebrities in this vibrant, freewheeling country are mostly known by nicknames. Legal names become practically irrelevant.

In the land of Pele, legal names are dropped

Quite nice and mostly accurate article about naming habits in Brazil. Last names are indeed too formal and avoided at all costs. Nicknames are unavoidable and many tims preferred, especially for Soccer players. The article suggests that if you don't have an "offbeat" nickname, people will just pick up your first or last name and use it. You are doomed to be boring!

2005-02-02

Introducing: Fatal Phonetics

Not a Google Whack or phonetics as described by a non-phonetician, but a Canadian hip hop group. I am not sure if they will ever make it, but the name does not seem to help. But it is quite funny the idea to name your band with some linguistic inspiration. What about "sympathetic syntax", "phreakin phonology", etc.

This also caught my attention to another fact. Phonetics is a more known term to the general media than let's say pragmatics, discourse analysis, phonology. But inside linguistics, it is not a very popular field (Yale is one of exception, of course). Probably because of the old English tradition of phonetics related to language instruction, but curious anyway.

Fatal Phonetics