From a New York Post article dating to 26 May, 2014:

While Port Authority police are compelled to file reports on the illegal “scratchiti,” no arrests have been made, and pursuing the mournful misdemeanors is not a high priority, sources said.

The article includes “scratchiti” a total of four times. The word is most frequently used to refer to the tags that graffiti artists scratch into the windows and seats of subway cars, but in the article cited above, it refers to heartfelt sentences surreptitiously etched into memorial plaques at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.

What’s especially funny about this whole thing is its linguistic redundancy: graffiti is derived from the Italian graffio, which means “scratch.” A graffito is a “little scratch,” an image or message scraped into a hard surface. (Graffiti, the form which was borrowed into English, was the plural form of graffito.)

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On tonight’s Shark Tank, there’s a company on called Cinnaholic. Even though I’m arguing that (a)holic is a true suffix in a lot of words it appears in (e.g. teleworkaholic) this word is obviously a blend.

Cinna[mon] + [alco]holic

It has bilateral clipping, the same syllable count and stress pattern as the larger underlying word, and phonemic overlap. Classic portmanteauNo evidence for libfixation here – cinnamonholic and cinnamonaholic would each have worked fine.

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I just found a portmanteau of two once-upon-a-time combining forms, used as a noun, by a French-Canadian.

i’m a franco turned franglo

So, Franco, the traditional combining form of France, is used as a noun with a meaning that has drifted from its traditional definition.

Franco– = Of or pertaining to France
Franco = (Canadian) French-speaker

Obviously, this is really a clipping of Francophone ‘French speaking,’ along the preexisting morphemic boundary.

There’s nothing unique about that: psycho is a well known noun born of a combining form but with abbreviation (in this case of psychopath) working as the midwife.

But Franglo is something different! It’s a great blend of Anglo, the combining form of England, and Franco. It could also really be a blend of anglophone and francophone, with the clipping following afterwards, but it is far more likely that this is a blend of Franco and Anglo (which I assume was derived from Anglophone much like Franco was freed from Francophone).

(I should note here that I don’t really believe that combining forms are different from affixes, but this is a pretty contentious topic. See Wolff 1984 for some great arguments that combining forms and affixes are one and the same — although she does go on to also claim that compounding is a form of affixation, which is even more controversial a stance. See Aronoff & Sridhar 1988 for a response to that claim.)

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More Burgers

I’m now reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King — started it a few hours ago, actually — and just a few pages in are several more burgers.

Al’s restaurant serves fatburgers, but, because of their extremely low cost, people derisively call them catburgers, dogburgers, and skunkburgers.

While I’ve documented most of these before, I just thought it serendipitous. And a bit weird, because the last King novel I read also turned up alpoburgers. It’s apparent that Steve thinks it’s funny when people suggest that burgers were made of something unpalatable, but I don’t remember any weird burgers in the other books of his I read.

Actually, he seems to like the whole concept of consuming something unusual — in It, Beverly is tricked into eating sewage, and, again, in 11/22/63, characters discuss Shirley Jackson’s “The Summer People,” where out-of-towners who arrive after the regular vacation season ends are cannibalized. And, in ‘Salem’s Lot, there’s a very powerful scene where a character is forced to drink of a vampire’s blood. I’m sure there are way more examples of this.

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Goneburger and Friends

A whole lot of new burgers.

YouTube Preview Image

Jim Hickey: The rain is a gone burger, but the showers and the, uh, and a bit of frost, well they’re sort of come burgers, if you know what I mean. They’re on their way.

Obviously, Hickey makes a double-entendre here – as the commentator says, “We googled the term ‘come burger,’ but the results are not fit to broadcast.”

I’m not very familiar with N.Z. English, knowing what I do from watching Flight of the Conchords and reading a few threads online, but this usage of -burger is decidedly different to how it’d be used in my dialect. It seems like it means “Something that is X,” where X is the word it’s affixed to.

Gone + -burger
Something that is gone.

Come + -burger
Something that is coming.

Given that, why didn’t Hickey say “comingburger”? Could be out of structural analogy – almost all –burger words feature a monosyllabic stem; could be that he was punning and not gaffing after all.

One thing I’ve noticed is that this seems to fit way more in with some of the very earliest -burger words: goonburger and demonburger (which were not burgers made of goons and demons, but derisive epithets).

Another –burger word I happened upon the other day was Alpoburger in Stephen King’s 1981 novel, Firestarter. It was said by a meanspirited federal agent to mock the food served in a diner.

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Void is Horse McGyver is ///▲▲▲\\\

There’s this Witch House musician out of Canberra who first achieved notoriety in 2010 as ///▲▲▲\\\ (those are three black triangles between the slashes, if your browser isn’t rendering it properly). This was pronounced as Void, and was occasionally written that way as well, especially by people who didn’t know how to type black triangles.

A bit later on, the musician changed his name to Horse McGyver, but continued to release the same sort of music.

Some people still type his name out as ///▲▲▲\\\, but, in keeping with his name-change, pronounce the symbol as Horse McGyver, instead of Void.

And this is why ///▲▲▲\\\ is an ideogram and not a logogram.

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