Archive for the ‘Obscenicons’ Category

The obscenicons vs. the grawlixes

August 1, 2010

Comment from “Nosey” on my “Country obscenicons” posting:

August 1, 2010
While “obscenicons” is also correct, the more-widely-used term for these is “grawlixes” (which also happens to be my favorite child-friendly profanity).

Obscenicon is a portmanteau of obscenity and icon ‘symbol’, introduced by Ben Zimmer in 2006 in “Obscenicons in the workplace” (here) as an improvement on cursing character. It was invented as a technical term in linguistics — well, that tiny part of linguistics that concerns itself with devices for taboo avoidance in print.

“Nosey” notes, correctly, that uses of grawlix — a light-hearted technical term (apparently a “blurb word”, a word — like blurb — entirely invented, rather than built on existing words) in cartoonists’ jargon — exceed (by several orders of magnitude, in fact) uses of obscenicon. “Nosey” allows for obscenicon as a correct usage, but by citing the difference in frequency of use, hints that grawlix is more correct and gently suggests implicitly that it would have been better for me to use grawlix.

I’ve taken this tour before, a couple of years ago, and while I have nothing against the grawlix route, I still prefer to go the obscenicon way. (more…)

Country obscenicons

July 16, 2010

That’s country as in “country music” and country singer Kevin Fowler, who recently released the obscenity-laced but kiddy-safe “Pound Sign #?*!”, using spoken obscenicons to achieve this effect. It’s going on a new Linguist’s Playlist, on Linguistic Examples.