Archive for the ‘For reference’ Category

Postings on playful word formation

February 8, 2010

Language Log has had a small blossoming of postings on playful morphology, here and here. So here’s an inventory of postings, on Language Log and this blog, on the topic. (I might well have missed some items.)

The major background is the 1987 Zwicky & Pullum BLS paper, “Plain morphology and expressive morphology” (available on-line here), which looks at three English cases: Shm– Reduplication, Expletive Infixation, -(e)teria.


Postings on nounings

February 7, 2010

Another inventory of postings, this time on (zero) nouning. I started keeping a file on nounings a couple of years ago, and this inventory is pretty much restricted to recent postings. In addition to postings on Language Log and this blog, I’ve listed some postings closely linked to these, with no pretense to covering what’s out there in the blogosphere.

Note: this is not an inventory of nounings in English. There are many nounings in my files — including a fair number mentioned on ADS-L and some with OED entries — that escaped my linguablog net, and in any case I’ve never attempted to record every nouning in English (that would be a lunatic enterprise, it seems to me). Instead, I’ve noted a few items that for one (perhaps idiosyncratic) reason or another caught my eye.


Portmanteau inventory: addendum

December 28, 2009

Missing from my inventory of portmanteau postings: a number of postings by Ben Zimmer that I didn’t catch because they used the term blend rather than portmanteau:

BZ, 11/2/05: Squabbles over “Scalito” (link)

BZ, 12/20/05: Merry Kitzmas! (link)

BZ, 12/26/05: Kenzi, Camerair. and other hybrid beasts (link)

BZ, 12/29/05: Does sisomo have sisomomentum? (link)

BZ, 12/30/05: From Nabisco to Nanowrimo (link)

BZ, 1/3/06: Happy Abramoffukkah! (link)

BZ, 1/29/06: The cran-morphing of –dango (link)

BZ, 3/30/06: Twonk! (link)

BZ, 4/9/06: A fishapod called Tiktaalik (link)

BZ, 9/5/06: The surreptitious history of –licious (link)

BZ, 10/5/06: Malaysia cracks down on “salad language” (link)

BZ, 1/20/07: Celeb-u-rama (link)

BZ, 12/2/07: Suggestive blending with Satchel and Bucky (link)

BZ, 4/3/08: Saying it wrong on porpoise (link)

Inventory of portmanteau postings

December 28, 2009

Another inventory, this time of postings on portmanteau words. (Postings are from Language Log unless labeled “AZBlog”.)

BZ, 10/30/05: The first “Fitzmas” (link)

BZ, : 11/1/05: A perilous portmanteau? (link)

BZ, 1/24/06: Blawgs, phonolawgically speaking (link)

AZ, 9/4/06: -Vlicious invention (link)

BZ, 9/14/06: Taxonation without representation (link) [folksonomy]

ML, 11/25/06: Morphemedar (link)

AZ, 3/1/07: Get Fuzzy gets playful (link)

AZ, 5/12/07: Zippy’s suffixiness (link)

BZ, 7/6/08: Wankerism in the Times (link) [wanksta]

AZ, 7/12/08: Muslimentalist (link)

AZBlog, 12/22/08: Portmansnow words (link)

AZBlog, 12/27/08: Manecdotes and brobituaries (link)

AZBlog, 1/29/09: Drats! (link)

AZBlog, 5/22/09: Saddlebacking (link)

AZBlog, 8/18/09: Diplomatic trip lingo (link) [townterview]

AZBlog, 8/24/09: Portmanteaus (link)

AZBlog, 8/25/09: Meme hybrid alert (link) [memebrid]

AZ, 7/6/09: Linguablog (link)

VM, 8/22/09: Quadrilingual washlet instructions (link)

BZ, 8/22/09: Bloggingheads: Of Cronkiters and corpora, of fishapods and FAIL (link)

ML, 9/9/09: The Germans have a word for it (link) [schadenfreude portmanteaus]

AZBlog, 10/11/09: Euro-words (link)

AZBlog, 11/17/09: Portmanteau crop (link)

AZBlog, 11/30/09: Douchefag (link)

AZBlog, 12/9/09: Spork (link)

AZ, 12/21/09: Buzzwords of 2009 (link)

Inventory of who/whom postings

November 15, 2009

Another inventory, this time of Language Log postings about who vs. whom. The inventory isn’t annotated, and it might not be complete.

GP, 4/17/04: I really don’t care whom (link)

ML, 4/18/04: Whom humor (link)

GP, 9/10/04: The coming death of whom: photo evidence (link)

ML, 11/9/04: Talking about whom you are and who you’re seeking (link)

ML, 10/22/05: Whomever controls language controls politics (link)

ML, 12/2/06: Class consciousness (link)

HH, 12/21/06: Dog whistles for linguists (link)

AZ, 1/5/07: Whom? (link)

AZ, 1/8/07, Marxist quotation (link)

AZ, 1/23/07: Whom shall I say [ ___ is calling ]? (link)

AZ, 1/28/07: Relevance of a different kind (link)

ML, 5/3/07: A note of dignity or austerity (link)

AZ, 6/18/07: ISOC, ESOC (link)

ML, 8/29/08: It’s whom (link)

AZ, 9/8/07: Whom was that masked man? (link)

BZ, 10/24/07: It’s a made-up word used to trick students (link)

ML, 10/26/07: Cold comfort for whomever (link)

AZ, 4/11/08: Wikipedia gets it half right (link)

AZ, 7/30/08: Not exactly a smackdown (link)

Non-parallel gaps

October 9, 2009

Return with me now to some “amazing coordinations” from 2005, here, in particular coordinations where a constituent fills a subject gap in one conjunct and an object gap in another. I gave three examples in that posting, including these two (with the position of the gaps indicated by underlines):

(1) … the “Control Panel” (which you presumably have to know ___ is there and how to get to ___) …

(2) … people who I’m not going to give ___ a cox-2 and ___ also have a history of ulcers …

(1) has a subject gap in the first conjunct and an object gap in the second, while (2) has the reverse configuration.

I observed in that posting that there is some question as to whether such examples should be treated as a violation of a constraint on coordination (as Gerald Gazdar once proposed), that is, as straightforwardly ungrammatical. The alternative would be to treat them as merely hard to process.

Actually, some examples don’t seem to me to be particularly hard to process. Here’s one that I nearly missed, from the episode “Teenage Wasteland” of the television show Law and Order (episode 12 of season 11, first aired in 2001):

(3) … [the defendant is] not old enough ___ to drink, but old enough to execute ___

(with subject gap + object gap).

These examples are different in their details, and the easiest “fixes” are different: a pronoun instead of a gap in the second conjunct of (1):

(1′) … the “Control Panel” (which you presumably have to know ___ is there and how to get to it) …

repeating the relativizer in (2):

(2′) … people who I’m not going to give ___ a cox-2 and who also have a history of ulcers …

and using an explicit is in (3), to give coordinated VPs (each with its own gap) rather than coordinated predicative AdjPs:

(3′) … [the defendant is] not old enough ___ to drink, but is old enough to execute ___

My collection of subject + object gaps is growing very slowly, so I welcome further examples.

Dangling postings

October 8, 2009

Here’s an inventory of postings, on Language Log and this blog, on non-default SPARs (subjectless predicational adjuncts requiring a referent for the subject — non-default when they don’t obey the Subject Rule, that is, when they don’t pick up this referent from the subject of the main clause), commonly known as “dangling modifiers” (though some writers extend this label to a variety of other phenomena).

The inventory isn’t annotated, and it doesn’t include postings that mention danglers only in passing. I might have missed some relevant postings; I invite readers to suggest further postings in comments.

GP, 12/14/03: Dangling etiquette: (link)

AZ, 7/7/04: Don’t dangle your participles in public: (link)

GP, 3/1/05: Without Washington’s support… who?: (link)

GP, 3/10/05: Stunningly inept modifier manners: (link)

GP, 5/12/05: The Fellowship of the Predicative Adjunct: (link)

AZ, 5/16/05: The Dangling Participles: (link)

GP, 7/4/05: Dangling modifier in the Declaration of Independence: (link)

GP, 1/24/06: Unlike dangling: (link)

ML, 4/26/06: Who is the decider?: (link)

AZ, 3/24/07: Dangling in court: (link)

ML, 3/25/07: Dangling in Paris: (link)

AZ, 5/21/08: Why are some summatives labeled “vague”?: (link)

ML, 6/2/08: Advice from numbers: (link) [see comment by ML]

AZ, 6/14/08: by-topicalization (link):

AZBlog, 2/26/09: A spiritual accessory (link)

ML, 2/26/09: Teaching zombie rules: (link)

GP, 4/15/09: Who’s been to Australia?: (link)

ML, 8/14/09: Compared: (link)

GP, 10/8/09: A dangler in The Economist: (link)

Inventory of postings on abbreviation

August 29, 2009

Another collection of postings on  to write about, because there’s such a variety of ways in which words or other expressions can have shortened variants (in spelling or pronunciation or both), and because different sources use different terminology.

Some distinctions I’ll make here, first between abbreviations broadly understood and truncations broadly understood. Clear examples of truncations are short forms of longer phrases, in which words that appear in the longer expressions are missing in the shorter. Truncations in this sense include brief idioms like that said, informal variants like time was ‘the time was’, telegraphic variants (as in newspaper headlines), and several other things. I have a posting in preparation on some examples of truncation, but truncations are outside the domain of this posting.

That leaves abbreviations, in which the result is a short word or word-like expression. Many of these — Dr(.) for Doctor, Prof. for Professor — are orthographic short forms. I’ll call these “ordinary abbreviations”, since they’re what most people think of first under the heading abbreviation.

Then there are clippings, another type of word shortening, in which the abbreviation is both phonological and orthographic: ad, exam, chute, flu.

Finally, there are several types of what I’ll call “alphabetic abbreviations”, in which a word is formed from the initial material (usually the initial letters) in the words of some longer expression. There are two main types, and unfortunately there are two competing terminological schemes (both used in Language Log).

The terminology I have used for some time (and will continue to use) is the following:

alphabetic abbreviations: acronyms, in which a sequence of letters is pronounced as a word, using the spelling (as in NATO); and initialisms, in which the abbreviation is pronounced as a sequence of letter-names (as in FBI).

Unfortunately, Geoff Pullum’s terminology (which follows that in CGEL) is different:

initialisms (the larger category): acronyms (as above); and abbreviations (pronounced letter-name by letter-name)

There is no issue of right or wrong here; these are simply different terminological conventions, and both can be defended. In any case, you’ve been warned.

The inventory below doesn’t including passing mentions of specific abbreviations. (more…)

Inventory of snowclone postings

July 29, 2009

Another inventory of postings on Language Log and this blog, this time postings about snowclones — about particular snowclones and their histories, about snowclones in relationship to other phenomena, and so on.

Each posting that refers, in a more than cursory way, to a particular snowclone is entered here with a reference to that snowclone (I might well have missed some). In most cases, the first appearance of a snowclone in the inventory also has a short label (e.g., “Eskimo N” for the Eskimos-and-N-words-for-X snowclone, “The New Y” for “X is the new Y”), which is then used in later references to that snowclone. If a snowclone has been treated in Erin O’Connor’s Snowclone Database, then a reference to the database (in the form “scdb” plus the date of the entry there) also accompanies the first appearance of the snowclone in this inventory.

I’m leaving this posting open for comments, but I ask commenters not to use this space as a way of nominating candidates for snowclonehood (I’ve been overwhelmed by such nominations for about two years now). The scdb has entries for a fair number of examples that haven’t been discussed on Language Log or my blog, and probably will not be; we don’t propose to cover the Big Wide World of Snowclones here. In any case, the scdb provides a (searchable) space to offer such suggestions.

The inventory (through 28 July):

GP, 10/21/03: Bleached conditionals:
If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have M words for Y. [N and M numbers, X a group name] [Eskimo N] (scdb 5/31/07)

GP, 10/27/03: Phrases for lazy writers in kit form:
In space, no one can hear you V. [V a verb] (scdb 7/5/07)

ML, 12/2/03: Clear thinking campaign gives “fogged spectacles a bad name:
You (don’t) need a degree in X to do Y.

GP, 1/16/04: Snowclones: lexicographic dating to the second:
X is the new Y. [The New Y] (scdb 7/1/07)

GP, 1/18/04: Another snowclone:
An Xer shade of Y.

GP, 1/25/04: When did you first hear this pattern?:
The X that put the Y in(to) Z.

ML, 1/28/04: Snowclones are the dark matter of journalism:
X is the dark matter of Y. [Dark Matter] (scdb 12/18/07)

ML, 1/29/04: “I, for one, welcome our new * overlords”:
I, for one, welcome our new X overlords. [Our New Overlords] (scdb 5/22/07)

ML, 1/29/04: In Soviet Russia, snowclones overuse you:
In X1 you V Y; in X2 Y Vs you. [X1 and X2 placenames] (scdb 5/22/07)

ML, 1/30/04: The memetic phylogeny of “our new * overlords”:
[variants of:]
Our New Overlords

ML, 2/6/04: “Snowclone” as a chart R&B song:
[about the term snowclone]

ML, 2/21/04: Who is to be master?
No X is too Y to avoid Z. [and variants]

ML, 3/3/04: Expression’s vast varieties:
Eskimo N

ML, 3/4/04: The Eskimos, Arabs, Somalis, Carrier .. and English:
Eskimo N

ML. 3/18/04: The backpack of it all:
The X of it all. [The X of It All]

ML, 3/19/04: Putting the X in Y:
We put the X in(to) Y. [Put the X in Y]

ML, 3/24/04: Cuteness:
Crunchy X goodness. [Crunchy Goodness]

ML, 3/27/04: X are from Mars, Y are from Venus:
X are from Mars, Y are from Venus. [Mars, Venus]

ML, 4/7/04: X nazi:
X Nazi [snowclonelet]

ML, 4/25/04: Have X, will travel:
Have X will travel. (scdb 7/20/07)

ML, 7/3/04: Not the * I know: Let * be *:
Not the X I know.
Let X be X.

ML, 10/21/04: Snowclone sightings:
Xs don’t V people.
Will the real X please stand up?

AZ, 11/27/04: Twos and threes:

ML, 12/14/04: Religious syntax:
X is a verb [Is a Verb]
(labeled as a snowclone here: )

ML, 1/7/05: Homeric objects of desire:
Mmm… X. [Simpson’s Mmm]

ML, 1/25/05: * me P and call me *:
V me P and call me X. [V Me P And]

ML, 2/27/05: Smart kids:
Every schoolboy knows X. [Every Schoolboy]

ML, 3/27/05: Liberalism is the new communism:
The New Y [for Y = communism]

AZ, 5/17/05: Once a snowclone, always a snowclone:
Once a X, always a X. [Once, Always]

ML, 5/17/05: Antique snowclones:
Once, Always

AZ, 5/18/05: The hounds of ADS-L:
Once, Always

AZ, 5/21/05: An avalanchlet of snowclones:
The X that is Y.
One man’s X is another man’s Y. [One Man’s X]
Color me X. [Color Me]

[comments on:]
Once, Always
The New Y

[vs. cliches with open slots, like:]
The wonderful world of X.

ML, 6/2/05: X-ing outside the Y:
X-ing outside the Y. [Outside the Box]

EB, 6/2/05: That’s why they call it X:
That’s why they call it X.

ML, 6/3/05: Polysemy in action:
That why they call it X.

AZ, 7/3/05: What is this ‘snowclone’ of which you speak?:
What is this X of which you speak?

AZ, 7/4/05: Documenting snowclones, dating them:
[origin and spread of snowclones]
What is this X of which you speak?

ML, 7/14/05: A few players short of a side:
A few Xs short/shy of a Y. [A Few Short] (scdb 10/3/07)

ML, 8/2/05: Illustrations:
[cartoon of] What is this X of which you speak?

EB, 8/23/05: You can call it X all you want:
That’s why they call it X.

ML, 8/31/06: New Orleans is essentially an arm of the Gulf of Mexico:
X is essentially Y. [dubious as snowclone]

ML, 9/13/05: Two, three… many prefabricated phrases:
Two, three, many Xs.

ML, 9/26/05: Wikipedia on Simpsons words:
I, for one, welcome our new X overlords.
Mmm, X.

AZ, 10/12/05: What is this Harvard?:
What is this X of which you speak?

AZ, 10/12/05: Playing one:
Play One, esp.
I’m not X, but/though I play one on TV.
I’m not X, I just play one on TV. (scdb 8/17/07)

AZ, 10/12/05: To snowclone or not to snowclone:
To X or not to X. (scdb 8/31/07)

AZ, 10/13/05: Playing one 2:
Play One.

AZ, 10/16/05: Playing one 3:
Play One.

AZ, 10/18/05: Critical tone for a new snowclone:
[playful allusions vs. snowclones proper]
Eye Guy.

AZ, 10/19/05: My big fat Greek snowclone:
[playful allusions vs. snowclones proper]
Eye Guy. Shocked Shocked. Holy Batman. vs.
Play One. Big Fat.

AZ, 10/28/05: Is splanchnic just another word for schmuck?:
Eskimo N

EB, 11/14/05: Snowclone shortening:
X eats, drinks, and sleeps Y. [Eat Drink Sleep]

BZ, 11/15/05: Eating, drinking, sleeping snowclones:
Eat Drink Sleep [and variants]

BZ, 11/16/05: Eating, drinking, sleeping snowclones, part 2: The early years:
Eat Drink Sleep

BZ, 12/5/05: Snowclones hit the big time:
[from Danyel Fisher,
X, the hidden epidemic.
X, the second-oldest profession.
X considered harmful.

ML, 2/4/06: The proper treatment of snowclones in ordinary English:
[discussion of playful allusions vs. snowclones proper; reference to Wikipedia:
The proper treatment of X in Y.

AZ, 2/20/06: Not your mother’s snowclone:
Not your R’s X. [R a kin term]

BZ, 2/25/06: No snowclone left behind:
No X left behind.
We are all X now.

ML, 3/1/06: Crazy talk:
X is crazy talk.

BZ, 3/2/06: Tracking snowclones is hard. Let’s go shopping:
X is hard. Let’s go shopping! [Hard Shopping] (scdb 2/19/08)
also: BZ, 3/11/06: A pirated Barbie-ism:
[snowclone database 2/19/08]

ML, 3/3/06: The entire United States wept:
[links to collections of snowclones]

ML, 3/5/06: Noclone:
An X is someone who knows the Y of everything and the Z of nothing.

ML, 3/7/06: The agenbite of Onion wit:

ML, 3/7/06: Brokeback generalizations:
Brokeback X

ML, 3/9/06: Respect:
[BZ comment on] Best. X. Ever.

AZ, 3/9/06: More brokeback generalizations:
Brokeback X [arguing that this is just allusion and semantic extension]

ML, 3/10/06: Best. Snowclone. Evar:
Best X Evar.

BZ, 3/11/06: A pirated Barbie-ism:
Hard Shopping

ML, 3/13/06: X-back Mountain:
X-back Mountain.

AZ, 3/13/06: Snowclone Mountain?:
X-back Mountain. [arguing it’s just playful allusion]

ML, 3/17/06: It’s not hard out here for a cliche:
It’s hard out (t)here for a X. [Hard Out]

ML, 3/19/06: Not nearly hard enough:
[cartoon on] It’s hard out here for a X. [Hard Out]

EB, 3/21/06: How’s this for ambiguity?:
[variant of] It’s X’s world, we just live in it.

ML, 3/21/06: It’s X’s world, we just live in it:
It’s X’s world, we just live in it. [X a personal name] [X’s World]

AZ, 3/23/06: I found my snowclone in Palo Alto:
I left my X in San Francisco. [and other variants]

AZ, 4/18/06: All that and talk about Fight Club:
The first rule of X is that you do not/don’t talk about X. [First Rule]
Be all that and a X. [Be All That And]

ML, 6/6/06: Springtime for snowclones:
It’s springtime for X, and…

GP, 7/9/06: Snowclones of linguification:
Can’t even spell/pronounce W.
Not know the meaning of W.
W isn’t in X’s dictionary/vocabulary.
W is not in L.
W is X’s middle name.
W and V are (not) found in the same U.
Look up W in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of X.
Hate the word W.
Not know the name of X.
Hear the word W and reach for one’s N.

ML, 7/28/06: X as the Y of Z:
X as the Y of Z. (scdb 12/18/07, 12/30/08)

AZ, 8/4/06: Who died and made you the king of snowclones?:
Who died and made you X? [Who Died?]

GP, 8/29/06: Science is… a verb??:
X is a verb [Is a Verb]

ML, 9/17/06: David Brooks, neuroendocrinologist:
X Is Destiny

AZ, 11/11/06: Fully awesome!:
The New Y

AZ, 11/11/06: Unblogged snowclones:
[21 previously unblogged snowclones (or whatever), plus The New Y]
Now if you will excuse me I have a X to Y
I’m from X and I’m here to help (you)
not the Xest Y in the Z (scdb 10/3/07)
Don’t X me because I’m Y
X-y McXerson
Hardly/Not a X goes by without Y
We don’t need no stinking/stinkin’/steenkin’ Xs (scdb 7/27/07)
If that’s X, every Y should be so lucky
Yes, Virginia, [mildly improbable statement is true] (scdb 10/12/07)
X does not a Y make
X gone wild
Take X and shove/stick it
There’s a lot we don’t know about X
As a X, N is a great Y
Busier than a X [someplace]
That’s not a X; this is a X (scdb 9/18/07)
N is the M of X
There’s no rest for the X
Whatever Vs your X (scdb 12/10/07)
X me no Ys (scdb 9/18/07)

ML, 11/12/06: Be a famous footnote:
Our New Overlords

ML, 11/12/06: Prancing about with Jack McConnells pants on your head does not a news story make:
X does not a Y make [Does Not A]

ML, 11/19/06: Fomite: panacea or backformation?:
X: panacea or Y?

ML, 11/21/06: Snowclones in the New Scientist:
Mother of all Xs [Mother of All]

HH, 12/3/06: Art, arts, arting, arted:
Is a Verb

AZ, 12/21/06: Bad lingo:
Best. X. Ever., X-y Goodness, Makes My Y Bleed, X-gasm, The New Y

AZ, 12/28/06: A little more of The New Y:
The New Y

BZ, 12/28/06: On the trail of “the new black” (and “the navy blue”):
The New Y

AZ, 1/18/07: A full year of The New Y:
The New Y

AZ, 1/20/07: Zippy on formulaic language:
X3, Proportional Analogy (X is to Y as Z is to W), Are we X yet?

ML, 1/21/07: Doing meta: from meta-language to meta-clippy:
Anything You Can Do

ML, 1/22/07: X ist das neues Y:
The New Y

ML, 3/20/07: Snowclones for Jesus:
X for Jesus

ML, 4/6/07: All X and no Y:
All X and No Y

AZ, 4/16/07: X’s X:
X’s X

BZ, 4/18/07: Poignant snowclone of the week:
We Are All X Now

HH, 6/25/07: Cheeseclones!:
Eskimo N [French names for cheese]

ML, 6/27/07: Snowclone of the day:
variant of Eskimo N

ML, 7/3/07: Considered harmful:
Considered harmful

AZ, 7/14/07: Negative is the new positive:
Are we X yet?, The New Y

ML, 7/24/07: Men are from …:
Men are from X, women are from Y

ML, 8/10/07: I am X, hear me Y:
I Am X Hear Me Y (scdb 8/10/07)

AZ, 8/11/07: Yet another snowclone omnibus:
27 snowclones since the last omnibus, including some from LLog postings (above), plus a cartoon on The New Y:

It’s X, Jim, but not as we know it.
X is to Y what Z is to Q [Proportional Analogy, #4070]
X is to Y what Z is to Y
I’m in ur Noun V-ing your Noun (scdb 10/19/07)
Save a X, ride a Y (scdb 7/13/07)
Sufficient unto the X is the Y thereof
You can’t X your Y and Z it too
Pimp my X
Stupid X tricks
If X are outlawed, only outlaws will have X [Outlaw]
A watched X never Ys
The once and future X
Nothing says X like Y
X: panacea or Y? [#3790]
Men are from X, women are from Y [#4744]
Are we X yet? [#4717, #4070]
The X from hell
X City
As X falls, so falls X Falls
X for Jesus [#4322]
X’s X [#4411]
Step away from the X
various lolcat snowclones [#4442, 4485, 4500, 4507, 4508]
various Mc- formulas
X considered harmful [#4675]
I am X, hear me Y [#4811]
He may be a X but he’s our X

ML, 8/25/07: “X and its enemies”:
X and its enemies, X and its discontents

BZ. 9/17/07: Snowclone collectors, call your offices:
X, call your office

ML, 9/22/07: Ask Language Log: On a scale from one to snowclone:
On a scale from one to X

AZ, 9/23/07: On the fringes of snowclonia:
X, call your office
[playful allusions:
Unsafe P any X
A child’s garden of Xs
and others]
On a scale from one to X
From X’s lips/mouth to God’s ear [God’s Ear]
Who are you and what have you done with X? [Body Snatcher]

ML, 10/27/07: That didn’t take long:
riffs on: I Am America (And So Can You!)

GP, 10/31/07: And so can you (be):
riffs on: I Am America (And So Can You!)

AZ, 10/31/07: I am neither America nor a snowclone:
reply to previous two postings

AZ, 11/3/07: More Colbert:
further explanation

AZ, 12/16/07: What have you done with God’s ear?:
Body Snatcher, God’s Ear

AZ, 12/17/07: It’s not just to God’s ear(s):
God’s Ear

AZ, 3/13/08: Zippy snow(clone):

ML, 3/25/08: X as the Y of Z, again:
X as the Y of Z

AZ, 5/30/08: Zits roundup:
God’s Ear

ML, 6/9/08: Snowclone watch:
Happens In, Stays In
[see ]

AZ, 6/24/08: Are we snowcloning yet?:
Are We X Yet?

AZ, 9/26/08: Cartoon linguification:
“not know the meaning of X”

AZ, 10/19/08: Giveth and taketh:

ML, 11/5/08: Obama is the Y of Z:
X as the Y of Z

AZ, 12/11/08: Gay day (and virgins):
Day Without X, call in X, stage an X-out, [snowclonelet] X virgin

AZ, 12/14/08: More virgins:
X virgin

BZ, 12/20/08: The Rosa Parks of blogs:
X is the Y of Z

BZ, 1/13/09: Consider the X:
Consider the X

ML, 1/28/09: ‘No word for X’ archive:
inventory of postings on the No Word for X meme

ML, 2/16/09: Progress and its enemies:
X and Its Ys [variations on Civilization and Its Discontents, etc.]

ML, 2/24/09: Snowclone of the day:
X-ready [just playful allusion?]

Snowclonelet composites

X fag, X porn, X queen, X rage, X virgin, X whore
[more in comments: X hag, X fairy]

AZ, 4/4/09: All the Y of a Z:
X requires all the Y of a Z

BZ, 4/4/09: X is the Y of Z: pop music edition:
X as the Y of Z

The whole X

The Whole X

AZ, 4/11/09: Snowclidioms?:
The Whole X

fold like a cheap X

Fold Like a Cheap X


Are We X Yet?

BZ, 6/30/09: Doing stupid:
[in comment from BZ] I don’t do X [X noun or adjective]

Jokes and snowclones

possible snowclonish joke templates

Include All Necessary postings

July 17, 2009

Another little inventory (assembled by Tim Moon), this time a very little inventory, on Include All Necessary Words advice discussed on Language Log and this blog. I’ll post soon on the why this inventory is so short, despite the fact that advice along these lines is very common in the manuals.

Arnold Zwicky’s Blog

“Zombie rules I: blame, love, graduate” – January 15, 2009 – Arnold Zwicky

Zombie rules I: blame, love, graduate

Discusses the phrase “graduate from”, as in “Many students graduated from Princeton in June.” A frequent complaint against “graduate from” is that it is missing a “necessary” form of be, and that the correct phrase is “Many students were graduated from Princeton in June.”

New Language Log

“V + P~Ø” – February 13, 2009 – Arnold Zwicky
Talks about verbs that can occur (with similar meanings) either with direct objects (the Ø option) or oblique objects (the P option). Says that when usage critics prefer the P option, they usually appeal to explicitness (IANW), disregarding possible meaning differences – such critics would prefer the phrase “I played on the piano for hours” (oblique) over “I played the piano for hours” (direct).

Language Log Classic

“What’s It All About?” – September 11, 2007 – Arnold Zwicky
Discusses the OI! Project. Zwicky notes that appeals to ONW and IANW can be classified as secondary (a usage is deprecated for social reasons, and people bolster these objections with a secondary appeal to ONW or IANW) and primary (appeals to ONW and IANW that lack any evident social basis) and states his hypothesis that secondary appeals to ONW and (especially) IANW outnumber primary appeals.

“(An)arthrous Abbreviations” – September 17, 2007 – Arnold Zwicky
Discusses how how in general, initialisms are arthrous if their full forms are, and anarthrous otherwise (The Initialism Principle) while acronyms are anarthrous, even when the full names they abbreviate are arthrous (The Acronym Principle). Also brings up a general exception to the Initialism Principle in the naming of educational institutions, whose initialisms are generally anarthrous. Zwicky points to these variations as another example of the competition between economy and clarity.

“Whether Either” – December 20, 2007 – Arnold Zwicky
Brings up IANW in a discussion of various puzzles involving whether and either (concessive either, correlative either…either, correlative whether…whether, correlative subjects, bonus WTF coordination). Zwicky gives two example situations where people might omit words because they are needless in the context but “guardians of the standard” insist that you must Include All Necessary Words (non-standard truncated concessive (without or not) – “Whether you like it, you are ‘public figures.’” – and truncated as far as – “As far as your ideas on this subject, I think they’re nonsense.”). Zwicky says that “the guardians’ judgment is in fact based on social critera – who uses the variant, an antipathy to what’s perceived as innovation.”