Hippo Birdie to This Blog
So a year ago today (ok, yesterday, technically, it being after midnight), I was having so much fun reading the linguistics blogs I figured I oughter start one up. I think the post activity on this blog has followed a fairly typical pattern of waxing and waning, but so far it's always gone back to the waxng side so I'll count this as my one-year anniversary as a blogger. I hadn't noticed at the time that it was St. Patrick's day, but I notice this year; that'll make the occasion easy to remember.
In honor of the occasion, I post a follow-up to my most popular post ever: linguistically relevant Simpsons jokes. Since last year I've been noting them down when catching the show, and have found a whole bunch more... and this isn't really even the tip of the iceberg; I'm sure I'll have more by next year. I've tried to stay away from ones added to the comments section of the original post, though I may have doubled up in places; apologies if so. I didn't go get all the episode reference numbers this time; I just note the episode title and original air date.
Maximum Homerdrive. 1999.
Homer and Bart watching a drive-in movie, “The Monster That Ate Everybody”
Movie Girl: You mean, it ate Patrick too?
Movie Guy: It ate everybody!
Movie Girl: What about Erica?
Homer and Bart, in unison with Movie Guy: It ate EVERYBODY!
Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken. 1998.
Generic nature of -er nominalizations:
(Homer picking up the family after an Isotopes game, after having been dissing the Isotopes earlier.)
Homer: Who won? The losers?
Bart: No, they lost.
Homer: Those losers!
Lisa the Simpson. 1998.
Inchoative deadjectival verb formation with -en, again:
Lisa, worried that the ‘Simpson Gene’ is kicking in, writes in her ‘Flowers for Algernon’-style log:
“Dear log, can it be true? Do all Simpsons go through a process of dumbening? Wait, that's not how you spell dumbening. Wait, dumbening isn't even a word!”
Later in the episode, when she’s imagining her future as an obese, soap-watching mother of twenty, she imagines herself speaking in the same accent that the slack-jawed yokels have.
The President Wore Pearls. 2003.
Lisa (just elected school president): I think I can say, with all humility, I am going to be the best school president ever!
Bart: (claps loudly and slowly. With sarcastic intonation) Bra-vo, Lisa, Bra-vo!
Marge: Oh, isn’t that sweet? Even your brother’s adding his kudos!
Bart: No! I was being sarcastic!
Marge: You were?
Bart (sarcastic intonation): Nooo. I was being sin-CERE.
Homer: Oh, I’m so confused!
Treehouse of Horror III. 1992.
Scary man in House of Evil (“Your One Stop Evil Shop”): (Ominously) We sell forbidden objects from places men fear to tread. (Cheerfully) We also sell frozen yogurt, which I call frogurt!
Spelling of interdental fricatives:
Marge Bouvier (as the girl in King Kong): Am I going too?
Burns (as leader of expedition in King Kong): Of course! We wouldn’t think of going without the bait!…ah, that is, the bait-thing beauty, the bathing beauty! (aside: I covered that up pretty well!)
Homer’s Paternity Coot. 2006.
Double plurals, locatum verbs, reverse reading of de-prefixation
Mayor Quimby (worried because everyone’s taking an alternate route around the toll road): Damnit! We need those seventy-five centses to de-python the town fountain!
Midnight Rx. 2005.
Video in drug company office (Pharm-er John’s Productions):
Voiceover: The mighty Amazon river. The natives had a word for it. Then we got rid of the natives, and no one remembers that word.
(Smithers is on the floor with a swelling thyroid, gasping and choking):
Burns: Smithers! Is this some sort of high jink!? Stop it immediately!
The Girl Who Slept Too Little. 2005.
Karl: Now we’ll be at the mercy of weekend philatelists!
Lenny: Why can’t you just say stamp collectors?
Karl: I’m tired of dumbing myself down for you!
My Big Fat Geek Wedding. 2004.
Focus constructions, idiom chunks, reanalysis:
Carl: Come on, have a beer!
Skinner: I can’t! I might be called upon to give directions later!
Chalmers: Skinner! You were asked to chugalug, and a lug you shall chug!
Pronominal antecedent ambiguity:
Marge (explaining why she doesn’t want Edna and Skinner to get back together): I won’t let Edna throw her life away for some passionless marriage, where two people lie in bed together with no contact, whittling away the batteries until they die!
Homer: Which are you saying is dead -- our marriage or our batteries?
ComicBookGuy: We’re doing everything together — breakfast, bath, and then the Bimonthly Science Fiction Convention:
Bart: The BiMonSciFiCon!?
(Later in the episode Klingon is spoken at the BiMonSciFiCon.)
Wandering Juvie. 2004
Woman in Costingtons selling Marge face cream: And, it contains over 60 INGREDIENTS!!
Faith Off. 2000.
Confusability of multiple negations:
At ‘Brother Faith’s Revival’, Brother Faith is introducing his act with some high-energy patter:
Brother Faith: Now, correct me if I’m incorrect, but was I told that it’s untrue that people in Springfield have no faith? Was I not misinformed?
Audience: (murmurs of puzzlement)
Brother Faith: The answer I’m looking for is ‘Yes’.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star. 2005.
Back-formation, idiom chunk
Skinner, collaring Bart for unleashing a plague of rats on the school (which he didn’t):
Bart: No way! I didn’t do it! Unlike all the other stuff I told you I didn’t do which I did.
Skinner: Bart, I’m sick of playing the tom fool!
Last of the Red Hot Mamas. 2005.
The twins Sherri and Terri say, ‘Let’s speak in our secret twin language!’ and act/verbalize oddly like Frink does at the end of each utterance.
Language acquisiton, first and second:
Lisa tries to learn Italian. Milhouse, who has been covertly bilingual all this time, is her instructor.
Luigi comes up to Lisa and Milhouse in Little Italy.
Luigi: Mr. Milhouse -- thanka gooddness! Could you trannzlate an helpa me my cheese for my lasagna
Lisa: But Luigi! Surely you speak Italian!
Luigi (sighs): No I don’t. I only speak ahh, how you say, um, fractured Englisha — that’s what my parents spoke at home.
Brother from the Same Planet. 1993.
Homer and Marge are discussing Bart’s reaction to Homer’s forgetting to pick him up:
Marge: He said you were a bad father!
Homer: Marge. When kids these days say ‘bad’, they mean ‘good’! And to ‘shake your booty’ means to wiggle one’s butt! Allow me to demonstrate!
Adjectival vs participial -ed:
Homer is telling his underprivileged ‘little brother’ about the constellations (which he has just made up).
Pepe: Oh, Papa Homer! You are so learnèd!
Homer: ‘Learned’, son! It’s pronounced ‘learned’!
Goo Goo Gai Pan. 2005.
Headedness in compounds:
Burns (taking a driving test from Selma, who’s having hot flashes and mood swings): Good heavens! She’s some sort of female madman!
Archaisms (including what I think is a faux-archaic adjectival -ed):
Selma opens the roof.
Burns: Stop that, you wantwit! I might get stung by a bumbled bee!
Interpretation of sentence fragments:
Bart tries to warn Milhouse, whose shirt is over his eyes after a hockey fight with Bart, of an oncoming vehicle.
Milhouse: Car what? Car’s the subject, but I don’t know the verb!
They Saved Lisa’s Brain. 1999.
Snowclones, irregular plurals, register & hypercorrection:
Lisa: (writing a letter to the editor) We are a town of low-brows, no-brows, and ignorami.
Amibiguity of 'get':
Homer: Look! I got runner-up prize!
Lisa: You won second place?
Homer: No, but I got it!
Expletive pronominals? Idioms?
The Sprinfield Mensa club and Lenny and pals have booked the same gazebo.
Skinner: Excuse me, gentlemen, might I take a peek at your gazebo reservation form?
Lenny: Beat it!
Skinner: Yes, well, we each have a good case.
Karl: What part of ‘Beat it!’ didn’t you understand?
Skinner: Mmmm, I guess it would be the ‘it’; I’m not exactly sure to what that refers…. It’s a—(beer can clobbers him)
Mensa town steering committee meeting: Linsey Naigle, guest star (re the question of whether to build a Balinese or Thai shadow puppet theater): Why not both? Then everybody’s happy.
Comic book guy (sarcastically): Oh yeah. Everyone’s REAL happy then.
Linsey: Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
Professor Frink: (twiddling dials on a flashing lights machine labeled ‘Sarcasm detector’): Are you kidding me? This baby is off the charts!
Comic book guy (extremely sarcastically): A SARcasm detector! That’s a REALly useful invention!
(Sarcasm detector overheats and explodes).
Principal Skinner: We have some new rules and regulations that you’re just gonna go ape-poopy over!
Treehouse of horror IX. 1998. Terror of Tiny Toon
Krusty reading cue cards, dressed as Dracula, says, “Tonight, I’m going to suck! … Your blood!”
Superlative -est affixation:
Then Krusty says, Get ready for the violentest, disembowelingest, vomit-inducingest Itchy and Scratchy Halloween Special ever!!
Treehouse of Horror II. 1991.
Nonce locatum verbs (productivity of verbing words):
Homer brushes aside the warnings of the strange old Moroccan market salesman about the wish-granting monkey paw he wants to buy. “Paw me!” he says. (Cf, “Fugu me”, from later.)
Treehouse of Horror XV. 2004.
Redundancy, deadjectival verb formation:
Prof Frink (before shrinking an inner spaceship with the Simpsons inside): Let the commencement beginulate!
Bart’s Friend Falls in Love. 1992.
Bart has ratted out Milhouse and Samantha, whose father has put her in a Roman Catholic all-girl’s school. Feeling bad, he and M. go to visit.:
Bart: Hey, Samantha, I'm sorry about getting you thrown in the
Samantha: That's all right, Bart. I love Saint Sebastian.
It's run by a group of French-Canadian nuns.
They're very nice, except they never let me oot.
Also in this episode: Homer accidentally gets a subliminal improve-your-vocabulary tape, and temporarily talks in extremely high-register vocab, which no one understands. In the end credits he gives a vocabulary lesson on some of the words he’s used in the episode (Homer sez, Increase your wordiness!):
Satiety: belt-popping fullness
Triumvirate: Three guys giving orders
Gourmand: like a gourmet, only fatter.
Machiavellian: I don’t know
Boudoir: Where a French guy does it.
The Boy Who Knew Too Much. 1994.
Register, legalese, semantics of logical operators
Homer is on jury duty hearing the case of Mayor Quimby’s son, who allegedly assaulted a French waiter for mispronouncing ‘chowder’. ("Say CHOWDAH!!") Homer’s reading the jury instructions.
H. What does ‘sequestered’ mean?
Princ. Sk. If the jury is deadlocked they’re put up in a hotel together so they can’t communicate with the outside world.
H: What does ‘deadlocked’ mean?
P. Sk. It’s when the jury can’t agree on a verdict.
H.: Uh-huh. And ‘if’?
P. Sk. A conjunction meaning ‘in the event that’ or ‘on condition that’.
H: So IIIIF we don’t all vote the same way, we’ll be DEAAAADlocked, and have to be seQUESStered in the Springfield Palace Hotel.
Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky. 2003.
Kent Brockman: Look out Matthew Modine and Charlene Tilton — There are new stars in town! SKY stars!
Gump Roast. 2002. (DABF12 / SI-1312), 21 Apr 2002.
Mr. Burns, trying to convince the town that Homer is a menace, says, “Just look at all of this catastrophic nincompoopery.”
Context-dependent reference of tense (cf. Partee 1973 example: “I didn’t turn off the stove!”)
Marge and Homer getting into bed:
M: Did you close the gate?
Through the open window comes the sound of the gate slamming in the wind. Marge looks at Homer. Homer looks fake-surprised and says,
H: Oh, you mean tonight!
The Way We Weren’t. 2004. #FABF13 / SI-1513
Ambiguity of ‘get’:
Opening sequence: Bart is sitting on the lawn watching Milhouse and Ralph rake leaves for him, à la Tom Sawyer. They wonder why they’re doing it. Bart says, “The first one to finish gets a lemonade,…” they brighten up immediately. “…for me.” they sag in dissapointment.
Milhouse of Sand and Fog. 2005.
Marge (to Homer): You don’t trust me? After I salved every chicken pock on your ungrateful body?!
Bart: Does this mean that you and Dad might get a d-a-v-u-r-s?
Treehouse of Horror XI. 2000.
Brain damage and language production:
Homer’s had a horoscope that predicts he will die. Every time he evades another close call with the Grim Reaper, he says, “Stupid horoscope!” Driving to work, a pickax comes flying through the air and lodges in his forehead. Homer says, “"Flupid bloroplope!”
Dolphins are striking back! They concoct an elaborate plan to conquer humans in whistle-speak, subtitled for our viewing pleasure. Later, King Snorky addresses humans in English, beginning in squeaky Tarzan-speak and then switching to an eloquent baritone.
The Brother From Another Series. 1997.
Semantics of comparative construction:
Lisa: Face it Bart! Sideshow Bob has changed!
Bart: No he hasn't! He's more the same than ever!
Treehouse of Horror I. 1990.
Causative verb formation, derivational morphology, object-experiencer psych-verbs:
Bart: “Here’s a story that’s really scarifying!”
Mommy Beerest! 2005.
Infrequent vocabulary, prescriptivism, language change:
Lisa observes that Marge has been spending more time at Moe’s than Homer has.
Homer: Just what are you inferring?
Lisa: I’m not inferring anything! You 'infer', I 'imply'!
Homer: What a relief!
The Seven-Beer Snitch. 2005.
Idioms, figurative vs. literal speech:
Kent Brockman: We’ve all heard of a laugh riot, but a prison riot?
Burns: I need more cons in my dungeonarium
Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield. 3F11, Feb 1996
Class-specific accents, multisyllabic names?
Names of all the country club ladies are stressed on the last syllable: Evelyn: Karin, GilliAN, ElyzaBETH, PatriciA, RauberTA, SuSAN, meet Marge.
(After country club lady obliquely insults Marge with a pun on ‘suit’). "Oh don't worry, Marge. Her idea of wit is nothing more than an incisive observation, humorously phrased and delivered with impeccable timing."
Sweets and Sour Marge. 2002.
Garth Motherloving: I'm not up on the current slang, but do the kids still say, "Get the hell out of my office."?
Lisa Gets an A. 1998.
Ralph: Hi Super Nintendo Chalmers!
When You Dish Upon a Star. 1998.
Deontic vs. epistemic readings of modals (also see the comments section below for another good one of these):
Man: Uh, sir, you can't operate a boat under the influence of alcohol.
Homer: That sounds like a wager to me!
Simpson Tide. 1998.
Homer: correcting a superior officer on his submarine: Nu-cu-lar. It's pronounced nu-cu-lar.
Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment. 1997.
Phonological rules of diddily-insertion (See http://126.96.36.199/db/eng_diddly.htm)
Rex Banner: Are you the Beer Baron?
Ned: Well, if you're talking about root beer, I plead guilt-diddily-ildly as char-didily-arged! (iltily?)
Rex Banner: He's not the Baron, but he sounds drunk. Take him in.
Contrastive focus & cran-morphs?
Homer: I have a great way to solve our money woes. You rent your
womb to a rich childless couple. If you agree, signify by getting indignant.
Marge: Are you crazy? I'm not going to be a surrogate mother.
Homer: C'mon, Marge, we're a team. It's uter-US, not uter-YOU.
Marge: Forget it!
One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish. 1991.
Location/locatum denominal verbs:
Homer (ordering blowfish): C'mon pal! Fugu me!
The Way We Was. 1991.
Origins of English
Homer: English? Who needs that? I'm never going to England.
A Star is Burns. 1995.
Homer: My ears are burning.
Lisa: I wasn't talking about you, Dad.
Homer: No, my ears are really burning. I wanted to see inside, so I lit a Q-tip.
The Computer Wore Menace Shoes. 2000.
Homer: Now (talks into mouse) Computer, kill Flanders.
Flanders: Did I hear my name? My ears are burning.
Homer to computer: Good start. Now finish the job.
Lisa’s Date With Destiny. 1996.
Kearney: Aw, man! You just kissed a girl!
Jimbo Jones: That is so gay!
The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show. 1997.
Phonological coolth, buzzwords:
Network Executive: We at the network want a dog with attitude. He's edgy. You've heard the expression "Let's get busy"? Well, this is a dog who gets biz-zay; consistently and thoroughly.
Krusty: So he's proactive?
Executive: Oh, God yes! We're talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.
Writer: Excuse me, but "proactive" and "paradigm"? Aren't those just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? Not that I'm accusing you of anything like that... I'm fired aren't I?
El Viaje de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer). 1997.
Homer: I hope I didn't brain my damage.
Marge Simpson in Screaming Yellow Honkers. 1999.
Bart: I didn't think this was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows.
...and the final word, from the same episode:
Bart writing on the blackboard: ‘GRAMMAR IS NOT A TIME OF WASTE’