[lit-ideas] Re: linguistic productivity

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2012 18:51:57 +0000 (GMT)

Re: "prove to be temporary": my bet would be that 'omnishambles' will not catch 
on with the general public - in contrast to, say, 'clusterf__'. Its use as a 
vogue word by the media is partly due to be it being inoffensive and lending 
itself to the sort of puns mentioned in Julie's post, as well as having cachet 
because TTOI [series four] has just finishedÂa successfulÂtv run. But its too 
clever by half, in an irritating way, to make it into general conversation and 
endure there. In a comedy like TTOI its a fine enough coinage but, like many in 
that series, attempts to use it in wider lifeÂwould beÂlikely met with 
On the other hand it could become, like '-gate' as in 'Watergate', a coinage 
that endures at the hands of media folk looking to jazz up their copy - but 
here the suspicion remains that it lacks the flexibility and simplicity ofÂ
'-gate'. Nor is it a coinage with a well-recognised provenance in the mind of 
the public. RomneyshamblesÂis a fine punÂbut already the 'Scomni' is stretching 
it, and how many more puns are apt to be derived from the phrase?
passing on the thoughts of Anthony Burgess
who quite like the Joycean wit of the coinage but since changed his mind

From: Julie Krueger <juliereneb@xxxxxxxxx>
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Saturday, 17 November 2012, 18:43
Subject: [lit-ideas] linguistic productivity

From Qunion's "World Wide Words" 

<<End of the year showÂNo sooner had the smoke and din of Guy Fawkes Day 
subsided than Oxford Dictionaries announced its Word of the Year 2012. I swear 
such annual publicity exercises are, like Christmas advertising, shifting 
earlier in the calendar. Oxfordâs choice isÂomnishamblesÂ(a word previouslyÂ
featured here). It is defined as âa situation that has been comprehensively 
mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculationsâ. One 
reason for the choice is its linguistic productivity: not only have we had the 
adjectiveÂomnishambolicÂbut also derived forms, includingÂRomneyshamblesÂfor 
the tactless comments on Londonâs ability to host a successful Olympic Games by 
the US presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Another isÂScomnishambles, a 
Scottish omnishambles, coined in October when the Scottish government had to 
admit it hadnât sought legal advice on whether an independent Scotland could 
join the European Union. As
 Oxford Dictionaries points out, the word may prove to be temporary and never 
join other coinages in dictionaries.>>

Julie Campbell 
Julie's Music & Language Studio
1215 W. Worley
Columbia, MO Â65203

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