Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

Archive for the ‘Backformation’ Category

The Flesh-Presser

Posted by Neal on August 16, 2015

“So you’re going to be at the Tomato Festival?” Doug asked me. That would be the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, our own addition to the list of small-town festivals celebrating odd things. In nearby towns we have the Circleville Pumpkin Show and the Millersburg Sweet Corn Festival, but here in Reynoldsburg we honor the tomato.

In any case, yes, I was going to the Tomato Festival, not so much because I’m a big fan of tomatoes (they’re OK in a salad or sandwich, or chili or spaghetti sauce), but because like many such festivals, it’s an opportunity for political candidates to get out and meet a lot of people, and during the teacher strike in our school district last year, I decided to run for a seat on the Board of Education.


In elementary school it was Neal the Banana Peel

“Yep,” I said. “I reckon I’ve got to get out there and press the flesh, as they say.”

“What?!” Doug said. “What do you mean?”

“You know, going out and shaking lots of people’s hands,” I answered.

“Ugh, don’t say that. It sounds obscene!”

“Really?” I asked. I searched for the term on my phone, and the first hit that came up was an Urban Dictionary definition. If there really was an X-rated meaning for press the flesh, this would be the place to find it. But the most popular definition read:

To meet people in person, particularly at an event where you can network with other people. The actual pressing of flesh here refers to shaking hands with people.

All the other definitions said essentially the same thing. Later, at the Tomato Festival, while Doug was off with his girlfriend and some of their friends, I saw her mother and father and told them the story. Her mother laughed. “Just because his mind’s in the gutter…!”

The girlfriend’s father, whom I”ll call Mr. J, just chuckled and wished me well as I went to continue my flesh-pressing.

Or at least, that’s all he did in my presence. When he caught up with Doug and his daughter later that night, he made sure to say to Doug, “So your dad’s off pressing the flesh, huh?” I learned this when we were all back home, and Doug asked, “Dad, did you tell Mr. J. to use the expression pressing the flesh with me?

Nice going, Mr. J.! Now I’ll just have to push it a little further by morphing the idiom into a gerund (flesh-pressing), or an agentive noun (flesh-presser), or maybe really mess with Doug by turning it in to a backformed compound verb, and saying things like, “I flesh-pressed a lot of potential voters out there last week!”

Posted in Backformation, Doug, Ohioana, Politics, Taboo | 2 Comments »


Posted by Neal on October 13, 2013

One day in August, I picked up Doug and a couple of his friends from band rehearsal (remember Ken and Holt?). It was a special day, because after a couple of weeks of anticipation, the band members’ bibbers had come in. Doug, Holt, and Ken were each carrying a plastic bag with a folded black garment in it. Those, I presumed, must be the bibbers. I had never seen or heard of a bibber before.

Well, correction. Whatever a bibber was, I had probably seen one any time I watched a marching band perform. I was interested to see exactly what Doug’s looked like when we got home. It turned out to look something like this:

Bibbers, doing some serious bibbing

During the next couple of weeks, we adjusted the straps, pinned and hemmed the legs, then washed and hung up the bibber. Doug has now been wearing it for the halftime shows at the football games, and the marching band competitions that his school has participated in. So I figured I was pretty well familiar with bibbers, until one Friday early this month, as Doug was getting ready for the evening show, he asked his mother, “Mom, have you seen my bibbers?”

She asked me, “Neal, do you know where Doug’s bibbers are?”

“It’s hanging in the laundry room,” I said. “Why do you two keep calling it a ‘bibbers’?”

“For the same reason I don’t say I put on my pant,” Doug told me.

Oh! I suddenly got it! Like pants, and shorts, and jeans, and trousers, and undies, and other words for other items of clothing that “have two holes, one for each leg,” bibbers was a plurale tantum. Shoot, even overalls is a plurale tantum, and when I got my first look at Doug’s pair unfolded, I’d thought to myself, “Oh, a bibber is like a pair of overalls!” Why hadn’t I made the connection?

My world shifted just a little bit, as I reconciled this new knowledge about bibbers with my previous experience with them. I realized that up until this conversation, the only time I’d seen bibbers when I was learning the word was when there was more than one pair at a time. “The bibbers are here!” “Come get your bibbers!” My bibber was a backformation, pure and simple. Just to confirm, I did a Google search for bibber, and all I found was a handful of proper names, and a most likely bogus Urban Dictionary definition: “A self described big-penised man who in reality isn’t.”

It took me a while to feel natural calling Doug’s “bibber” his bibbers. I knew I’d succeeded, though, when Doug came home from a long day of two band competitions yesterday. He staggered in, unlaced his shoes and dropped them on the kitchen floor. He slipped out of his bibbers, and opened up the pantry door so he could hang them over it. If he had his way, they’d be hanging there for a week, keeping the pantry door hanging open, blocking my view of the TV screen from the kitchen table. And I’d told him not to do it at least twice before. As Doug reached up to put the straps over the pantry door, I nipped things right in the bud, saying, “Don’t you put those there!”

Those, not that! In an unplanned utterance! Re-coding complete.

Posted in Backformation, Doug, The wife | 3 Comments »

New Development for Backformed Kudo

Posted by Neal on January 2, 2013

Singular KudoA couple of years ago, in a post about the backformation of the Boy Scouting-related singular noun Webelo from Webelos, I mentioned the similar backformation of kudo from the Greek borrowing kudos. Here are a couple of examples from COCA (the source of all the other examples in this post, except as noted):

  • And there was a little kudo called the Award of Merit
  • One even resulted in the ultimate scientific kudo.

The OED has kudo from as far back as 1941, though I’m not so sure about that citation. But their 1950 citation is a clear example:

A man sitting on a toilet bowl swung open the men’s room door and added his kudo to the acclaim.

This backformation is the most obvious sign that someone thinks of kudos as a plural, but other clues can be detected even in the absence of the giveaway form kudo:

  1. Pronunciation of the s in kudos as [z], as if it were the plural marker
  2. Lengthening of the /o/ before this [z] — the same difference you hear in the pronunciation of gross [groʊs] and grows [groʊːz]
  3. Plural verb agreement when kudos is the subject of a clause:
    • Kudos go to San Diegobased Qualcomm Corporate Foundation.
    • Critical kudos acknowledge the success of her approach.
  4. Use of count-noun determiners with kudos:
    • Many kudos for the essay by guest host Sharon Paul
    • A few kudos to get you started

Three months ago, I saw another step in the development of backformed kudo: its use as the modifying part of a compound noun. Compound nouns usually, but not always, have a singular as their first element — the noun that modifies the head noun. For example, we have gumball machines, not gumballs machines. So even someone who might never have occasion to reveal a backformation by talking about “one rabie” might well talk about attaching rabie tags to their pets’ collars. Similarly, in the October 5, 2012 issue of Entertainment Weekly, there was this sentence about TV’s Emmy awards:

The last time nipple covers, shrimp truckers, and demented garden gnomes were mentioned during an Emmy telecast was the year 19 hundred and … never. But that’s what made the 64th annual kudofest on Sept. 23 so engrossing–if a tad bewildering. (“Best and Worst of the Awards,” Lynette Rice, p. 21)

COCA provides two more such examples, also from EW, and also about award shows:

  • He predicts a shiny night for four-Buckle nominee Brad Paisley, forecasts Sugarland to win Video of the Year for ” All I Want to Do, ” and believes that this kudocast will appeal to those beyond the country-fried set. (2009)
  • If you loved seeing Jack Black … rock the children silly on the big screen, you might contract a case of the giggles watching him host this kiddie kudocast (say that 10 times fast). (2006)

However, I’ve discovered that kudo isn’t always a backformation. If you’re talking about mixed martial arts, it’s a portmanteau of karate and judo!

Posted in Backformation, Compound words, Portmanteau words, TV | 6 Comments »

Backformation Collection

Posted by Neal on January 2, 2011

Longtime family friends Jim and Mary paid us a visit last week to deliver some cookies and a Christmas present for Doug and Adam. Mary does a lot of crafts, particularly those involving sewing. Doug and Adam still use the hand-sewn trick-or-treat bags that she gave them almost ten years ago, and we still use the white felt Christmas tree apron she gave us at around the same time. It’s nice, with felt holly leaves and berries decorating the outer circumference, snap buttons to close the apron after you put it around the base of the tree, and a drawstring sewn into the inner circumference to allow adjustment for different trunk thicknesses. The white felt is somewhat dimmed by an accumulation of cat hairs that are effectively impossible to remove, and we have to make do with just the buttons, because cats exploring under the tree have chewed off both ends of the drawstring over last several Christmases. But we put it under the tree every year because it’s just that well made, not just because we know Mary will be coming by sometime while the tree’s still up.

Jim and Mary gave Doug and Adam each a decorative, hand-sewn bag this year, with a miniature version of the kind of drawstring that the Christmas tree apron used to have. Doug and Adam opened their bags to find a smaller drawstring bag inside. A still smaller drawstring bag was inside that one, and inside that, a gift card to a book store. Doug and Adam said thank you, and Doug went on to express appreciation for the bags, too. They would be useful, he said, because

I coin-collect, bottlecap-collect, and rock-collect.

There’s no way his rock collection would fit into any of those bags, or even all three together, but the thought was nice. And the coins or bottlecaps might just fit. We just need to make sure the cats don’t chew those little drawstrings off and us end up having to take them to the animal clinic. But if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that what caught my ear was Doug’s compound verbs coin-collect, bottlecap-collect, and rock-collect. They’re three more additions to the list of compound verbs formed via reanalysis and backformation from compound verbal nouns. To recap with just one of them: The compound noun coin-collecting (or maybe coin collection) is reanalyzed as the suffix -ing attaching to a putative verb coin-collect. Remove the suffix and you’re left with that newly formed verb.

By now, this process is old hat to regular readers (and if it’s not, it will be by the time you finish reading the other posts in the Backformation category). What especially struck me about Doug’s phrasing was that this backformation process is so strong in his grammar that not only do compound verbs like coin-collect prevail over verb phrases like collect coins, but they do so even when using the regular VP syntax would save him two repetitions of a word. He could have just said,

I collect coins, bottlecaps, and rocks.

You know what would be even more unusual than that? If the verb-compounding became so much the norm that Doug could say this:

I coin-, bottlecap-, and rock-collect.

Maybe there are even speakers out there now who can do that. If you’re reading, make yourselves known in the comments!

Posted in Backformation, Cats, Christmas-related, Compound words, The darndest things | 8 Comments »

The People Will Uprise!

Posted by Neal on December 5, 2010

Governor-elect John Kasich has been quite blunt about some of the things he’s going to do after taking office — quite a change from the consistently, persistently, insistently vague answers he gave during the campaign about issues like how he would balance the state’s budget without raising taxes. This week he talked about a couple of his predecessor’s executive orders that he plans to rescind; specifically, orders that allowed home-care providers and child-care providers to join unions. I’m not sure what the big deal is about allowing these workers to join unions, but Kasich feels strongly about it. He’s said the orders will most likely be “toast”. His less than diplomatic statement has angered these people, and the leader of one of the home healthcare unions had this to say:

“Act as a reckless and irresponsible governor, and plan to be a one-term governor, because you are just going to cause workers in the state to uprise,” she said. (link)

Nice backformation, I thought. From the phrasal verb rise up, we get the gerund-headed compound noun uprising, and from there via the usual process of stripping off the -ing, we get a brand-new backformed verb: uprise. The Corpus of Contemporary American English has an attestation from 1991, but don’t trust it:

Even some of them, they ask the Iraqi people to uprise, to go up and get rid of Saddam Hussein, but when Iraqi people go and have uprising in all parts of Iraq, they walked away and they said this is an internal affair, we don’t interfere.

Notice how the even is used to comment on the entire sentence, meaning more or less, “It’s was even true that some of them asked the Iraqi people…”? Semantically, it’s sensible, but syntactically, it just doesn’t work. In English, we have to put the even after the subject: Some of them even…. This is clearly a passage from a non-native speaker. When I checked it, I found that it was uttered by a (one assumes) Iraqi named Mahmoud-Osman-Kur. However, this 1993 example from Rolling Stone is more believable:

Oh, this is going to upset people, ignite people. They’re going to riot, they’re going to uprise.

When I checked the OED, I was surprised to find uprise as a verb going back to the 1300s. However, it had a more literal meaning of physically rising up with attestations talking about the sun rising, people rising out of bed, and people rising from the dead. There was also a figurative meaning of attaining a higher social position or position of greater power. The current meaning of “rebel” isn’t listed.

I’d be interested in hearing the word pronounced. Does it have stress on both up and rise, the way that its source uprising does? Or is the up unstressed? If it is, then I’d expect the p to reassociate itself from the end of the first syllable to the beginning of the second one, in accordance with Maximal Onset, making the word homonymous with apprise. If this word is in your active vocabulary, let us know how you say it.

Posted in Backformation, Gerunds and participles, Ohioana, Phonetics and phonology, Politics | 7 Comments »

Boy Scout Backformation

Posted by Neal on August 30, 2010

Adam is going into his fourth year of Cub Scouts, which means he is now considered a Webelos Scout. Webelos is a name that is supposed to sound kind of like a Native American name, but one which fortunately contains only English phonemes and obeys English phonotactic rules. And, unlike most Native American words, it’s an acronym. (At least, I haven’t heard of acronym formation in Native American languages, but if someone knows better, please correct me. Maybe Ryan does.) I’ve learned that Webelos originally stood for “Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout,” with Wolf, Bear, and Lion being the three age-graded ranks of Cub Scouts, but what is lion doing in a faux Native American acronym? Well, it’s like this (if you can believe the current Wikipedia entry): The Cub Scout program in the United States was a melding of a British model, which used Kipling’s The Jungle Book as an underpinning for names of ranks and other things, and a United States model, which went with Native American.

A logo with appeal! Get it? A p- ... oh, never mind.

However, by the time I was old enough to be a Cub Scout — I wasn’t one, but there was a time when I was old enough to be one — the Lion rank had disappeared, which undermined the basis for the acronym. So it’s not too surprising that the acronym had been regrounded by the time my classmates Peter Hannon, John Wickland, and Doug Stewart became Webelos Scouts. I learned from them that Webelos stood for “We Be Loyal Scouts.” I wondered a bit at the nonstandard grammar We be, but wasn’t curious enough to pursue it. Another question I didn’t pursue was why out of all the 12 characteristics mentioned in the Boy Scout Law, it was #2 on the list, loyalty that got put into the Webelos name. Yet another: Why the logo on their caps that looked like a half-peeled banana. (Looking at it now, I see that it’s a clever mashup of the Boy Scouts’ fleur-de-lis and a letter W.)

Sometime in the past 30 years, though, the acronymic basis for Webelos was tweaked a little to be the more standard “We’ll Be Loyal Scouts.” When I read that in Adam’s Tiger manual three years ago, I figured I must have mis-heard or misremembered what Peter, Doug, and John had been saying, or that perhaps they had mis-heard it when they learned it, but when the topic came up on the American Dialect Society email list last year, Arnold Zwicky mentioned that it had been “We Be Loyal Scouts” when he was in Cub Scouts.

As I’ve heard adult leaders in Adam’s Cub Scout pack talk about Webelos Scouts, I’ve noticed the near-universal (in this population) syncope of the unstressed medial syllable, such that it’s pronounced [‘wibloʊːz] instead of [‘wibəloʊːz]. Sometimes it’s even spelled “Weblos”. As I’ve thought about the acronym more, I’ve noted that whereas the initial s in Scouts is pronounced [s], the s at the end of Webelos is pronounced [z]. On the one hand, that’s not unusual: It’s a well-studied rule that in English, /s/ after a vowel is often voiced and turned into [z]. But on the other hand, this is not just a phonemic rule, i.e. one that always happens to /s/ after a vowel. If it were, we wouldn’t have words like piss, gas, mess, and pus. It’s a morpho-phonemic rule, meaning that the phonetic alternation happens only when this /s/ is a morpheme, that is, when it carries a meaning. Specifically, it only happens when the /s/ is the -s suffix for plural nouns or third-person singular present-tense verbs. So pronouncing Webelos with a [z] a the end, as the Webelos Handbook instructs, is just asking — begging! — for a backformation to occur. It’s practically forcing the listener to parse it as a plural noun, Webelo-s, and to conclude that there is such a thing as a singular noun Webelo.

And in fact, everyone associated with Adam’s Cub Scout pack does this. As they would say, “Adam is a Webelo.” They even use the backformed singular in compound nouns, as in “We have two Webelo dens,” or “Did you bring your Webelo handbook?” I’m sure I’ve done it myself, too.

I looked in the manual to see if its writers ever used the backformed Webelo, and as far as I can see, they have been very careful. On the cover it says “Webelos Handbook”, and inside it talks consistently about “Webelos Scouts”. Most tellingly, it even asks on page 4, “What is a Webelos Scout?” — singular Scout, plural-looking Webelos. A little searching through Google Books brings up this official-sounding statement from page 6 of the October 1996 issue of Scouting magazine, in an editorial response to a reader who asks if it’s correct to way “Webelo scout”:

Well, I’ve got some bad news for the BSA. People have been saying Webelo since at least 1961. For there to have been even a chance of speakers not inventing Webelo somewhere along the way, they should have been taking pains to have people pronounce it with an [s] at the end: [‘wibəloʊs]. It would have sounded like a word borrowed from Greek, like ethos, pathos, cosmos, or kudos. Even that would have been no guarantee. Just look at what happened to kudos. It refers to something (praise) that can easily be perceived as a collection of things (individual compliments), and that semantic pull was enough to turn the [kʰuɾoʊs] pronunciation into [kʰuɾoʊːz], and now you can even hear people talking about “a kudo“. In fact, there’s even some confusion with cosmos. But back to what I was saying: If backformation created kudo even when singular kudos required a change in pronunciation to allow this to happen, what hope did already-plural-sounding Webelos ever have?

Posted in Acronyms, Backformation | 15 Comments »


Posted by Neal on January 27, 2010

I’m looking forward to watching tomorrow’s episode of Fringe. I’m particularly enjoying the story arc about the alternate universe where onion rings refers to deep-fried narrow slices of potato, and French fries to breaded and fried circular slices of onion.

Oh, wait, I’m thinking about Frings.

So anyway, I’m eager to watch Fringe tomorrow because it’s the second episode that my brother Glen and his writing partner Robert Chiappetta wrote. Actually, I’ve learned from Glen that all the screenwriters contribute to a greater or lesser degree to each script, but individual writers (or writing teams, like Glen and Robert) will volunteer to draft particular episodes discussed in the planning sessions. Afterwards, the script is subject to revision by a number of people, including in particular someone known as the showrunner.

“I’ve never seen showrunner on the credits,” I said when he told me about the position.

“That’s right,” Glen said. It’s not a formal title. It’s usually an executive producer, but which person among the producers and executive producers and co-executive producers dons the mantle of showrunner varies from show to show.

Naturally, the first thing I wanted to do after learning about this new word was to see if the by-now-all-too-familiar reanalysis-plus-backformation process had created showrun as a new verb. Answer: Yes, it has! For example, a headline from Variety from July 6, 2009 says

Josh Bycel to help showrun ‘Scrubs’

The story’s lead backs up Glen’s explanation: “Scribe Josh Bycel will help perform surgery on ABC’s “Scrubs,” signing on as the show’s new executive producer.” Not only has showrun come into being as a verb via backformation, it has even progressed far enough to re-open the direct-object slot that show once filled, allowing it to be filled with the name of a particular show. Furthermore, we get a bonus with this backformation, occurring as it does with an irregular verb: We can also ask if we get the irregular past tense showran. Again, we do. This is from a forum thread discussing The Simpsons:

Other than the two episodes he showran, how much influence did David Mirkin have on the show in season 7?

One of these days, I’m also going to look into the history of mythology with respect to shows like this. From the preliminary poking around I’ve done so far, I’d say the first show to have mythology used this way was The X-Files, but I’d be happy to hear antedatings from TV fans. Twin Peaks seems like the kind of show whose fans would talk about its mythology, but I don’t recall hearing anyone do it, although I certainly find plenty of relatively recently written material that does.

Posted in Backformation, TV | 2 Comments »


Posted by Neal on April 13, 2009

I like to rollercoast!One book that we recently finished reading aloud was Nim’s Island, by Wendy Orr (now a minor motion picture from Walden Media). Doug and Adam had to stand by for a minute while I made a note of this passage near the end of the book:

…thought Alex as she roller-coasted from one [wave] to the next.

Something sounded funny about rollercoasted. I would have said rollercoastered, converting the noun rollercoaster into a verb (“verbing a noun”, as it’s sometimes known). Why didn’t Wendy Orr take that option?

Then I realized: It was another backformation. The steps in the history:

  1. Long before rollercoasters existed, the nouns roller and coaster were formed by suffixing the agentive suffix -er to the verbs roll and coast.
  2. When the devices now known as rollercoasters were invented, the noun rollercoaster was created via compounding: roller + coaster, meaning something that coasted on rollers. The OED’s earliest known attestation is from 1888.
  3. Next, the reanalysis, illustrated with the original structure on the left, and the reanalyzed structure on the right:
    Original structure

    Original structure

    The reanalyzed structure

    The reanalyzed structure

  4. This is where the actual backformation occurs, but you can’t tell, because [roller][coaster] sounds just like [rollercoast] [er].

  5. The backformation comes to light when a speaker retrieves the verb form that logically must exist, given the noun consisting of Verb+-er. In this case, it’s rollercoast. The OED’s earliest attestation is from 1973, and others from the past few years can be found in reference to markets, emotions, hypermiling, and moving time slots for troubled TV shows.

So if rollercoast is such a typical backformation, like a lot of the ones I’ve written about before, why did it stop me in mid-page and send me looking for a napkin to write it down on? My guess is that it’s because the noun rollercoaster is not an animate agent. A bartender is a person who bartends; a babysitter is a person who babysits; a rollercoaster is an object. To falsify this hypothesis, I now open the floor for other Noun+Verber compounds that denote objects, and that have yielded Noun+Verb backformations, and which sound as normal as peoplewatch or speed-read to me.

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Posted in Backformation, Kids' entertainment | 8 Comments »


Posted by Neal on August 16, 2008

Doug’s friend introduced him to an online game called Runescape. Doug informed me that the name is a compound of rune and scape when we were talking about the game a few days ago…

Me: You’re calling it Rune Scape, but maybe it’s really called Run, Escape!
Doug: Daaad, don’t be ridiculous!
Me: Well, I don’t know. I think run and escape make much more sense together than rune and scape.

Which is true. Scape is a noun, created as a backformation from landscape, that the OED defines as “a view of scenery of any kind, whether consisting of land, water, cloud, or anything else”. Anything else … such as runes? What would a runescape look like? I tried to find out.

Me: So does this game actually have runes in it?
Doug: Yeah!
Me: Really? What do they spell?

I figured he might know this, because we looked up the futhark alphabet when we wanted to decipher the inscriptions on the cover of The Hobbit. However, Doug admitted that the runes in this game weren’t really spelling out words; they were just magical symbols that you’d find here and there.

Doug also said that he would sometimes “find talisman”, which I mentally corrected to “find a talisman”. But when he kept saying talisman without a determiner like a or the before it, I knew something in his grammar was different from mine. All of a sudden I realized: Doug wasn’t saying talisMAN, he was saying talisMEN! He had seen talisman, interpreted it as a compound word, like mailman or salesman, and was now pluralizing it with the same irregular plural that all man-headed compounds get. (Aside: Why is the man in mailman pronounced /mæn/, while the man in salesman is pronounced /mən/? I don’t know, but since I’ve already written about that, I won’t dwell on it here.) Of course, I’m sure it didn’t make sense to Doug that a magical object should be referred to as some kind of man, or that there could be a kind of man known as a talis-man, but that’s folk etymology for you (or eggcornization, if you wish). It’s easier to have a word that you can make a tiny bit of sense out of, like talis-man, than one like talisman that’s completely opaque semantically.

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Posted in Backformation, Compound words, Folk etymology, Kids' entertainment, Morphology | 4 Comments »

Retrofit and Reverse Engineer: Shameful Synonymy

Posted by Neal on June 24, 2008

A year after I finished reading volume 1, volume 2, and volume 3 of the Harry Potter books to Doug and Adam, I decided we were ready to take on volume 4. I didn’t read this one aloud, though. It was too long and had too many characters in need of distinct voices for me to want to tackle it. Instead, we let a professional do it, and during our car rides for a month or so, listened to Jim Dale reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on CD. In one passage, Harry and his friends are on their way to Hogwarts, and overhear their enemy Draco Malfoy in one of the compartments in the Hogwarts Express:

“…Durmstrang takes a far more sensible line than Hogwarts about the Dark Arts. Durmstrang students actually learn them, not just the defense rubbish we do….” (p. 165)

It’s been a few months since we finished listening to Goblet of Fire, but I found myself remembering that line while I read a section of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, by Philip Zimbardo (2007). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Backformation, Diachronic, Irregular verbs, Lexical semantics | 6 Comments »