Archive for the ‘Telescopings’ Category

How does Wilderrama sleep at night?

September 4, 2021

From the tv series NCIS, Season 14 Episode 6, “Shell Game”, an exchange between the NCIS-Agent characters Tim McGee (played by Sean Murray) and Nick Torres (played by Wilmer Valderrama, whose name I am forever telescoping into the portmanteau-like Wilderrama) that turns on joking with senses of the interrogative adverb how — in McGee’s question “How do you sleep at night”, intended to convey modal + means how ‘by what means is it possible?’; and Torres’s response “On my back. Naked.”, conveying truth-functional + state how ‘in what state?’.

(#1) Torres and McGee in the NCIS episode “Love Boat”, Season 14 Episode 4

Then I turn to WV the man, as a hunk with a wonderful smile (two things I post about on a fairly regular basis), and as a performer with a notable actorial persona.


Briefly noted: a syntagmatic blending

July 29, 2018

Beth Huizenga, reading the weather report on KQED-FM (in San Francisco) this morning:

morning drog … uh … fog and drizzle

The textbook inadvertent syntagmatic error here would have been the telescoping frizzle (since fog apparently preceded drizzle in the printed report). The suppression of the and is not so surprising, since similar suppressions occur in some of the telescopings Vicki Fromkin collected in the appendix to her Speech Errors as Linguistic Evidence (1973): shrig souffle < shrimp and egg souffle, prodeption of speech < production and perception of speech.

But the ordering is odd. In fact, drog looks like a textbook inadvertent paradigmatic error, a blend of two items competing for the same slot in production. So, an interesting mixed case.



Hybrid referent, portmanteau name

July 24, 2018

On the NPR word game quiz show Says You! broadcast by KQED-FM on Sunday afternoon (the 22nd): a “bluff round” over the word flumpet. One team of panelists is offered three definitions for the word from the other team, in this case (paraphrasing, since I can’t find the podcast of the original):

1: a lard-based dumpling (no doubt suggested by the /ʌmp/ and the /l/ in flumpet and dumpling)

2: a frowsy (or frowzy), loose woman, and by extension flowers that are wilted, no longer fresh (no doubt suggested by a rhyming association of flumpet with strumpet)

3: a musical instrument combining a flugelhorn and a trumpet (a portmanteau of the words flugelhorn and trumpet, which share the letter U in their spelling: FL – U – MPET)

The three panelists on the other team were each given a card; one card had a definition for flumpet from some reputable source, and the other two said BLUFF. These panelists were given some time, during a musical interlude, to make up plausible definitions. Then the first panel had to decide which definition was the right one.


Holidays and occasions

June 16, 2013

June 16th (today’s date) is a triple occasion: Bloomsday, the anniversary of the Zwicky – Daingerfield wedding, and my stepson Kit’s birthday. This Sunday is also Commencement Day at Stanford and Father’s Day.


Brief mention: telescoping

June 14, 2013

In my collection of linguistic errors (from both speech and writing) there are some of the telescoping, or “jump ahead” variety. Recently, in writing about young men judged to be twinkalicious / twinkilicious / etc., I was especially afflicted by this sort of error, in typing and in handwritten text. The sequence LI CI kept tempting me towards jumping ahead from the L to the I following the C, thus telescoping the sequence to LI and giving twinkalious etc. Very annoying.

Then there’s telescoping as an inadvertent error in speech — for instance, in two instances of Barack Obama inadvertently telescoped to Barama (and then corrected), as reported in this posting.

(Telescoped portmanteaus are also frequently committed intentionally, as in verminfestation ‘vermin infestation’ and teenius ‘teen genius’, reported in this posting.)