Black and Gold Fever

I needed a “yinz” refrigerator magnet to go with our “jagoff” magnet. The display at the Pittsburgh International Airport sports and sociolinguistics paraphernalia shop was attractive. This digital painting took 2 hours and 25 minutes, and I used the Sketch Club app, my iPad Pro, and Apple Pencil to execute 3,040 brush strokes followed by a tweak or two in iColorama.

Andrew has never been the same ever since

A rite of passage, a transition ceremony of sorts! Andrew’s identity changed when he left the group of non-shoe tyers and became a member of the shoe-tyers group.

Click on image to enlarge it. Incidentally, this actually happened in the mid 1990s, a couple of years after completing my doctorate, and it encapsulated in a single episode my sociolinguistically-oriented dissertation research in a bilingual Kindergarten classroom near Washington, DC in the mid 1990s that was undergoing a reform of its mathematics curriculum. Learning is identity change. Andrew has never been the same ever since!

If the linguist in Arrival spoke Pittsburghese

I never ever thought I’d hear anyone say “Sapir-Whorf hypothesis” in a movie, but I heard it in Arrival! Ok, it was a science fiction film. See trailer here. Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is asked to help the United States communicate with aliens, and she’s the one who talks about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

I liked the movie, but something inside me made me wonder how it would have been different if Professor Banks had been fluent in Pittsburghese. See yinz.

What do yinz want?

Tayasui Sketches, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil

Propiopasta and Culture

I’d much rather maintain a collectivist, communitarian perspective; but, when it comes to defining culture – and, don’t worry, we’ll get to pasta soon enough – I’ve always liked how Ward Goodenough distinguished between private culture and culture in general, Cf. Cooperation in Change (1963:260). In Culture, Language, and Society (1971:31, 1981:98), Goodenough subsequently coined the term propriospect to shed additional light on this important distinction in perspective. Let’s look at culture in general first and then propriospect (Goodenough 1981:98) … and then PASTA:

Culture consists of
standards for deciding what is,
standards for deciding what can be,
standards for deciding how one feels about it,
standards for deciding what to do about it, and
standards for deciding how to go about doing it

Propriospect [An individual’s private, subjective view of the world and of its contents – his or her “personal outlook.” Note: Goodenough considered using the Greek derivative, idiorama, but ultimately went with the Latinate, propriospect. See? We’re closing in on pasta!]
Included in a person’s propriospect and indeed, dominating its content are the various standards for perceiving, evaluating, believing, and doing that he attributes to other persons as a result of his experience of their actions and admonitions.

Simply put, propriospect is to culture as ideolect is to language.

I think it’s very helpful to look at culture(s) from both of these COGNITIVELY-ORIENTED perspectives simultaneously and in all cases. Otherwise, we might easily get carried away by overlooking Goodenough’s distinction and embracing only one perspective to the detriment of the other. For example, in pasta making…


Breaking News: Sociolinguists Found Using Fracking Techniques to Exploit Local Yinz Phenomenon in Western Pennsylvania

Investigators from have uncovered a clandestine, sociolinguistic fracking operation in an undisclosed town in Western Pennsylvania. According to an on-site project manager who asked not to be identified, “These new mining techniques have allowed us to approach the yinz phenomenon from the bottom up!” Our informant admitted that this type of research cannot be conducted without undesirable consequences, however, “you’d have to be a total jaggoff not to recognize that the means justify the end here. There’s big money in yinz nowadays!”  The so-called yinz phenomenon is the local practice, based on Germanic influences, of adding both an /ęn/ and an /ës/ or /êz/ sound to the end of the 3rd-person-singular, nominative and objective case pronoun, you for purposes of pluralization, not unlike y’all in the South. Examples include: “Are yinz goin’ to Kennywood Park?” “Did some’a-yinz eat or all’a’yinz?” “Is that yinz’s car?” Acceptance has been growing in recent years, and consequently the market value of yinz has skyrocketed. Researchers have identified and, in some cases, tapped into abundant reserves of deep structure yinz (DSY) and structurally-related variations, like DSY-2 or yunz-2 and DSY-3 or yenz-3.  “It’s not such a big deal?” opined the project manager, “Everybody knows you make child plural by sayin’, children, there’s your plural. These folks simply add an /s/ on top of that for good measure, like icing on the cake! There’s your yinz, and hey, we’re finally tapping into that.”


Have you taken a stand in or on it?

Customer service ain’t what it use to be. That’s really what prompted me several weeks ago to draw this one: when there are multiple, abandoned, unoccupied, off-line check out lanes, say for instance at a grocery store, and yet everyone is channelled into the one and only line that snakes its way toward the light as though it were the illuminated path of the Three Wise Men.

However, the bigger question is this: When you’re in this situation, are you standing in or on line? Survey said.