Archive for the ‘Conversion’ Category

-ify again

January 18, 2014

Last installment, on bossification, here. Now, a double-header, with Shoreditchification and hipsterfication (plus simple verbing of Shoreditch). From the Telegraph, Alex Proud on 1/13/14, “Why this ‘Shoreditchification’ of London must stop: The relentless hipsterfication of run-down urban areas leaves a bad taste in Alex Proud’s mouth”. From the piece:

But bear with me here. What I hate more than Shoreditch itself is the idea of Shoreditch and the way that so many of London’s neighbourhoods have been Shoreditched, are being Shoreditched or will be Shoreditched.

… Shoreditch is just a metonym for all those unlucky pieces of real estate that have had the hipster formula applied to them. The real problem is hipsters themselves.


-ify rolls on

January 12, 2014

A recent Dilbert, already posted on Language Log:


Mark Liberman posted this to comment on management styles, but there’s also the word bossification.



October 4, 2013

In the latest (October 7th) New Yorker, a Talk of the Town piece, “Dept. of Accumulation: Ballhawks” by Reeves Wiedeman, beginning:

Zack Hample caught his first major-league baseball when he was twelve — a defining moment in most American childhoods, but one that left him unsatisfied. If I can catch one ball, he thought, why not a thousand? Two decades later, a thirty-six-year-old bookstore clerk, with a shaved head and a soul patch, he is now the world’s preëminent ballhawk.


Wednesday puns

July 31, 2013

Two of today’s cartoons: a Dilbert and a Pearls Before Swine, both with elaborate puns:


This turns on the verb weasel, plus the legal phrase (beyond a) reasonable doubt (plus the derivation of adjectives in -able from verbs).


And this one turns on the noun and verb hex, plus the food compound Tex-Mex.

In each case, “getting” the comic requires two pieces of information, from different spheres. (And both beyond weaselable doubt and Hex Mex could be viewed either as elaborate imperfect puns or as complex portmanteaus:  weaselable + beyond reasonable doubt, hex + Tex-Mex.)


Screwball comedy

July 1, 2013

Today’s Zippy, another installment in the Barbara Stanwyck retrospective (Stella Dallas (1937) here, Double Indemnity (1944) here):

Zippy and Zerbina are coping with the plot of the alliterative The Mad Miss Manton of 1938.


Cullum on morphology

June 11, 2013

From Larry Horn (through some intermediaries), two cartoons by the great gag cartoonist Leo Cullum on the theme of English morphology:


Departments: There’ll always be an England

May 25, 2013

In the NYT on the 21st, this entertaining story by Sarah Lyall: “Common Gnomes Pop Up at Rarefied Flower Show, to Horror of Many”, where it is reported that:

it was not surprising that the staid Royal Horticultural Society‘s decision to allow garden gnomes — creatures commonly associated with the landscapes of the unrich, the unfamous and the untasteful — at the Chelsea Flower Show this year elicited a variety of responses.

… Gnomes, which are called “brightly colored mythical creatures” in the handbook governing the show, are not really part of the Chelsea aesthetic. (Nor are balloons, flags, “feather flags,” or “any item which, in the opinion of the society, detracts from the presentation of the plants or products on display,” the handbook reads.)

Four topics come up in the article: social class in the UK; the two words gnome (and gnomic etc).; conversion of proper names to count nouns; and playful gnome-related morphology.


The Bare Boys

May 23, 2013

On AZBlogX, a set of images from pornographer Sean Cody, from the video Bareback Fuckfest, with a quartet of cute guys displaying their bodies as a group and then stills from the video, which is focused on one of the four getting fucked by the other three (with the usual assortment of other gay sex acts involving all four of the men). Here, a few words about Sean Cody and a reminder about the verb bareback.


Verbing garbage

May 21, 2013

A message from Ken Callicott:

In the 1986 film “Never Too Young To Die”, the hermaphroditic rock star villain, Velvet Von Ragnar (played by Gene Simmons) killed a henchman, then said something like “Garbage that” or “Garbage him”.  I don’t recall ever having heard ‘garbage’ used as a verb.

At first I thought garbage here was a euphemistic replacement for fuck (based on semantics rather than phonology), but now that I look at the actual quote, I see that we’re dealing with a simple verbing here.

(And the movie looks like a hoot.)


Define “garbage”

May 20, 2013

Yesterday’s Dilbert, in which Dilbert confronts his pointy-headed boss:

I’m sorry to say that gamification (a verbing in -ify from the noun game) is not some twisted invention of Scott Adams’s. And then there’s the question of what counts as garbage.



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