… this time fitting into my gay sex postings, about the verb spit-roast. I didn’t see it for a while, because the OED seems to treat the verb as a direct compound, from N spit + V roast: ‘roast on a spit’. But N + V compounds are not particularly common — except as the end result of synthetic compounding followed by back-formation.
Archive for the ‘Back formation’ Category
Once I start looking at synthetic compounds and back-formation, new examples pop up all over the place. Two today: the synthetic compounds truth-teller (and truth-telling) and go-go dancer (and go-go dancing) — from which, the verbs to truth-tell and to go-go dance. (more…)
From discussions of rape in recent news, the synthetic compounds slut-shaming and victim-blaming — and, no surprise, the back-formed verbs slut-shame and victim-blame.
From Maureen Dowd’s NYT op-ed column (“Can We Get Hillary Without the Foolery?”) today:
She was supposed to go off to a spa, rest and get back in shape after her grueling laps around the world. But instead she’s a tornado of activity, speaking at global women’s conferences in D.C. and New York; starting to buck-rake on the speaking circuit; putting out a video flipping her position to support gay marriage; and signing a lucrative deal for a memoir on world affairs — all as PACs spring up around her, Bill Clinton and Carville begin to foment, and Chelsea lands on the cover of this week’s Parade, talking about how “unapologetically and unabashedly” biased she is about her mother’s future.
I was stopped short for a while by buck-rake, but then I figured it out: buck-raking is attested, so buck-rake could be a back-formation from it; and muckrake / muckraking is probably involved, so there’s likely to be a portmanteau with buck ‘dollar’ in there.
From an article in Details magazine for April 2013, p. 64, a quote given here without context:
“The house doesn’t even have a complete back. We had to be careful about the budget and determined that we could add the top of the roof in post.”
Add … in post is baffling without the context. Things get a bit clearer when I tell you that the house in question is the ominous Victorian house next to the motel on the set of the new A&E tv series Bates Motel (a prequel to the movie Psycho), and the speaker is Mark Freeborn, the production designer for the series. But that gets you only part of the way; you also have to work out that post is a clipping of post-production in the jargon of filmmaking and video production. And of course you need to know what post-production refers to as a technical term in this world.
From Jon Lighter on ADS-L, this report:
CNN tells of a hockey player who “loves to hard-hit.”
That’s a back-formation from the expressions hard-hitting and/or hard-hitter – synthetic compounds of a type I don’t think I’ve written about here (with an adverb incorporated into the compound, rather than a noun, as is usually the case).
I haven’t found the CNN quotation on-line, and searches for other examples of a verb hard-hit run up against the use of hard-hit as a modifier (with PSP hit), as in
Wintry storm brings new woe to hard-hit Northeast (link)
Can Hard-Hit States Reinvent Themselves? (link)
For some time now, I’ve been analyzing gay male porn flicks from several points of view: the construction of various gay identities, genre conventions, and so on. Every so often, points of linguistic interest turn up in the flicks; well, they are, after all, sources of data like any other, and I’m giving them very close attention, so I pick up things I might have missed in other data. A recent find, in a long-running analysis of Jeff Stryker flicks — on b/t (roughly, bottom/top relations between men), the Total Top role, functions of mess in depictions of (fantasy) gay sex, the organization of sex talk, etc. — is a striking bit of syntax from the Falcon Studios description of Stryker’s first movie, Bigger Than Life:
Jeff Quinn watches superstar Jeff Stryker showing his rock star charisma as he struts his stuff on stage with his big-haired band. And like his song says, he’s “Bigger Than Life!” The infatuated fan waits like a stagedoor Johnny hoping to realize his dream of meeting his hero, and better yet, getting starfucked by Stryker’s monster cock.
The datum is: get starfucked by Stryker’s monster cock. Could have been just fucked, but the writer went for the more colorful starfucked instead.
Three two-part back-formed verbs of interest came past me recently: an old acquaintance, to executive-produce ‘act as executive producer for’ [in film, tv, recordings, etc.]; to open carry ‘(lawfully) openly carry (firearms), (lawfully) carry (firearms) in the open’; and to way-find ‘to find one’s way (using some scheme or device)’.
Odds and ends inspired by Lauren Collins’s piece “Sark Spring: A feudal feud in the Channel Islands” in the New Yorker for 10/29 & 11/5 (pp. 50-61): the demonym for people from Sark; the metrics of Channel Island names; the etymology of Sark; the fury of the Northmen; Scottish sark ‘shirt’; and the whisky Cutty Sark.
Heard on NPR’s Morning Edition this morning, in a segment on sleepwalking: 14-year-old Miranda Kelly reporting a moment when she realized, “Oh, I sleptwalked.”
That’s double inflection, on both parts of the verb sleepwalk, where the standard form (sleepwalked) has inflection only on the second part, the head V walk.