March 01, 2007

More Get Fuzzy

We continue the Get Fuzzy language cartoon parade with two more strips from February.

(As before, my thanks to Alex Martin for pointing me to these strips.  The comments on the strips are in part from her, in part from me.  Yes, Alex is yet another student in my innovations seminar.)

First, a reflection on the syntax of the verb eat:

We expect transitive eat, especially since it looks like we're getting the formula "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse".  But no, we're being offered intransitive eat.

I am reminded of a friend whose young son complained to him, "Daddy, I want." 

"What do you want, Robbie?"

"I just WANT", the kid replied, plaintively and pathetically.

On to the second strip, in which a protesting Bucky runs through languages and language varieties in quick succession:

Bucky goes through Spanish and French (in frame 1) and ends up (in frame 3) in what I take to be a particularly stiff, starchy, and old-fashioned British English, all of them seeming more than faintly ridiculous.  (There's then a fourth frame, in which other characters comment on Bucky, quoting from Hamlet.)

[Added 3/2: Lisa Brandt Heckman suggests a source for Bucky's last protestation:

... my Wonkdar tells me that Bucky's "Good day, Sir!" is not meant to sound British, but is an homage to the scene in the (original) Willy Wonka film wherein Wonka vehemently rattles off this explanation to Uncle Joe as to why poor Charlie doesn't get his lifetime supply of chocolate:

"Wrong, sir! WRONG!! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if - and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy - 'I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained,' et cetera, et cetera...'Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum,' et cetera, et cetera...'Memo bis punitor delicatum'! It's ALL there, BLACK and white, CLEAR as crystal! You STOLE fizzy lifting drinks! You both hit the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get NOTHING! You LOSE!! GOOD DAY, sir!!'

It's the indignation followed by the intonation implied by the bolding of 'day' that tells me so.

Source of dialogue here.]

zwicky at-sign csli period stanford period edu

Posted by Arnold Zwicky at March 1, 2007 02:45 PM