toonmanteaus

Two cartoons about/with portmanteaus: a One Big Happy and a Zippy:

(#1)

(#2)

smad about having to dwipe. In #1, Ruthie invents portmanteaus to suit her condition: sad + mad, dust + wipe.

The Zippy is more complex. First, the Sharknado films (with the portmanteau sharknado = shark + tornado) are old stuff on this blog, though I don’t recall having seen the shark-headed surfer image (a hybrid being to accompany the portmanteau) before. But the title duditude = dude + attitude was new to me — though the word has a fair presence on the net.

The focus of the strip, however, isn’t on portmanteaus, but on shifts in slang fashions (in white middle-class American speakers, I’d guess): on the claimed spread of awesome (at the expense of great) and the claimed decline of cool. Google Ngram shows no such changes in books (though great has been declining overall for some time), but of course the claim is about informal speech and writing. I haven’t checked the relevant COCA material, but my subjective impression — and it is only that — is that the first claim is broadly accurate while the second is dubious. (On the other hand, the second claim might be broadly accurate for young speakers.)

One Response to “toonmanteaus”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    I’ve been impressed by the fact that “cool” has persisted for many decades while the culture and the language kept changing around it. I suspect it will survive for a good long time.

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