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I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 35 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Ordinary people, faced with what are for them deviant, "wrong", bits of language, see nothing but a mistake, period. They are resistant to the linguist's idea that there could be a rationale for the "mistake", even a system to it, or that, in fact, the very same thing could result from different sources or represent different systems. (This attitude presents a tough challenge when we teach beginning linguistics courses -- not only when we talk about dialects, but also when we talk about language acquisition. One of the hardest lessons for many students is that instead of saying what's wrong, what people "can't" or "won't" do, they should be describing what people *do*, and making hypotheses about *why* they do that.)

Arnold Zwicky



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 6/2/2024

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Posts - 2654
Comments - 2677
Hits - 2,672,203

Averages
Entries/day - 0.35
Comments/entry - 1.01
Hits/day - 349

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 6:31 AM Pacific


  04:19 PM

Friday words! Here we are in December, which etymology tells us is the tenth month. Ahem.

Today's new-to-me word skirts a politically hot topic, but let's stick here with words. The term is Trumpgrets, a portmanteau of Trump+regret(s). The context, which got a splash of attention this week, was a Tumblr blog that posts tweets from people who seem to report regrets about voting for Trump.

The word Trumpgret follows the idea, if not the pattern, of Regrexit, a term coined for people in the UK who seemed to regret voting for Brexit. Note that Regrexit is a double portmanteau—regret+Brexit; Brexit in turn is a mashup of British+exit [from the EU].

I personally find the word Trumpgrets a little awkward. The pattern is morphologically valid, but perhaps it’s the p followed immediately by the g that makes it ever so slightly difficult to pronounce. Whatever.

Anyway, Brexit and then Regrexit seemed to have kicked off a spate of blending, including Brexhausted, Brexodous, and Bremain, as rounded up on the Language Log. It would not surprise me to find people experimenting with more Trump-based blends, though of course with Trump we don't have the -ex- part to play with.

Update, 3 Dec: Once I started keeping an eye out, I found more examples of Trump-based blends. So far, I've got Trumpcast (Trump+[pod]cast) and Trumplomacy (Trump+diplomacy).

Ok, etymology. In some comment thread I was reading somewhere, someone threw in a note about quicksand. What's quick about quicksand?

Well, it ain't because it's fast. The quick- part is used in the archaic sense of "alive," as in "the quick and the dead" (Biblical; 2 Timothy 4), and quicksilver for the element mercury (which is alive-seeming). So quicksand is really "living sand," in a manner of speaking. Although I suppose if you get mired in it, it's probably not that important to you how exactly the name came about. (As a non-language aside, the movie device of someone getting slurped down into a pool of quicksand—a popular trope in movies when I was a kid—isn't true. More here.)

Like this? Read all the Friday words.

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