Pepsification

From the Evolving English II blog (by “WordzGuy”) on July 13, on “PepsiCo and the future of snack terms”:

The May 16, 2011 edition of The New Yorker has a fascinating article (“Snacks for a Fat Planet,” paywall [by John Seabrook]) about the PepsiCo’s efforts to try to divine their future markets. It’s also fascinating for an unusual number of neological-type terms and for the not-entirely-clear formula they’re using to determine whether to put presumably unfamiliar terms inside quotation marks.

The two terms that struck me first were drinkified (for foods) and snackified (for drinks). Here’s a cite that sums it up:

Let’s say you give a kid a carrot,” Nooyi [CEO] explained. “And he says, ‘I don’t want to eat a carrot.’ But you say, ‘I tell you what, I’ll give it to you in a wonderful drinkable form that’s still as close to the carrot as possible.’ All of a sudden, what have I done? I’ve drinkified the snack! Or I take a fruit juice and give it to you in a wonderful squeezable form, which is Tropolis. What have I done now? I’ve snackified the drink.

There are ~9000 hits on Google for drinkified; many of them reference this same thing (either the article or similar stories about PepsiCo).

A whole lotta ification going on.

Innovations in -ify tend to be playful, ostentatious, or deliberately “creative” — so they’re noticeable, which makes them good in the advertising world. Note this comment on the blog post above, from Nancy Friedman, who looks at “names, brands, writing, and the quirks of the English language”:

Speaking of drinkify and snackify, there’s quite a bit of namification in the wider world of branding. The Name Inspector wrote a post about some of the -ify (and iffy) company names (Adify, Storify, Mobify, etc.): (link)

While Language Log and this blog have taken up playful uses of English morphology many times — see links here — we haven’t had a lot to say about -ify and -ification (but see my brief posting on Californa-ify and its alternatives). Here’s a random assortment of these derivative formations (many collected with the help of Beth Levin, who’s the real authority on various sorts of verbings; I’m just an enthusiast).

5/14/04, presentation at Stanford by Mary Rose: She used distinctifying and immediately supplied differentiation as a synonym.  She also referred to [the Wisconsin town she’d been studying] as one that “hasn’t been cutesified”. She seems to be into ifyifying.

9/7/05: Not sure how to spell it, but Cass Sunstein referred to soundbit(e)ification on Fresh Air today (9/7/05).  No google web, newsgroup, or news hits.

[from BL] “What I find most distrubing about the 1950’s-ification and retrogression of women’s lives is that it has seeped into the corporate and social culture, where it can do real damage,” she [=a friend of the author’s in her 30’s] complains.  “Otherwise intelligent men, who know women still earn less than men as a rule, say things like: ‘I’ll get the check.  You only have girl money.’”  (Maureen Dowd, “What’s a Modern Girl to Do?”, New York Times Magazine, October 30, 2005, p. 52)

11/23/05, AZ to BL on Dowdification/dowdification: In case you haven’t collected this one (referring to Maureen Dowd), there are hundreds of Google hits. Defined on one site as “The omission of a word or a phrase in order to reframe a quote and alter its meaning.”  From an actual event, which you can find discussed in great detail on some sites.

Arthur Lubow, “The China Syndrome”, NYT Magazine, 5/21/06, p. 70: Knowing that the nickname “bird’s nest” has clicked with the Chinese public, I could imagine the enormous cranes as Godzilla-fied birds and the dangling curves of steel as worms being lowered for the chicks.

[from BL] In the continuing Left Bank-ification of the globe, Stockholm’s Hornstull neighborhood is the latest industrial precinct to metapmophose into a hipster paradise. (Christopher Isenberg, “The Remix: Call It StoHo?”,  New York Times Style Magazine: Travel, Summer, 2006, p. 24)

Hendrik Hertzberg, “Comment: Sentenced”,  New Yorker 5/15/06, p. 32: After the sentence [ on Zacarias Moussaoui] was  pronounced, MSNBC trotted out a bullet-headed talk-radio host to sneer at “the sissification of America.”  But if it was mercy he was deploring his indignation was misplaced. [5/27/06: sissification gets ca. 49,200 raw ghits, an enormous number of them about “forced feminization” of men by women. It’s a kink.]

[from BL] Just as Matson has been at the center of every major recent pivot in environmentalism — the growing awareness of climate change, the move toward sustainability — she has also been a force in what might be called its Al Goreification: making environmentalism practical and mainstream by getting high-level decision makers involved.  (Kara Platoni, “Field Work”, Stanford, May/June 2007, p. 51)

[from BL] Rebecca Moore, one of the protesters, said that the “over-bar-ification” and gentrification has created unbearable nighttime noise, and a culture where landlors will use every trick of the housing code to drive out rent-stabilized tenants.  (Allen Salkin, “Lower East Side Is Under a Groove”, SyndayStyles Section, New York Times, June 3, 2007, p. 10)

[from Barry Popik in ADS-L, 6/14/07] CHICKIFICATION: Popularized recently by Rush Limbaugh. “Katie’s Problem: She’s a Woman?”: … what’s absurd about this is that the chickification of the news in this country from local to national newsrooms and networks has been accomplished. (link)

From the program notes for the concert by the St. Lawrence String Quartet with Todd Palmer (clarinet), 1/13/08 at Stanford, notes by Osvaldo Golijov, the composer of The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (a clarinet quintet in klezmer style): [on meeting with the quartet for the first time] … They grabbed their instruments and played that first movement.  It felt like lightning.  For the first time in my life I was listening to what I had written being played as vividly as I heard it in my head.  I was frozen, speechless, and heard Geoff [Nuttall, the first violinist and the great extrovert of the group] ask, “Ozzie, when will you bring the rest of the piece?”  (“Ozzie”?  I just met this guy 10 minutes ago, and now I’m “Ozzie”?)  … they have a knack for creating family wherever they go: they play music completely open, without a skin layer to protect them, and they also live their lives like that.  They “Ozzify” anyone they meet in a matter of seconds, and whenever I am with them I feel that life is just beautiful.

Nathanael Johnson, “Swine of the times: The making of the modern pig”, Harper’s for May 2006, section heading, p. 52: The chickenification of the American pig [building massive farms and controlling every stage of production, in “vertical integration”]

[from BL, 3/1/09] MICA is organizing an historic conference called “Chutnefying English,” in which eminent scholars and practitioners are invited to debate the notion of Hinglish from the point of view of their disciplines … (link)

Comment 4/30/09 by Sue J on LLog posting “In defense of spell-checking”: Some of our spelling could be simplified, but going all phonetic would be a nastification.

Denizet-Lewis 2010 (American Voyeur), p. 94 : Anderson says, “With other young athletes and child actors, we’ve seen the real dangers of adultifying children.”

Protest slogan QUEERIFY AMERICA, on cover of Ginoli 2009 (deflowered)

Posted by Betty Cracker on 07/09/10: But I think Steve’s right about the media herd’s complicity in the dumbfuckification of our national politics. Useless fucking hacks. (link)

Like I said, just a random assortment, of items that happened to catch my eye. Many of them require considerable background knowledge or context to understand, just as distant N+N compounds do  (that’s why I included so much context from Osvaldo Golijov to explain Ozzify).

[Oh dear. It turns out that Ozzification has been coined in several senses, the most frequent of which seems to be ‘Australianization’ (from Oz for ‘Australia’). So we get complaints about the Ozzification of New Zealand, and examples like the following:

My concern is the steamroller nature the US entertainment industry tends to have (often with the compliance of audiences here) so that a Doctor [Who] with an American accent would be far more likely to lead to Americanisation (or would that be Americanization) of the show, than an Australian would lead to Ozzification. (link)

Just to state the obvious, “dutchie” could be an ozzification of “dutch oven”… (link)

Sydney was hosting two major events during our visit, 12-19 July. The series of ‘Jesus Walks’ statues placed in small groups, usually trinities, around the city seemed to serve as the intersection between the two and suffered from the same strange sort of compromise we saw afflicting both the (Sydney) Biennale and (Catholic) World Youth Day. A short-hand as to what constitutes that compromise might be Ozzification or Sydnyficance. (link)]

13 Responses to “Pepsification”

  1. *No/Deli* Says:

    It’s very easy to coin one of these -ification terms just to see what kind of definition falls into place. I’m still working out what ‘Pepsification’ might entail.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      -ify and -ification are versatile. Quinion’s affix list gives for -fy the meanings ‘make or produce; transform into; become’, but there are further extended meanings, in particular ‘make like, cause to resemble’ and ‘become like, come to resemble’. So there’s plenty of scope there.

  2. Jack H Says:

    I wonder how far this goes back. To “Apocolocyntosis” (pumpkinification) , 54 CE, at least.

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Larry Horn on ADS-L:

    I always thought one of the more creative examples of what you and Geoff [Pullum] call “playful” word formation was “Californication”, which — before it became a Red Hot Chili Peppers song or a series on Showtime — was a word of warning used by folks in Oregon (and elsewhere?) urging wariness if not strong resistance toward unbridled growth lest their pristine coastline turn into (shudder) L.A. Mark II.

    Checking on wiki, I find that the warning was far more widespread, and the coinage far older (I remember it from the early 1980s) than I knew:

    Californication is a portmanteau of the words California and fornication, appearing in Time on May 6, 1966 and written about on August 21, 1972, additionally seen on bumper stickers in the U.S. states of Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. It was a term popular in the 1970s and referring primarily to the “haphazard, mindless development [of land] that has already gobbled up most of Southern California”, which some attributed to an influx of Californians to other states in the Western United States. (link)

    Fascinating. I did mention “Californication” (the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the tv show) here, but I didn’t trace it back any further than these two vectors.

  4. arnold zwicky Says:

    I wasn’t proposing to inventory all the -ify and -ification words that are out there (that would be a monstrous task), but here are more examples, from lexicographer David Barnhart (in e-mail):

    There’s also a host of these found in the Barnhart New-Words Concordance:

    agencification and agencify
    authentification

    Benidormification
    biogasification
    Blairification
    boutique-ification

    commodification

    demassification
    denastification
    desertification

    embourgeoisification
    ethnification

    franglification
    fuzzification

    gentrification and gentrify
    glassification

    hydrogasification

    jellification

    metrification

    PEPSIFICATION (in Longman Register of New Words, c. 1989)
    planification and planify

    Swissification

    tapification
    tarification
    tonification and tonify
    trendification and trendify

    viagrafication

    Yuppification and Yuppify

    zombification

    These are mostly from the new words dictionaries such as Longman, Barnhart, as well as the Dictionary Companion (journal).

    Note Pepsification. Respectable number of ghits (excluding my posting).

  5. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Garson O’Toole via ADS-L (somewhat edited):

    A popular term that I did not see in the ADS archive is gamification. It has a Wikipedia entry (link), a dedicated blog (link), and a conference: “The Gamification Summit” (link).

    Gamification is the concept that you can apply the basic elements that make games fun and engaging to things that typically aren’t considered a game. In theory you can apply game design to almost anything, including education, health, work and more. (wiki here)

  6. Randy Alexander Says:

    On this side of the Pacific, we often talk about hanzification (expressing things in Chinese characters that originally weren’t — and maybe some related meanings).

  7. Neologisms « Jenni Lukac's Translation & Editing Blog Says:

    […]   “bring the odd ones into line.” Another ADS member (and WordPress blogger), Arnold Zwicky, has devoted an entire post to neologisms crafted with the suffix “ification.” He has […]

  8. stupefication « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] on my “Pepsification” posting (about -ify and -ification), Randy Alexander posted on ADS-L on August 29: In 4th grade at a […]

  9. This Week’s Language Blog Roundup | Wordnik ~ all the words Says:

    […] which makes this writer think of a certain intergalactic crime lord). Arnold Zwicky drank in some pepsifications; talked about the term confirmed bachelor, and gave some examples of grammatical […]

  10. The velocitized Toad « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] (Brief discussion of alternative schemes for causative verbing of nouns and adjectives — zero derivation, -ize, -ify, -ic-ate — here, and a survey of -ify words here.) […]

  11. Explorations in derivational morphology | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] -(i)fy is wonderfully flexible, as I’ve pointed out in this blog several times, notably in a posting on Pepsification, which has a collection of innovative […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: